Lagos Rail Mass Transit

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Lagos Rail Mass Transit
OwnerLagos State (Managed by Eko Rail under Concession Agreement)
LocaleLagos State
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines1 (in operation)
1 (under construction)
5 (proposed)
Number of stations5
Began operationSeptember 4, 2023; 27 days ago (September 4, 2023)
Operator(s)Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA)
Number of vehicles15 four-car BMU CNR Dalian for Blue Line
System length35 km (22 mi) (planned)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) Standard Gauge
ElectrificationBlue Line:
750 V DC third rail
Red Line:
1500 V DC overhead catenary (planned)

Lagos Rail Mass Transit is a rapid transit system in Lagos State. The rail system is managed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).[1] The railway equipment including electric power, signals, rolling stock, and fare collection equipment will be provided by the private sector under a concession contract. LAMATA is responsible for policy direction, regulation, and infrastructure for the network. The first section of the network, Phase I of the Blue Line, was originally planned to be completed in 2011, though the construction has suffered many delays caused by shortage of funds and change of government. In February 2021, the Lagos State Government announced that the Blue and Red Lines would be open by December 2022[2] but Blue Line opened on September 4, 2023.[3]


  • 2008: A metro is proposed for Lagos, allegedly with a completion date of 2011.
  • 2009: Construction commences on the Blue Line.[1]
  • 2016: Phase I (the Blue Line from Marina to Mile 2) planned to open in December 2016.
  • 2018: After an Alstom review of the project, Phase I (the Blue Line from Marina to Mile 2) is now set to open in 2021.
  • 2021: The Lagos State Government announced that the Blue and Red Lines will open in December 2022.[4]
  • 2022, January: LAMATA purchases two Talgo VIII trains.
  • On Jan 24, 2023, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the first phase of the Lagos Mass Transit Blue Line Rail Project.[5]
  • On September 4, 2023, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu officially opened the Blue Rail transit for public use. [6]


The idea of developing a rapid transit in Lagos state, dates back to 1983 with the Lagos Metroline network conceived by Alhaji Lateef Jakande during the Second Nigerian Republic.[7][8][9][10] The initial Metroline project was scrapped in 1985 by Muhammadu Buhari at a loss of over $78 million to the state tax payers.[11] In year 2003, the then governor, Bola Tinubu, revived the rail network for Lagos state with a formal announcement of its construction.[12] The initial cost $135 million was proposed for the greater Lagos Urban Transportation Project to be implemented by the newly formed Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).[12] LAMATA initially concentrated on developing a Bus Rapid Transit system, running from Mile 12 to Lagos Island. In 2008, LAMATA to make progress with the rail project, focusing on the Blue Line and the Red Line.

Rolling stock[edit]

Blue line, red line, railway stations and airport
"Talgo VIII" (or "Talgo 8") train. Example pictured is from Amtrak Cascades

In September 2011, LAMATA announced that it would acquire some H5-series subway trains formerly used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The cars were to be refurbished in the United States and converted to standard gauge before being imported and put into service on the Blue and Red lines. The same contract also included an option for some H6-series subway cars from the TTC, however this has since been cancelled.[13][14][15][16] The trains were built as two-unit married pairs[17] with a driver's cab in the front right corner of each car.[18]

In January 2015, LAMATA opted for Chinese-built trains instead, ordering 15 electro-diesel multiple units from CNR Dalian with an option for 14 more.[19] About 76 H5 cars that had been taken for refurbishment to Buffalo, New York, have been scrapped by August 2015.[20]

Working principle of the "Pendular" cars (green: gravity, red: centrifugal force in curve, blue: resulting force)

In August 2018, LAMATA signed an agreement with Alstom. As a part of the agreement, Alstom conducted a review of the rail lines. After the review of the rail project, which should have initiated passenger activity, the state government said the Blue Line, would now be ready for passenger operation by 2022. This deal also plans for the electrification of a portion of the track.[21]

In January 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu visited the US state of Wisconsin, to announce the purchase of two Talgo VIII trainsets for service on the Red Line.[22][23] They had been ordered by Wisconsin for use on the Amtrak Hiawatha Service in 2009, but they were never placed in service, and were instead stored.[24] Talgo VIII cars are based on the unique technology of the Talgo Pendular model, which (similar to a bicycle rider) leans into a curve resulting in less sideways force and a higher comfort for passengers when driving over a curvy track.[25][26] The "leaning" of the car is passive e.g. it happens purely by the resulting force, without electronics, sensors or engines.


