The Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRCL) yesterday began a three-day free passenger service on the Takoradi to Tarkwa rail line for the first time since 2007.
The free passenger service follows successful completion of rehabilitation works on the Takoradi to Tarkwa rail lines as part of government’s agenda to rehabilitate the Western rail line.
Commercial service of the rail line from Takoradi-Takoradi will begin on February 5, 2020.
As at about 6:30am Tuesday, five set of coaches and a locomotive with the capacity f 80 passengers set off from the Takoradi Train Station to Tarkwa. Individuals and some residents of Sekondi-Takoradi who joined the train in the morning were excited.
James Otoo, in an interview with the B&FT, mentioned that “At long last the train is back; this will help us in our journey from Takoradi to Tarkwa since there is always traffic on the road”.
Madam Elizabeth Jackson, a trader heaved a sigh of relief as she entered the train. “Business is going to be exciting. I am going to sell my smoked fish and then be back before 5pm.”
She added that rail transport is cheaper and safer; it is just two hours from Takoradi to Tarkwa.
Dr. Ing. Michael Anyetei, Deputy Managing Director of Ghana Railway Company, said it is not surprising that the experience on the Kojokrom to Takoradi line is different.
“This track was constructed during the colonial days. What we did here is entirely different from the Takoradi to Kojokrom lines. For Kojokrom to Tarkwa, it is the old tracks that we rehabilitated.
“What is happening is that we have a team of engineers onboard who are taking notice of all the areas that you experienced, the small challenges, and that those areas will be fortified,” he said.
Mr. Joe Ghartey, Minister for Railway Development, told B&FT that in 2017 government decided that it would use a twin approach to rehabilitate the narrow gauge and standard gauge
“The development of the new standard gauge was with specifications from the African countries around us, and this has been on-going,” he said.
He expressed optimism that within two years Ghana Railway Company can construct the rail lines.
“I am happy this line is back to use for the passengers; the confidence that the president and myself have imposed in this sector is huge. I am satisfied with the work that Amandi is doing, and we are extremely pleased with the work that is going on.” he added.