So in the spirit of the Holidays, I decided to go on a short “vacation” in Kaduna and I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to go via the much talked about train service. It was a wet Saturday morning but I was determined to make it so I headed to the Kubwa station as I was already late and wouldn’t be able to catch up with the train at the Idu Station. On arrival at the Kubwa station, there were loads of people waiting to get their tickets and I sensed that I was in danger of missing the train if I couldn’t get a ticket in time. That is where my Nigerian street sense kicked in and I quickly asked someone on the queue to get an extra ticket and I gave him the cash equivalent. Getting on board was equivalent to a “Bulls vs Rams” game as there was a lot of pushing & shoving but the hustler spirit in me prevailed and I got on board and got a seat (Many people later got onboard but they had to stand).
Once on board, “Everybody hates Chris” was the choice of entertainment on the screens. Two folks also provided a full bout of laughter as they argued in the local Hausa parlance who was more popular in a certain district of Kaduna named Rigasa (Which also turns out to be the train’s final stop in Kaduna). The argument was put to bed with a call to a mutual friend and the guy in the cap (see image below) was vindicated as the more popular one…I laughed my heart out.
Ticketing rounds were conducted by the train attendants to verify tickets and that is when I realized that I was sold a “special needs” ticket whose value was 300naira as against the 600naira I paid. I think this is kind of a Ponzi scheme by the attendants to milk out money for themselves. I was asked to write my phone number behind my ticket and I submitted my ticket for further follow up. The journey was pretty straightforward though it felt like the train was moving at an incredibly slow speed & the total journey time was about 2hours 22minutes (7:38am – 10:00am with a slight delay for 20 minutes due to some obstructions on the rail track).
All in all, it was a good experience and I will definitely be taking the train service whenever I have the opportunity to be in Kaduna. I think the following service areas can be improved to provide a better experience onboard the trains:
Security: It was too easy to just hustle pass the checks and someone could easily take an explosive onboard as there are no scanners or anything of that sort. This needs to be checked if not any potential security breach will totally dissuade future travelers.
Ticketing: There should be a means of communication between the Idu & Kubwa stations since these are the 2 main boarding points. Once a particular number of tickets have been sold at Idu, it should be relayed immediately to Kubwa so ticketing at Kubwa stops at the allotted seating arrangement on the train and that eliminates standing.
Order: The stations could do with more members of the armed forces or a special security force to maintain order and ensure people queue properly and coaches are accessed without having to push and shove.
This train ride ticked off another major means of transport for me as the only mode of transport left now is Water travel which I have yet to do due to my EXTREME love for water (Closest I have been on is a canoe & it was a short ride so in my mind, it doesn’t count…Hehehe).
This blog will be a chronicle of my travel experiences and I invite you to join me in sharing yours by mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org (Write up & pictures). I will be heading to Kajuru Castle on Saturday and I can’t wait to write about another fabulous travel experience. Till then, keep being a journey rockstar!