Railway Sector Records Significant Progress – Information Minister

The railway sector in the past 22 months has witnessed significant rehabilitation works since the assumption of office by Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, addressing journalists at the weekly media briefing, in Accra, on Wednesday, said the Government had rehabilitated the 56-kilometre existing narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa, through Nsuta; and was near completion.

 He said the completion of the lines would restore the passenger rail services from Tarkwa to Takoradi for the first time since 2007.

He added that the freight service from the Manganese Mine at Nsuta to Takoradi was in operation and the ongoing rehabilitation works had led to a major reduction in the number of derailments and accidents on the corridor.

He explained that as a result of the total deterioration of the Western Line, 700 major and minor incidents were recorded on the stretch in 2017.

However, the monthly average of 60 incidents in 2017, had reduced to five per month since January 2018, when rehabilitation commenced.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the construction of new standard gauge railway line from Kojokrom to Manso, with a distance of 22km was also progressing steadily.

Also, he said, the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), with its own workforce, started rehabilitation works on the 70.8km narrow gauge section of the Eastern railway line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.

 The rehabilitation of the Achimota to Tema section of the Line, was  approximately 90 per cent complete and test runs had commenced.

 Additionally, work was progressing on the Achimota to Accra Central line as well as the Achimota to Nsawam section.

He gave assurance that work would be completed before the end of the year.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the 10 existing passenger coaches were undergoing refurbishment, and they would enhance passenger comfort when the sub-urban commuter services re-opened.

The Minister announced that procurement process was ongoing to develop a new standard gauge line for the Eastern Railway Line with a distance of about 340km.

This, he explained, would be from Accra-Tema to Kumasi with a branch line from Busoso to Kyebi, adding that eight consortia had submitted their final bids by October 11 this year.

He gave the assurance that Government would complete negotiations with the most preferred Concessionaire before the end of the year to develop the project on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

More so, he said, feasibility Studies had been undertaken by the Government on the proposed 596km-Greenfield railway line from Kumasi to Paga, (the Central Spine).

 The construction of the rail-line would be undertaken in sections; including the Kumasi to Buipe, Buipe to Tamale and the Tamale to Paga one, with a branch line from Tamale to Yendi.

“This is significant because this will be the first time since 1898 when the British introduced the railways into the then Gold Coast that the railways with go beyond Kumasi,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah observed.