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General News of Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Accra-Tema train service is back


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The Accra-Tema train ride finally came off yesterday with a strong commitment from the government to sustainably manage the railway sector to transform Ghana into a first world nation.

There was excitement among both commuters enjoying the free-ride and onlookers who relished the spectacle of the railway hitting the tracks after a long lull.

The Railway Minister, Joe Ghartey, was joyous for finally presenting Ghanaians with a commuter train service between Accra and Tema, which is part of an overhaul railway system and extension in the country.

Joining in the joy was Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who briefed the record number of media organizations who thronged the Accra Central Railway Station at Kantamanto about the historical trip.

The free commuter train service between Accra and Tema is expected to run for two weeks after which the sale of tickets will commence.

The Accra-Tema Service is but a tip of the iceberg of a major introduction of a speed train system across the country from Accra to Kumasi to Tamale and Yendi.

The Eastern corridor is part of the major transformation of Ghana’s railway system which until now was non-existent.

The rejuvenated railway commuter service would impact positively on the transportation system in Accra and Tema, offering commuters an option away from the traffic clogged road alternative.

Anxious commuters started arriving in their numbers around 7:00am at the Accra Central Railway Station for the trip which started at about 8:00am; the youthful ones among them who had never had a train ride in their lives eager to jump on board.

The event was covered by both local and international media outlets, as the six-coach train registered 1307 and with an estimated 600 passengers capacity (100 in each coach), conveyed the commuters in real comfort along the 30.8 kilometers journey.

Some ministers of state, Mayor of Accra, Nii Adjei Sowah, traditional leaders, Black Stars Coach – Kwesi Appiah, security chiefs, were not left out of the historic journey.



There were only two brief stops along the way, the first being the Achimota Station and then the Baatsona Station, with the final destination being Tema Community 1 Station.

One amazing change that has come along with the new service, as observed by DAILY GUIDE, was the remarkable improvement in customer service.

The conductors of the train, both males and females who were smartly dressed in their Ghana Railway branded uniforms, warmly welcomed passengers onboard and even served drinks along the way.

The conductors’ approach to handling passengers was a confirmation of Mr. Ghartey’s pledge to ensure excellent customer service is instituted in the rail sector so that passengers can have reason to make rail their preferred choice of domestic travel.

The interior of the coaches were very neat unlike the previous times.

It would be recalled that the Accra-Tema Train Service was suspended in October 2017, following a derailment that left many passengers injured.

The suspension of the service was to allow the refurbishment of the rail lines.

Mr. Ghartey told journalists on the sidelines of the trip that the revival of the track has equally helped to revamp the Ghana Railway Company, which was on the verge of collapse when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration took office.

He said initially the idea was to have a South African firm partner the Ghana Railway Company in refurbishing the line but upon arrival, the South African firm observed that Ghana Railway Company had all the necessary skills to undertake the project considering level of work it had already done.

He said the Accra-Tema line was rehabilitated solely by Ghanaian workers with the country’s funds.

He stated the re-launch of the service should mark a rebirth of the Ghana Railway Company Limited, saying the sector shall now be sustainably managed.

Before the NPP administration assumed office, the railway sector was virtually non-existent, as many trains were grounded and the tracks destroyed.

But with two years of hard work, the sector seems to be bouncing back, and Mr. Oppong Nkrumah says President Akufo-Addo’s vision of building a robust rail sector remains on course.

Deputy Managing Director of Ghana Railway Company gave DAILY GUIDE a hint that funds have been provided for the rehabilitation of the railway line from Nsawam to Koforidua, which will be completed by the close of the year.

Meanwhile, the State Insurance Company (SIC) has donated GH¢1million to the Ghana Railway Company for the maintenance of the Accra-Tema, as well as the Nsawam-Koforidua lines.

The Tema trip terminated at Community One Railway Station where the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey and other government officials were happily waiting.

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