GRCL launches rail service from Takoradi to Tarkwa

The first free rail passenger service launched by the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) on the Takoradi -Tarkwa section of the western line, ended successfully at the Tarkwa platform.

The five coach-train, with a speed of 35 kilometres per hour, started the 60.2-kilometre journey last Tuesday from the Takoradi Harbour at exactly 6:30 am and arrived a safely at the Tarkwa train station at about 9:27 am.

The trip came after 13 years of inactivity on the western line which served as a major artery in Ghana’s railway infrastructure.

Although GRCL made announcement ahead of the trip, some people did not use the opportunity due to doubts and the fear of derailment, the Ghanaian Times gathered.

However, as the locomotive approached various stops,  including New Takoradi, Kojokrom,  Adiembra, Anoe  through Manso, Benso  and  Esuoso,  hooting and honking its horns, anxious and  excited crowd, zoomed from their homes and shops, to catch a glimpse and waved as the train moved slowly through the towns to Tarkwa.

The free passenger service, which ended last Friday, followed the completion of the rehabilitation works on the Takoradi to Tarkwa rail line and several successful joint test runs with the Ghana Railway Development Authority.

A former assembly man for Benso, Augustine Tetteh, expressed the joy that the railway was back and believed that “our train has come for good and will be sustained”.

At Manso, Maxwell Kessie, also a former geologist of the Ghana Manganese Company, told the Ghanaian Times that, “the collapse of the railway also collapsed our local economy. We are happy that it is back.”

The Deputy Managing Director of GRCL, Dr Michael Adjei Anyetei, who was excited about the trip, mentioned that the resumption of  passenger services was significant, historic and a success, saying: “I am very excited and the fact that some  passengers  were sleeping meant that they  were comfortable.”

Dr Anyetei recalled that passenger services  on the western line stopped in 2017, but expressed the GRC’s desire to remain focused to ensure that it was sustained to  improve the social and economic life of the people, especially those who lived along the rail line.

He told the journalists that the country’s railway systems had operated for over 100 years, and therefore, could provide optimum services, and assured that safety was guaranteed.

He added: “We need to do some more works; soon our civil engineers will be on tracks to repair any faults. Indeed, after every passage, we do maintenance. We hope to sustain the system, for we are here to stay.We also hope to get some funding from government to refurbish the coaches.”

Dr Anyetei  indicated that GRCL would seek public opinion on how to improve services and the schedules on the Takoradi-Tarkwa rail  line, assuring that commercial services would begin from February 5.

“We are grateful to God, and we thank the Minister for Railway Development,  the Board and  Railway Workers Union for their  support in this success story,” he said.

The Head of Civil Engineering, Michael Kobina Addison, also assured the public that engineers would work on the ‘bumpy turbulence’ on some portions of  the tracks to make passengers comfortable.

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI

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