The first phase of a light rail system that is set to transform commuting in Nigeria’s economic capital, has been commissioned.
The Blue Line project in Lagos is a 27 km rail system that upon completion is expected to carry more than 500,000 passengers.
The first phase traverses five stations covering a distance of 13 km and has the capacity to move 250,000 passengers daily. The state government said that it had taken delivery of three sets of wagons that will be used for passenger operations.
Over the last two decades, that masterplan has been faithfully implemented by successive administrations. Today, we are making history with the completion of the historic rail line, which is the first phase of the Blue Line,” Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu told media representatives during the test ride aboard the electric-powered rail infrastructure earlier in December.
Lagos’ transport master plan
The governor revived the project as part of the state’s development agenda. The Blue Line is one of six rail lines and one monorail, 14 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, over 20 water routes, and a number of major new roads that are part of a strategic transport master plan developed by the Bola Tinubu administration in 2005.
Construction work for the Blue Line rail project began in 2010. However, funding issues and neglect by successive administrations stalled the delivery of the project, which is now being financed solely by the state.
According to the governor, passenger operations will commence once the line has been fully tested.
The construction of an Independent Power Project (IPP) is already underway to ensure that the rail system runs on its own power grid.
The Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) was charged with overseeing the construction.
“Passengers will use the state’s unified electronic payment system known as Cowry Card, currently being used for BRT and regulated ferry services,” said Abimbola Akinajo, Managing Director of LAMATA, as regards train fares.
She described the completion of the rail infrastructure as “fantastic,” adding that the development marked a new chapter for Lagos.
The state government said construction of the second phase of the Blue Line rail project, running from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko—both on the Lagos Mainland—will commence in the first quarter of 2023 after official approval of the first phase for passenger operations in January. The construction of the light rail projects has been split into phases to ease implementation.