The Economic Development of Nigeria: Report of a Mission Organized by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the Request of the Governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom

By World Bank | Go to book overview

TECHNICAL REPORT 16 RAIL TRANSPORT

I THE RAILWAY IN 1953-54

Summary of Present Position

The Nigerian Railway is emerging from a protracted period of crisis which has disturbed the Nigerian economy and raised doubts as to the railway's future. In most of the postwar years the railway was unable to move all traffic offered, evidenced most strongly by groundnut "pyramids" in Kano. The principal reason for this failure has been the shortage of motive power, due both to an insufficient stock and to poor maintenance of locomotives on hand. The railway has also been beset with labor troubles. One bright spot is the favorable financial situation.

The mission has confidence in the railway's future. Improvements are being made constantly in all departments. The recently appointed General Manager has approached his task with energy and competence. Relations between management and staff have improved and it now seems probable that the plaguing problem of groundnuts will be solved in two years by an increase in motive power and in the output of the workshops. The measures now in hand should enable the railway after 1955 to play its full part in the country's economic development.


History

The Nigerian Railway started out from Lagos in 1898, as the Lagos Government Railway, the first in Nigeria. Ibadan, the center of the cocoa-growing area, was reached in 1901 and the Niger, at Jebba, in 1909 (see Map 10). The Baro-Kano Railway was built to serve the northern part of Nigeria via the Niger; it was completed in 1911 and the two lines were connected by the Jebba bridge in 1915. In

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