Calabar – As part of efforts to ease movement in the state capital, the multi-billion Naira Calabar Light rail project will soon be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The 12-car monorail system, when fully operational, will 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 will 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 passengers 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 electricity-powered air-conditioned train with 1.62 metres height approximately in its passenger compartment, will provide a 24-hour service.
Gov.. Ben Ayade of Cross River had recently told journalists in Calabar that Buhari would inaugurate the train.
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-ran the system and confirmed its readiness. Gov. Ben Ayade was here with his team to see for themselves what is on ground.
“Tourists troop here on daily basis to take a ride. But were disappointed at 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 stressed.