The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) says motorists in Lagos State need extra care at level crossings, with the resumption of train on narrow guage and the about-to-commence operations on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail-line.
The Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr Jerry Oche, gave th advice in an interview with newsmen on Monday, following an accident involving a passenger train and a commercial bus.
The accident occurred on Monday morning.
Oche said: “There is an extra level of care that every driver must take now. We should not forget that we are planning to start the standard guage.
“The original plan was that there would be no level crossing but because of the temporary arrangement we have now, there are level crossings around.”
According to him, the speed of a train on a standard guage is more than that of trains on narrow gauge.
“We plead with every driver approaching level crossings to stop at a safe distance, look left and right, listen for the sound or horn of a coming train, and if it is clear, he should proceed.
“If it is not clear, even if the train is coming from a distance, he should stop because of the probability of getting stalled on the track if he attempts to cross.
“There is also the probability of the vehicle in front of him getting stalled and he is trapped.
“Let him drive safely because it is only the living that fulfil dreams and aspirations,” he said.
The NRC boss, who decried media reports that the train involved in the accident ran into the bus, said that it was the bus that got trapped on rail track when the train was passing.
“The train was on its track, it didn’t leave the track to go and hit the bus.
“We have resumed today, I am assuming a lot of people have taken it for granted that, for the past six months, we have not run; so, the laxity is there.
“However, this does not serve an excuse for you to play on the track.
“The vehicle was on the track, the train was coming; of course the braking distance for a train is not the same with that of a car, so the train hit it,” he said.
According to him, the train which left Ijoko at 06:30a.m. on Monday hit a vehicle stuck at the Arena Level Crossing.
The official said that the driver of the vehicle was able to escape.
He explained that as the train hit the vehicle, the vehicle hit another vehicle, and the train dragged it to Oshodi Under Bridge.
On the number of casualties, Oche said:
“The Lagos district management is going to the scene now so that we can see what happened and how we can prevent a reoccurrence.
“We pray there is no death,” Oche said.
The manager said that Lagos State Emergency Management Agency workers had pushed the vehicle off the track, adding that the train had got to its destination.
NAN reports that the NRC had on Thursday announced that its Lagos-Ogun Mass Transit Trains operation – from Ijoko in Ogun to Iddo in Lagos State – would resume on Monday.
The passenger train service was suspended on March 23 as part of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.