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Railway Transport is Back
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General News of Saturday, 30 October 2010

Source: Dailypost

Railway Transport is Back

By Emmanuel Gbedemah & Edem Seshie

The President of Ghana, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Attah-Mills, yesterday
commissioned the Tema-Accra railway network and also performed a sod cutting
ceremony for the extension of the railway line from the Tema Railway Station to
Japan Motors in Community One as part of his administration’s effort to revamp the
railway sector as entrenched in his BETTER GHANA agenda.
Speaking to a cross section of Ghanaians including Ministers of State, Traditional
rulers, the Chinese Ambassador, members of the Diplomatic Corps, railway workers and
some residents of Tema at the Tema Railway Station, the President noted that it was
not good on the part of the nation that the railway sector was abandoned stating
that it is wrong to underestimate the contribution the rail transport can add to the
development of the economy.
He added that it was in this light that his administration is determined to arrest
the decline of the railway system in Ghana and set it on course to regain its status
and one of the platforms through which the BETTER GHANA will be realized for all
Ghanaians.
“This is just the beginning of a sturdy journey to make our rail transport system an
integral part of building a Better Ghana and I can assure you that this is the first
step of a journey that would bring enormous joy and relief to Ghanaians countrywide”
he said.

He was optimistic that the train service, with the introduction of the newly
acquired Diesel Multiple Units trains, would improve travel time between Tema and
Accra and reduce the inconvenience commuters go through everyday.
The President also recalled his recent visit to China, stating that he was hopeful
that all agreements signed would be worked on with speed and due diligence to enable
work begin as soon as possible.
The President called on Management and staff of the Ghana Railway Authority to
devote themselves to duty and also apply themselves to their various roles to ensure
safety and quality of service. He also encouraged commuters to take full advantage
of the system to save commuting time and money.
The Minister of Transport, Hon. Mike Hammah, on his part, stated government’s
commitment towards the rehabilitation of the railway tracks at the Western corridor
of the country with an amount of $2 million released on the President’s directives
to ensure that the haulage of bauxite and other minerals which are the chief support
of the country’s rail services, did not grind to a halt or collapse completely.
Hon. Hammah also said the government intends to extend the commuter train services
to densely populated areas such as Dansoman and Kasoa as well as Winneba at the
Western corridor and Dodowa to the east.
“Let me reinstate the commitment of the Ministry of Transport and for that matter
government to revive the railway industry and to empower Ghana Railways to operate
as a viable and competitive transport operator.”
Workers of the Ghana Railway Authority who were excited at the government’s
commitment to revamping the railway sector cheered the President on his arrival and
throughout the ceremony.
Holding placards with inscriptions such as “Support Atta-Mills for a Better Ghana”
and “Atta Mills is the best in the world”, they sung the praises of the President,
promising not to betray the confidence he has in them to help make the railways
sector a competitive one.
Ironically, while the President was inaugurating the railway lines, NPP fanatics
were shouting themselces hoarse on the airwaves of radio stations trying to claim
credit for the success the Mills administration had chalked in this sector.
Hon. Ameyaw Ekumfi, Minister for Ports, Harbours and Railways in the Kufuor
government who should be telling Ghanaians how he and government spent the $89.3
million earmarked for the railways sector from the $750 million eurobonds government
accessed in 2007 was heard saying on radio that the Kufuor government did 80 % of
the job that went into President Mills inaugurating the Accra-Tema railway lines.

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