RAIL transport in the country is being revamped after years of dormancy. Tracks are being fixed; contracts are being signed for procurement of coaches and other equipment while workers are being engaged for several projects.
In January this year, the Tema-Accra line was restored with the Ghana Railway Company Limited running free services for rail commuters for 10 days. Work is ongoing on other lines.
It is refreshing to see that the country is making efforts to derive benefits from train transport including faster and cheaper means of travelling which has been attested by developed countries.
However, we are shocked that while all these efforts are being made, some individuals are busily engaged in illegal activities at Kwame Nkrumah interchange, one of the train routes and endangering lives.
We are referring to the lead story of yesterday’s edition of this paper headlined “Danger looms at Kwame Nkrumah Interchange … as illegal bus terminals spring up close to rail track”.
We reported that the siting of unauthorised bus terminals close to the railway track at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, in Accra, is posing danger to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Additionally, noise from loud speakers mounted at the terminals impedes hearing of the request for drivers to stop vehicles and pedestrians to give way for passing trains.
It was revealed that traders now sell various items and pack their wares very close to the rail line; posing danger in case of train derailment. School children and pedestrians also put themselves at risk as they sometimes walk on the main rail line.
These are clear violations of the rail company’s regulations which read in part: That structures along the rail line should be 50 metres away to avoid any harm to human lives’.
It is upsetting and unfortunate that people would always jump at the least opportunity to engage in one illegal activity or the other, without considering the danger they are exposed to.
We are surprised that private company, the O&A Travel, and state company, Intercity STC who are obviously not strangers to rules and regulations would decide to ignore rules and construct terminals close to the rail track and endanger lives of their patrons.
Although the Accra Area Engineer of the Ghana Railway Company (GRC), Mr Zaphaneath Akuffo, says the railway police and task force patrol the area daily and demolish makeshift structures and also ward off squatters from interfering with the movement of the train, we are of the view that more could be done.
For us, permanent solution should be found before tragedy strucks. We must not allow lives to be lost due to the disobedience of a few people before we take action.
The terminals and mosques being constructed must be demolished as soon as practicable and sanity brought to the area. We should not allow indiscipline to derail efforts being made to restore train transport.