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Lagos Rail: Refurbised Toronto Subway Cars bound for Lagos

By on September 7, 2011

Governor Fashola inspecting the trains with Michael Schabas (Eko Rail)

Just as the new Toronto Rocket trains start rolling in the subway tunnels, the TTC’s old cars are about to start moving right out of the city.

A company called Eko Rail has a deal to buy 255 H5 and H6 cars from the TTC to furnish a 27-kilometre surface rail line in Lagos, Nigeria.

The TTC cars are being gradually retired as the new Rockets come online.

The price for the cars is still under negotiation, according to TTC spokesman Brad Ross.

The first of the H5s is supposed to be trucked out of the Wilson yard to the U.S. next week where it will undergo an engineering evaluation.

The interiors of the cars will be refurbished and they will be converted to run on international track gauge, said London, England-based Michael Schabas, who is working with Eko Rail, the company expected to operate the Lagos line.

The Toronto-born Schabas toured the TTC with Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola in May.

The H5s have been around since 1977 and 1980. The H6s date to 1986 and 1990. They were built by the Urban Transportation Development Corp., in Thunder Bay, which later became part of Bombardier.

The H4 cars, which are not air conditioned, are not being sold. They will be scrapped, said Ross.

It is not unusual for subway cars to be recycled. Seoul and Beijing cars have both had second lives in other cities.

The TTC announced in 2009 that there was an interested buyer for the H5 and H6 cars but it did not disclose where the subways might be heading.

Lagos has a population of about 15 million people and is expected to grow to about 25 million in the next decade. The new Blue line metro is expected to be running in about three years, said Schabas.



  1. Henryagboma

    September 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

    the rail transport system should be properly regulated so everyone both rich and poor can travel with ease and comfort

    • Kola Kuku

      September 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Much as the city of Lagos needs a modern urban transport system and all of us appreciate the effort of our hardworking governor, I hope his decision to run the rail system on old, recycled and outdated H5 and H6 engines made over 30years ago with hardly any servicing parts do not become a big problem in the future. Such things as this happened in the 70s and LCTS did not recover from the mistake of buying second hand buses for Lagos City Transport Service. The problem of old buses also came alive during FESTAC 77 and it was a big scandal. Nothing refurbished had served any useful purpose. Judging from where these engines are coming from, I do not see them functioning beyond weeks before problems start. Toronto is temperate and very cold while Lagos is in the tropics, hot and humid! I believe and submit that this decision to invest in old machines will prove to be a fatal mistake to the government of BRF. Whatever is worth doing at all should be done well. The people of Lagos State should not be ripped off by this Canadian company and at the end they begin to shout corruption in Africa. This mistake may cause incalculable damage to BRF and the AC administration of Lagos State. Let it be few and in good working condition and not plenty but not serving its purpose. The trains should be few and be made to work rather than have so many vehicles that may not work. The canadian company should not be allowed to cheat us with these aged machines. If it is not new, it is not. The culture of TOKUNBO in our pulic life should be discouraged. Lagos State deserves new transport system, but the machines on our new rails should be BRAND NEW. God bless Lagos State.

      • TTC Greediness

        October 7, 2011 at 1:07 am

        I despite being a Toronto citizen, I completely agree with you. Why doesn’t the TTC at least give the trains for free and stop angering us Torontonians off by scandulously scamming the state of Lagos. Seriously, this is a third world country which will probably lose all their money by making repairs to the trains in the first place. The least we could do is give them the H5s and H6s for free. Thumbs up if you agree.

        • Keith Charles Edwards

          September 18, 2012 at 2:58 am

          Those cars will be sold “as is,” but in good condition. TTC looks after their shit.

      • nevilleross

        January 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

        Agreed with the above, and also, the transit authority should be buying completely new subway cars, not old ones.

  2. Solaolunlade80

    September 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Fashola should watch out for this Michael Schabas, this looks like rip off to me.

    • Collins

      January 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

      An english addage argues “that the man who continues to wait untill he is 100% ready to emabark on any project, finally never try one” – Lagos or/and BRF just dont have all the money required to buy new locos and he is doing what is available under the prevailing situation (buy fairly used). @Kola kuku. Its either you are in the opposition or a contractor who is short-changed by blocking your age-long drainage pipe of lagos states by the present performing administration. So cut the crap cuz people like you wud never think its necessary to perform in public service. @ TTC Greedingness. If your claim of toronto citizenship is anything to go by, I wud advise you to face reality and accept the fact that gone are the days of western-development-mantra. And i am wondering, how long wud u guys continue to live on past glory? Canada, europe and indeed, the entire west is in a teribble mess – so, dont give me that shit of giving stuff free. africa is busy developing while you guys live on borrowed and stolen funds from the third world.

  3. Keith Charles Edwards

    September 18, 2012 at 2:56 am

    TTC does not have junk and they will not sell junk.