General News of Wednesday, 5 December 2018
President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has urged all stakeholders in the Railway sector to put their shoulders to the wheel and partner government to build a first-class railway transportation system for the benefit of the people of Ghana and to create wealth for same.
President Akufo Addo, addressing staff of the Ghana Railway Development Authority and other stakeholders in Accra when he inspected ongoing works on the construction of Accra railways at Kantamanto said: “The railway project is a national project. It is about the transformation and development of our country. I want to appeal to all those who are involved in the sector, from the Minister through to the leaders of the Railway Authority and the Railway Company, workers, staff, employees, everybody, put your shoulder to the wheel, let us go that extra mile and let us establish a first class, world class railway infrastructure in our country to propel the development and the growth of same.”
In his address, the President made a passionate appeal to persons who live along the railway lines to vacate the place since with the introduction of high-speed trains, living along the railway lines would no longer be a safe enterprise.
“In the olds days till now when the railways had trains that moved slowly, you could get away. We are going to have trains that will travel at 100 miles per hour, high-speed rails. For the safety of everybody, let us get away from the rail lines and preserve life,” the President said.
The President added that he was encouraged by the level of work going on in the railway industry and commended the sector Minister for doing a yeoman’s job to revive, build and add rail transport to the means of transportation in the country.
Minister for Railways Development
The Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey in his brief remarks said work on the railway from Kumasi to Paga will commence in the first quarter of the year 2019 with the allocation of some $500 million dollars in the 2019 fiscal policy of Government for same. The Minister added that feasibility studies had commenced for the proposed construction of light rail lines in Accra and kumasi. He solicited for the prayers of Ghanaians so that a bankable document would be realised from the ongoing study so that in the course of 2019, Government could begin the construction of light rails in the two major cities of the country.
Ministry of Railways Development
The Ministry of Railways Development was established by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in February, 2017. The Ministry has been tasked with ensuring the rapid development of a modern rail network in Ghana. Connecting the major cities of Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale; the use of Ghana as the route for transporting goods from landlocked countries north of Ghana, such as Burkina Faso, to the ports of Tema and Takoradi and also from the ports to the landlocked countries are essentially the major motivation behind the creation of the Ministry of Railway Development.
Additionally, the presence of major mineral deposits of manganese, bauxite and iron ore along the route of the existing railways network; the potential to attract other bulk cargo such as cocoa, cement, mining equipment and petroleum products onto the rail network; the expansion of the ports of Tema and Takoradi; the proposed creation of inland rail terminals; the development of new industrial estates; the development of new settlements and the complete transformation of the economy, also form part of the bases for the backbone of a nationwide robust and modern railways network.
Existing Railway Network
The existing network consists of three lines: the Western Line, the Eastern Line and the Central Line (from Huni Valley to Kotoku). Built during the colonial period, what is still operational is barely 13% of the approximately 947 kilometers of rail that existed at independence in 1957. These lines are all narrow (cape) gauge, single track lines. What is left of it, is used for both freight and passenger traffic. Over the years, the track and rolling stock have all deteriorated, due to lack of maintenance.