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Lagos acquires trains intended for unbuilt US Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line.

The Lagos State government has purchased two trains originally intended for a high-speed rail line to connect Madison and Milwaukee are headed for Nigeria. The two trains are for the Red Line due for commissioning later this year. The Red Line, when commissioned, will be West Africa’s first operational metro system.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu was in Milwaukee on Tuesday January 18, 2022 to finalise the purchase the unused trains.

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At the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo, acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson welcomed Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Describing the event as a little bittersweet, Johnson said “I’m sending my congratulations to the governor in Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those trainsets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.”

The trains, originally meant for the Milwaukee-Madison high-speed rail line has been in storage for almost ten years due to political bickering which lead to the cancellation of the rail line by the then Republican Governor Scott Walker.

By 2012, Talgo had built the trains, and sent an invoice to the state for them. Later that year, Talgo terminated the contract and sued the state, kicking off a court dispute that lasted almost three years. Under the terms of a settlement between Wisconsin and Talgo, the state paid the company a total of $50 million for the trains, which remained under the company’s ownership.

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The trains sat unused in an Amtrak facility in Indiana for years, a lasting reminder of the dispute. They eventually returned to Talgo’s plant in Milwaukee in 2019.

The first phase of the Lagos Red Line, when commissioned later in the year, is expected to serve up to half a million passengers daily.

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