Over the weekend, I took the Abuja – Kaduna train from Idu Station to Rigasa, Kaduna and I documented the entire trip with the hope this gives you a guide in the event you decide to take the train.
The Trip to the Train Station
I and my colleagues left the hotel in Jabi at 7:30am and arrived Idu Train Station at 7:53am. We used Bolt (Taxify)however, the green taxis also ply the route if you request.
For some reason, I thought the trip was for 9:15am but later realised it was 9:50am. That meant almost waiting 2 hours at the train station but it was not a problem at all as I had company.
The Train Station
When we got to the station, there was already a queue extending beyond the ticketing area. Fortunately, it was orderly and in 6 minutes, we bought our tickets. The pricing for the ticket is displayed on a wooden display board propped at the entry.
The display board within the ticketing area was turned off. I believe that would show the pricing available. We got the regular ticket which was going for N1,300. We intended to get the first class tickets however, we only found out the tickets were available after we had bought the regular. See the difference between first class and economy here.
The entire process was manual
You’ll have to ask specifically for the first class tickets to know if it is available or not as there is no indication or signage to inform travellers
You’re required to show a means of identification before purchasing your ticket. This is because your name will be written on the ticket
You’ll be required to fill a passengers’ list/manifest to complete the process.
The station is quite large compared to the Rigasa Station in Kaduna. There was sitting for available for about 200 persons in the waiting area. There is also a restaurant at the upper level named “VIP Lounge”. The signpost made me think it was a waiting area for the first class ticket holders however, when I went upstairs to take photos, I noticed it was a restaurant.
The main challenge with the train station is the absence of air conditioning. The windows are all shut and as the hall gets full, it gets really hot. The 4 standing fans don’t do so much for 200 persons except you’re seating close to them.
The Train and Stops
Boarding started at 9:30am, 20 minutes before departure time. There’s a staff directing all passengers to the coach though each coach is labelled with the seat number on the tickets to help easy identification.
We got into the train, found our seats and settled in. It was really quick and comfortable. There was a decent toilet, first aids equipment and snacks for sale. They only sell meat pie, water and soft drinks.
We arrived Kubwa at 10:07 a.m. A few minutes later than planned. A few more persons boarded the train and we left at 10:16. The tickets were over sold and people were left standing at the middle points of the train and around the doors. We also made a stop at Jere Station but no one got on board as these stations are yet to start functioning. It was around this point that your tickets would be punched by the NRC staff. The next stop was Rijana which we arrived at 11:36am.
Accessing the Train as a Person Living with Disability
Personally, I’m particular about public spaces being disability-friendly and the station would be very challenging for any person that is disabled. From the arrival to the waiting point, the facilities seem fine but once one tries to get on the train, it becomes a serious task.
There is an elevator however, this is really slow and not ideal for high foot traffic areas. An escalator would have been the best solution. If you’re reading this and know anyone who can fix this, please tell them an escalator would be the best solution for that station.
We got into Kaduna at 12:18pm instead of 12:01 as was stated. The journey was really smooth and I will say, if you do have the time, you should travel by rail though the entire trip process is almost twice the time if you were going by road.
We arrived to a huge crowd at the other end hoping to also make the trip to Abuja.