Blue Line: Okokomaiko - Marina[edit]

The Blue Line is the first line in the system and opened its first five stations on 4 September 2023.[27] The planned route is 27 kilometres (17 mi) from Okokomaiko to Lagos Marina.[28][29] Construction had been delayed due to lack of funds and was split into multiple phases.[28]

The Red Line: Agbado - Marina[edit]

The second line, the Red Line, will run from Marina to Agbado. The line will share the right-of-way of the Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway.[30] The Lagos State government purchased Talgo trainsets for use on the Red Line from Wisconsin, United States of America, where they were built and purchased for service between Milwaukee and Madison, but never used.[31]

The Red Line [Airport Branch][edit]

The Airport Branch of the Red Line runs from Ikeja to MMIA International Terminal.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lagos Rail Mass Transit". Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority. 2015. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  2. ^ "Lagos says blue, red rail lines will be ready by December 2022". February 25, 2021.
  3. ^ Bolaji, Samuel (August 31, 2023). "Lagos Blue Line rail begins operations September 4". Punch Nigeria. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  4. ^ "Lagos says blue, red rail lines will be ready by December 2022". February 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Editor 3 (January 25, 2023). "President Buhari inaugurates 13-km Lagos Mass Transit Blue Line Rail". National Accord Newspaper. Retrieved January 26, 2023. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Gbenga Salau (July 26, 2016). "30 years after… Lagos Metroline still work in progress". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Bola A. Akinterinwa (1999). Nigeria and France, 1960-1995: The Dilemma of Thirty-five Years of Relationship. Indiana University (Vantage). p. 160.
  9. ^ Ayodeji Olukoju (2003). Infrastructure development and urban facilities in Lagos, 1861-2000 Volume 15 of Occasional publication. Institut français de recherche en Afrique, University of Ibadan. ISBN 978-9-788-0250-54.
  10. ^ "Turning Lagos Into a Megacity". PM News. April 14, 2004.
  11. ^ Farukanmi, Olorunnimbe (January 24, 2003). "Battle of Generals". Vanguard.
  12. ^ a b Momodu, Shaka (December 3, 2003). "Lagos Launches $135m Rail System". This Day.
  13. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (September 6, 2011). "TTC subway cars bound for Nigeria". Toronto Star. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "Eko Rail's Trains Begin Journey to Lagos". PR Newswire. September 27, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  15. ^ "Report on sales of surplus assets" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. May 28, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  16. ^ "First subway cars leave Toronto for Lagos". International Railway Journal. September 28, 2011. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2013. The Blue Line is expected to carry 300,000 passengers a day with trains running at 5-minute headways.
  17. ^ "Lagos settles for refurbished subway cars for its light rail project". Nigerians Abroad. May 11, 2011. Archived from the original on October 26, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013. Subway cars — equivalent of trains — are series of connected railroad cars used for intra city (urban) transportation, usually underground and operated by electricity.
  18. ^ "Toronto Transit Commission 5670-5807". Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  19. ^ "LAMATA opts for Chinese Trains for the Lagos Light Rail". Black Border Build. January 11, 2015. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  20. ^ "Hawker Siddeley Canada H5". Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  21. ^ "Lagos light rail to commence operation 2022 - Official". August 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Lagos State Governor to Visit Milwaukee Talgo Facility" (PDF). Wisconsin Public Radio. January 18, 2022. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  23. ^ "Unused US Talgo trains to move to Nigeria". International Railway Journal. January 19, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  24. ^ "Talgo's Wisconsin Trains Find Home In… Nigeria". January 18, 2022.
  25. ^ "Talgo speed comparison | Trains Magazine". Trains. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  26. ^ "Talgo America - Overview". Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  27. ^ "Metro rail service starts in Nigeria's Lagos, set to ease traffic". Al Jazeera. September 4, 2023. Retrieved September 4, 2023.
  28. ^ a b "Lagos gets a new elevated rail network". Quartz. January 6, 2023. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  29. ^ Ologunagbe, Olamide (December 23, 2022). "What you need to know about Lagos Blue Line Rail". Businessday NG. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  30. ^ "Nigeria: Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project Ready in 2018 - Osinbajo". Premium Times (Abuja). March 7, 2017.
  31. ^ "Trains built in Milwaukee head to Nigeria after decade-long legal saga over high-speed rail". CBS58. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  32. ^ Israel, Arogbonlo (September 28, 2022). "Everything you need to know about Lagos Red, Blue line metro". The Quest Times. Retrieved November 11, 2022.

External links[edit]