You are here: HomeNews2019 10 18Article 790864

General News of Friday, 18 October 2019


Railway sector: Ghana’s last standing train in operation

Ghana’s rail sector has been in shambles for a long time now. Successive governments have pledged to revamp the sector and get it working again.

We’ve seen some efforts, particularly by the Akufo-Addo-led government whose commitment to this pledge was re-emphasized with the creation of the Railway Ministry as a stand-alone sector, separate from the Roads Ministry.

Ghana has 947 kilometers of track inherited from the colonial era, with two lines, the western line and the eastern line.

The Western line runs from Takoradi through Kojokrom to Kumasi, while the Eastern line runs from Tema-Accra through Achimota, Nsawam through to Kumasi.
Today, the stretch on the Western line that was used mostly for the haulage of gold, cocoa, timber, manganese, bauxite, is barely working.

On the Eastern corridor, only one of the two trains is currently on the move; the Accra-Tema train.

The Accra-Nsawam train which was a major transport means for most commuters along that route has been put on hold since August 2017.

This, per the ruling government, was to help revamp the rail lines which were deteriorated and posed danger for commuters. The rail lines are almost complete, test runs have begun, but as it stands, there is just one functioning train operating in the entire country.

Admittedly, there are efforts by government to get the railway network working again and www.ghanaweb gives a break down in this piece, of the journey, as far as the modernization of the country’s railway lines is concerned

Before 2019, the Railway sector was combined with a number of others; roads, sea ports and harbours, Roads and highways, all under the umbrella of the Transport Ministry.

In that regard, monies disbursed from the Finance Ministry’s budgetary allocation was shared among all other sectors under the transport Ministry.

With an average of about 4 million dollars to construct a kilometer in terms of construction, the about 68 million dollars from the budget allocated to the entire ministry at the time was not enough to do much.
The coming into effect of the railway ministry headed by Joe Ghartey has seen the sector experience relative amount of growth.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), Mr Richard Diedong Dombo, explaining what is being done by government to improve on Ghana’s rail system, in an interview with JoyNews TV, noted that the current administration is working with the Railway Master Plan.

The plan which was developed in 2013, under the Atta Mills administration has been reviewed and remains a guide for the fulfilment of his Ministry's mandate.

The plan proposes a new railway network of 4,007km with an investment of approximately US$21,507,920. The plan envisages that total rail network will be standard gauge and executed in six phases.

So far, Phase one of the reconstruction of the Western line has been launched; the line from Takoradi Port to Tarkwa.

Mr. Dombo explained that work is currently ongoing by the Ghana Railways Company and it is about 60 to 80 percent complete.

He also noted that residual from the 2017 budget, 20 million dollars was ploughed into the start of the construction of a standard gauge line on the Western line from Kojokrom to Ehyiem.

On the Nsawam line, he noted that work has been completed but is awaiting approval by the regulator, adding that certain areas on the stretch need more fortification, pending funding.

According to him, feasibility studies is currently ongoing for rehabilitation of the Western lines, from Takoradi to Kumasi.

On the Tema-Mpakadan railway line which is 97-kilometers, he indicated that 24 kilometers of tracks have been laid. Challenges however he noted, have been with land acquisition and encroachment.

He was however confident that the contract which began in July 2018, over a 3-year-period, will be completed by June 2020.