Rehabilitation of rail lines progressing – Info. Minister

Mr Joe Ghartey,Minister of Railways Development

Mr Joe Ghartey,Minister of Railways Development

Work in the railway sector is progressing, as rehabilitation of existing rail lines and construction of new lines is at different stages of completion, the Minister for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has disclosed.

He was speaking at the bi-weekly media briefings in Accra yesterday.

Mr Nkrumah explained that so far, work on the 56-kilometre narrow gauge line from Kojokrom through Tarkwa to Nsuta in the Western Region was almost completed while work on the 22-kilometre new standard gauge rail line from Kojokrom to Manso is also more than half way through and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

According to him, the Kojokrom to Manso stretch was being funded by Government of Ghana (GoG) and would restore passenger rail services from Tarkwa to Tarkoradi for the first time in 12 years when completed.

He said even though freight service from the manganese mine at Nsuta to Takoradi was in operation, the ongoing rehabilitation works had led to a spectacular reduction of the number of derailments and incidents that used to occur on the line.

“In 2017, due to the total deterioration of the Western line, a total of 700 major and minor incidents were recorded including derailments.

The average incidents, including derailments, since January 2018 when rehabilitation commenced in earnest, are five incidents per month; down from an average of 60 incidents per month in 2017,” he emphasised.

On the Eastern Line, he said the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) with its own workforce had commenced rehabilitation works on the 70.8kilometres narrow gauge section from Accra to Tema, adding that “The Achimota to Tema section of the line is approximately 90 per cent complete and test runs have commenced.”

He said work was ongoing on the Achimota to Accra Central section of the line and the Achimota to Nsawam section of the line as well with all expected to be completed before the end of this year.

“Ten existing passenger coaches have undergone refurbishment. This will enhance passenger comfort when the sub-urban commuter services re-open on these lines,” he added.

The Minister said procurement processes to develop a new standard gauge line for the Eastern Rail Line with a distance of about 340-kilometres was ongoing.

This line according to him would start from Accra-Tema to Kumasi with a branch from Buso to Kyebi, adding that “Eight consortia submitted their final bids in October 11, 2018 and government will complete negotiations with the most preferred concessionaire before the end of this year to develop the project on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

Touching on the Central spine, Mr. Nkrumah said the feasibility studies on the proposed 596kilometres Greenfield line from Kumasi to Paga had been completed and the construction would commence soon.

He said construction would be undertaken in batches, starting from Kumasi to Buipe, Buipe to Tamale, Tamale to Paga and a branch from Tamale to Yendi, stressing that “This is significant because this will be the first time since 1898 when the British introduced the railways into the Gold Coast that railways will go beyond Kumasi. The President promised that we will get to Paga and his vision is on course.”

Mr. Nkrumah said a permanent joint committee of experts from Ghana and Burkina Faso was established in December last year to facilitate the development of rail link between the Tema Port and Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.

By Cliff Ekuful

 

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