The Central Station at Cotonou has come to life for the public who are now invited to share the innovative project currently renovating rail transport in Benin. Schoolchildren and students were the first to get the chance to discover the new facilities.
“We’ve seen lots of locomotives and all the new projects that will be coming soon. It was really amazing! I’m really looking forward to taking the train one day”, said the eight year-old Laurella at the end of the visit. Laurella attends the India International School in Benin. Along with 24 classmates she visited the Central Station at Cotonou as part of a school project.
In the station’s entrance hall on the ground floor, the children discovered the station showroom, notably posters illustrating the different stages in the renovation of the infrastructure.
The young visitors were also fascinated by the renewable energy sources and the new LMP electric battery technology developed by Bolloré Group. This technology will enable solar energy to be stored in a battery that will then power cars, buses and Bluezones. From the station terrace overlooking the city, the children were able to watch a locomotive manoeuvering as well as freight trains operated by OCBN (the Benin-Niger joint rail operator).
Violetta Margani, one of the teachers accompanying the school outing, emphasised its importance: “it brought to life what we teach in school, while at the same time giving the children something to really dream about.
She added: “they have seen on a full scale what they have been looking at in the small format of their school books”. You can see the children’s faces light up with satisfaction: “I really loved it”, says Beman, while his classmate Dany was in no hurry to leave!
The visit was the second organised for students of all ages at the Central Station site in Cotonou. Just before the schoolchildren, students in Transport & Logistics from the University of Tahoua in Niger had also been welcomed at the site for a tour of the showroom and the station.