I made a trip to the Iddo Train Station with two intentions. First, I wanted to take a train to Abeokuta just to see what it was like. Secondly, I wanted to find out everything there was to know about using the Nigerian Railway service.
I’ve taken the train once (in Lagos) as part of a primary school excursion and I remember it not being so bad. It wasn’t excellent either. I was very curious to see what had changed since then, see the newer trains and probably take a ride in those. (Edit: I took another train in Abuja recently. This is the best service we have in Nigeria currently)
Getting to Iddo Train Station
I wasn’t sure if there was a parking lot, so I decided to make use of public transportation to get there. I took a bus from Lekki to CMS, then took a connecting bus headed towards CONSTAIN and dropped off at ‘NEPA’ bus stop, a stop on the bridge. To get to the station, I had to find my way off the bridge and then under it to the road across.
The station was still quite a distance away from that stop. I asked a rickshaw driver how to get there and he offered to give me a lift for free. I insisted on paying him but he absolutely refused to take any money from me.
When I got into the Lagos Terminus building, I wasn’t surprised to find an old, worn out and unimpressive interior, very much like its exterior. There were a few passengers within the building and even more hawkers and vendors despite the ‘No Hawking’ signs.
I arrived at the station at about 9:00 am and for the first two and a half hours I was there, there was no staff in sight and the ticketing booth remained locked. After asking a few people around, I was told that the staff would resume as soon as it was time to board the trains. I’m not sure if there was a train before but the next train was scheduled for departure at 03:30 pm. There was no way I was waiting for that long!
Eventually, I found someone who informed me that the train to Abeokuta is available only on Tuesdays at 09:00 is and Fridays at noon.
The only trains available for Saturday were the Mass Transit Trains (MTT). The newer, faster trains were only available on weekdays and other trains made scheduled departures on specific weekdays.
With nothing else left to do, I decided to head home. On my way out, a couple of ladies approached me to take a picture of them. They were bread vendors and at some point insisted that I took a photo of them with their wares.
It was a fun ‘photoshoot’ and perhaps the highlight of the day!
In any case, I’ll be going back to the station to try out both the inner city and interstate trains. Hopefully, I’d have better luck in riding one and finding out more about the Nigerian Railway Corporation and her services.
Some Points to Note:
A small parking lot is available but I’m not sure of what it costs to park there. I tried to find out but I wasn’t given an exact fare. I also don’t know how long a car can be parked. One can only assume that cars are parked at the owner’s risk.
Contact details for the NRC:
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.nrc-ng.org (page is unresponsive at the time of this posting)
This post first appeared on my old blog, chapterone.com.ng
Have you used any train service in Nigeria before? What was your experience like?