The multi-billion Naira Calabar Light rail project, the first in Nigeria, would soon be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The 12-car monorail system, when fully operational, would use an Intamin P8 electric powered passenger shuttle train to convey passengers from Tinapa Resort, across Lake Tinapa to Calabar International Conference Centre (CICC).
The light rail project has three stations, Tinapa, Tinapa Lakeside Hotel and the Calabar International Conference Centre.
The monorail would also allow access to Studio Tinapa, Tinapa Shopping Centre and Tinapa waterpark as well as provide a quick alternative access to Summit Hills.
Built by Ponet TFZE, the train with a cruising speed of about 40 kilometres per hour, has 12 cars, including 10 passenger and two equipment cars.
Each car is primed for seven to eight passengers all seated, while the train’s length, width and height are approximately 38, 1.95 and 2.2 metres, respectively.
When fully operational, the electric-powered air-conditioned train with 1.62 metres height approximately in its passenger compartment, would provide a 24-hour service.
Gov. Ben Ayade had recently told journalists in Calabar that Buhari would inaugurate the train to mark his first year in office.
Ayade announced this during a second test ride of the train to ensure that the project was ready for inauguration.
The governor said the launching of the monorail would be a step toward boosting the economy and expand employment opportunities in the state..
He said the state government was determined to extend the facility to Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, as panacea to envisaged congestion of the city centre through rapid investments inflow.
The parking space at the train’s take-off point at Tinapa can conveniently accommodate 150 cars.
Mr Mba Mba, the station’s Electrical Engineer, said the light rail project was completed in December last year.
“Right now, the Calabar Monorail is ready for use pending inauguration by appropriate authorities.
“We have test-run the system and confirmed its readiness. Gov. Ben Ayade was here with his team to see for himself what is on ground.
“Tourists troop here on daily basis to take a ride. But they were disappointed as they were turned back.
“ We always give the excuse that although services are ready, they can only have their way when it is officially inaugurated.
“School children on excursions, families and other curious residents, who have not seen this kind of train before, have been coming to feed their eyes and seeking to take a ride.’’
Mr Christian Ita, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ayade, also confirmed that the project was completed.
“It is awaiting inauguration; we are waiting for a date from the presidency for its inauguration,’’ he said.