Echoes from my childhood days of hearing the horns of a passing train on most mornings and getting to see one occasionally always send chills of sweet sensations down my spine. I had always wanted the train experience.
The locomotive chills
On few occasions as a kid, when I got to accompany my dearest mum to the very big and popular Mile One market in Port Harcourt to buy some items, I often get to see the train pass right through the market, while the traders rush to move their commodities off the rail in a frantic manner and the others running away from the rails for safety. With much amusement, I always loved this rush moment because these actions were swift but quite dangerous, not until my mom told me a story of how someone was crushed to death by the train. Damn! I got scared for real, but that did not crush my appetite for a long distance rail-journey. So here I am about to do my thing.
Took this journey, solely because I had always longed for a real train ride experience (and a locomotive one at that).
Got to the Port Harcourt train station at about 8:05am on tuesday.
To my dismay, I was told the Port Harcourt -Enugu-kaduna train that departs from PH on Tuesday mornings had stopped it’s routine journey sometime last year(2017). I was not happy about such developments because it had -vely affected my plans. I alternatively decided to board the PH-Aba train to Aba. Then board a vehicle from Aba to Enugu.
While awaiting the arrival of the train, I decided to socialize with the awaiting passengers within my age bracket and also sharpen my rookie photography skills but was accosted by some NRC workers/security for taking pictures of the station building and its environs. Threats of seizing my camera/phone were invoked, I laughed in Spanish and simply apologized after so much disagreements.
Port Harcourt Train Station House
After the long wait, finally the train arrived the station(the final stop) at about 8:55am, we queued for ticket payment at the ticket office.
I got my ticket (First Class) for N400, just for reasons of comfortability, security and lastly to have the ultimate locomotive train experience.
The First Class coaches are a bit cozy for their locomotive standard (Air-condition and AC-supply sockets for charging of devices). The second-class ticket was sold for N200 (No A-C, no sockets, etc), so there you go, the choice is yours. Anyways I am glad that the trains are back.
First Class Coaches
Some school pupils/students who were on an excursion, visited the 🚉 and also joined the train to Aba.
Pupils on an excursion to the train station
We left the train station at 10:08am. Literally, at the beginning of the journey, the train was practically rolling as if it was being pushed. The mechanical challenge was resolved en route and the train accelerated to the next sub-stations (Diobu, D/Line, Elelenwa, Kom-kom, Imo River, Ogwe etc) to either pick up or drop passengers.
Reading (The Long Walk To Freedom)
I was busy reading my book, while the other passengers on board were either reading as well, sleeping, fiddling with their phones, walking from one coach to the other or busy buying and munching on different chewables ranging from egg-roll, buns, meat pie, assorted-meat, to drinking of palmwine, soft drinks, bottled water and as such making the First Class coach smell like a fast-food joint and me praying that someone doesn’t send the entire coach into chaos or the passengers into a frenzy by professionally releasing some gaseous foul-smelling entity(you know what I mean), anyways I got to the Aba station by 12:30pm.
As we all know the transportation sector is a vital arm in any country, so I was taught in social studies back in high school. With the various means of transportation we have in Nigeria, just a few are coasting high (i.e the air, land/road, water). This cannot be said for the rail transport system in Nigeria, which is still being developed to a more comparative world class standard. But unarguably, I must applaud the past and present administration for the revival, development and possible sustenance of our rail system of transportation.
Yippee!!! I am so glad that the trains are back.
Have you been on a train before. If yes, what was your experience like?