Months after a shutdown of the Accra to Tema railway line, operations yesterday commenced with the train embarking on its first test run.
The 6 carriage train which has the capacity to carry 600 passengers will for the next 2 weeks offer free rides to passengers.
Speaking to Journalists, Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Railway Company Limited, Dr. Michael Adjei Anyatei assured passengers of safer rides.
“The resumption of the train to commute people from Accra to Tema is a bold step in decongesting the city by providing safer and cheaper means for people who come in and out of the city. As you know, the city has a resident population of about 1.9 million but during the day the number goes to about 4 million.”
He said the number goes up largely because Accra is the hub of business and a lot of companies have their head offices in Accra “so everybody moves to the city centre early in the morning and leave by evening.”
“So providing a better alternative means of coming into the city it will be a better way of decongesting the roads and making the roads much safer,” he added.
The Railway Company postponed the free rides early on in January 2019 to take care of some repair works on the tracks.
The company also said the postponement was due to the activities of squatters along the tracks.
Earlier, the Railway Development Minister Joe Ghartey expressed relief and excitement at the progress the sector is making under his leadership.
He said, the sector had taken off and Ghanaians were going to see massive development in the coming days.
Speaking at the relaunch of the Accra-Tema motorway lines, the Essikado MP said most of the work seen was done by the railway workers themselves.
“Our own people put the rail line together all by themselves. This is not to say we do not need help but I am happy to say our men did this. The Accra Tema rail was not operating when we took over office. There was some derailment some time back and that was why we had to close the railway. By God’s Grace, we’ve done a bit of work and the fruits are showing. The rail sector is a difficult one if you ask me,” he made these observations yesterday on Starr FM.
For her part, also on Starr FM, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister Elizabeth Sackey said the improvement in the railway sector would help improve living conditions in the capital.
“Ghana is at a spot where the green light is on and we have to move. It is time for change in Ghana and that is what we have been experiencing. If the railway system is working very well, movement will be much easier. The revival of the Accra-Tema Railway line reminds me of the late 50s when the train system was working very well in Ghana”, she said.
The government of Ghana and South African have reached an agreement that will see South Africa assisting Ghana in her strategic railway development agenda.
The technical corporation agreement essentially will have South Africa providing technical support to Ghana for the purpose of developing the country’s railway network and existing railway infrastructure.
In a press briefing at the Jubilee Lounge of the Kotoka International Airport upon arrival from South Africa with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo after his three-day state visit to Johannesburg, the Minister said South Africa had a fairly developed railway network in her major cities such as Johannesburg and their assistance to Ghana to develop its railway transportation system was a welcomed development.
He added that an agreement was also to be signed between Transnet SOC Limited, South Africa’s state-owned railway company and Ghana’s Railway Company Limited.
The agreement will see the rehabilitation of portions of the existing railway network in the country, possible construction of new railway tracks, the supply of rolling stock such as locomotives, coaches, power vans and other vehicles used for railway, the assembly and manufacture of rolling stock and other railway machinery in Ghana, capacity building, analysis and management of railway transport and several other areas of mutual interest.