The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey has revealed that the Ministry will be ordering over 30 standard gauge trains in June this year.
According to him, the Ministry has already gotten approval of about 130 million dollars of trains which will be purchased from a company in China.
Speaking live on Eye on Port’s interactive programme on national television, Joe Ghartey stated that the technical committee of the Ministry is engaging their counterparts in China to agree on the specifications on the trains.
“Once they agree on the specification we will sign the particulars of the contract and then we order,” he said.
He said the about 35 trains including both standard and narrow gauge trains would be ordered in June 2020 and should arrive latest by 2021.
“We need to make the order ahead of time for them to bring it, so if we order now it may not come this year, it will come in about 18 months time,” he stated.
In addition to standard gauge trains, he said the Ministry is ordering three to four narrow gauge trains in June this year.
“We are seeking advice from the Ghana Railway Company Limited for them to tell us how many trains they will need,” he said.
“If you look at our passenger trains, they are not sufficient for the demand in addition to the fact that post COVID-19, now we can’t park our trains so we need more passenger trains hence have ordered some from a South Africa company called Transnet”.
He revealed that the Ministry is purchasing more standard gauge for two reasons.
“Standard gauge is what the African Union and ECOWAS have said that the entire Africa should use so that we can have train that will set off from Djibouti and come all the way to Ghana.
“In East Africa, they are doing cross country railway line. We have started in Ghana that is the Ghana-Burkina rail line,” he said.
The Minister said about 100 old coaches were sold before he assumed office but he ensured that the rest that were left when he took office are rehabilitated and currently being operated.
“The train that goes to Nsawam is a rehabilitated train. The passenger train that goes to Takoradi is also rehabilitated,” he said.
The British, according to him left 947 kilometres of rail line but when he was appointed a minister what was left was barely 10 per cent of that figure.
“And even that 10 per cent was barely working. The last time a train went from Kumasi to Accra was in 2001 on the eastern line. On the western line, it was 2004,” the Minister of Railways Development explained.