The government is currently upgrading the old railway workshop at Essikado in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region, Minister of Railway Development, Mr John-Peter Amewu, has announced.
The project, he explained, would strengthen local capacity for the repairs and maintenance of locomotives, wagons, coaches and other ancillary railway equipment for delivery of railway services in Ghana.
“The vision is to modernise and equip the facility for it to become a one-stop workshop to serve the railway, mining, petroleum, agricultural and other ancillary industries on Ghana,” Mr Awewu stressed.
He said these during the celebration of rail transport day at UMaT’s School of Railways and Infrastructure Development (SRID) at Essikado on Saturday.
It was on the theme “Ghana’s rail transport: challenges and future prospects.”
Already, the minster recalled that, two out of seven workshops were refurbished by Messrs Rolider Ghana Limited in 2018, with government funding, adding that, Messrs CK Engineering and Construction Limited, was also refurbishing five other workshops.
He said, to ensure that Ghana developed adequate local capacity to manage and maintain the railway system, the old Railway Central Training Institute at Essikado, had since 2021, trained over 600 youthful Ghanaians in engineering degree, diploma and certificate programmes.
Again, Mr Amewu indicated that, the school had been upgraded into a degree awarding institution, adding that the ministry together with Ghana Railway Company Limited and UMaT, had developed academic programmes to ensure students received practical and hands-on engineering training, to strengthen their capacity.
As part of railway master plan to modernise and expand the railway network in the country, he said, the existing narrow gauge of western rail line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta sections, since 2017 had been rehabilitated to ensure the efficient haulage of manganese from Nsuta mines to the port of Takoradi.
“The development of a new standard gauge railway network commenced in 2018 for the construction of the 22km Kojokrom to Manso section of the western line in January 2018.
“The project is currently about 90 per cent and is expected to be fully completed and handed over by the contractor Messrs Amandi Holding Ltd in the first quarter of 2023.”
Even before the completion of the new standard gauge line to Manso, the minister reported that the government had secured external funding to continue the development of the western line from Manso to Huni Valley.
The project includes the extension of the standard gauge into the bulk terminal at the Takoradi Port, Mr Amewu said.
The ministry, he said was working closely with the contractor to ensure completion of tracks up to Nsuta within 12 months to enable migration of the manganese haulage from narrow gauge onto the standard gauge to enhance efficiency in railway operations.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, ESSIKADO