Early August, 2018, Lagos State Government and Alstom SA of France sealed a deal towards the commencement of passengers’ operation of Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Blue Line system by 2022.
The state government signed an agreement with a foreign firm to co-fund the completion of the first phase of the Blue Line rail system and flag off commercial operations in 2022.
Résumé en français: Le gouvernement de l’État de Lagos et Alstom SA (France) ont conclu un accord en vue du lancement de l’exploitation du système Blue Line de Lagos Rail Transit (LRMT) en 2022.
What Lagos Rail Mass Transit is
Lagos Rail Mass Transit is an urban rail system being developed and under construction in Lagos. The system is being managed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority and is envisioned to consist eventually of seven lines.
Locale: Lagos (Lagos State, Nigeria)
Operator: Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority
Transit type: Rapid transit
System length: 35 km (22 mi) (planned)
Number of lines: 1 under construction (Blue Line); 6 more planned (Red, Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and Orange)
Operation will start: 2022
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard Gauge
The agreement with the French firm followed what Abiodun Dabiri, the managing director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), described as a comprehensive review of the rail project.
The status of Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Blue Line system as of 2018
The project was initiated by Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos State, in 2009, and had been projected to be delivered by 2012. The blue line rail project ought to have commenced passenger operation in 2012 but had been hindered by unforeseen third party issues and other challenges.
The state government engaged consultants to carry out a technical review and due diligence on the implementation of the project, which substantially had focused on civil works, and they reported back to government that operation of the first phase may only commence in 2022.
Expectations of the agreement
Following the report of the consultants engaged by the government, Alstom SA France, experienced international railway systems aggregator and rolling stocks manufacturer, with over 100 years of railway experience covering 60 countries, was engaged to review the report of the consultant.
Alstom SA agreed with the submission of the consultant that the first phase of the rail project could only become operational in 2022 based on proposed funding pattern,” said Dabiri, who signed the agreement on behalf of Lagos after Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s approval. He said that a consortium of experts engaged by the state government to undertake a technical due diligence on the LRMT Blue Line project (Mile 2 – Marina) developed a roadmap which was accepted by the state government to bring the railway project to passenger operations.
The consortium, according to Dabiri, in its final report outlined their findings and proposed a road map to complete the civil infrastructure works and the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) infrastructure that will be needed for the commencement of passenger operation.
He stated that based on the final report submitted, “the consortium of Alstom Transport SA France has been engaged for the procurement, engineering, construction, installation of operation & Maintenance (O&M) moveable infrastructure and commissioning of railway systems towards the commencement of passenger operations for LRMT Blue Line project from Marina to Mile 2.”
Highlighting the extent of works to be carried out by Alstom SA, Dabiri said that for ease of implementation, the work plan had been divided into two phases. Phase one, he said, was aimed at demonstrating the non-public operation of the existing rolling stock before end of second quarter of 2019.
"For this purpose, a track length of about 3.0 km from Iganmu station to National Theatre will be electrified. This operation would be done with the rolling stocks already supplied for the Blue Line project. This phase would allow the completion of all the preliminary works that would lead to the financing of the main works in phase two. Phase one will be fully financed by Lagos State Government through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),” he stated. Phase two, which is expected to be completed in 39 months would entail the provision and installation of railway operations’ systems for the project from Marina to Mile 2 and the delivery of a passenger ready Lagos Blue Rail Line by 2022.
Guy Jean-Pierre, a director of Alstom SA thanked the Lagos State government for the confidence reposed in the firm and the opportunity given to partner with the state on the Blue Line Rail project.
He assured that Alstom would work to ensure the delivery of the Blue Line to passenger operation by bringing on board required expertise and experience in rail system management.
As African Mobilities Observatory, on completion, the rail project would reduce congestion and pressure on the roads which will lessen maintenance cost and increase the life span of road network, promote modal shift as private car owners and public bus commuters will move towards the use of rail as a safer, more convenient option. It will also enhance quality of life and reduce pollution on many road transport corridors.
By Joseph Semuju
Community Manager - AMO
African Mobilities Observatory - AMO, MICHELIN.