Two new modern trains procured; not 12 – Railway Development Authority clarifies

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The Ghana Railway Development Authority has disclosed that it has procured only two new modern trains instead of 12, as reported in the media.

According to media reports, the state purchased 12 trains for the Ghana Railways Company, which is anticipated to run both long- and short-distance routes. The trains are contemporary diesel-powered manufactured in Poland.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Railway Company, Yaw Owusu, in an interview on Accra-based Citi FM, said, “The trains, which are passenger coaches, will be tested on the Tema-Mpakadan Railway line.”

Mr. Owusu stated that the railway line is approximately 98% finished and ready for commissioning in May.

“For now, we are trying to test a commission at the Tema-Mpakadan line. It’s about 98 percent, Tema port all the way to Mpakadan. To be able to commission and test the line, we have ordered two trains from Poland and not 12 trains. The first one will be shipped somewhere in the middle of February, and expect it to be here realistically in March. The 2nd one will be shipped in May, and it will arrive in August, the summertime,” Yaw Owusu said.

Meanwhile, the president of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, in a Facebook post has raised several questions regarding the train procurement.

Franklin Cudjoe’s concerns encompass a request for details on the anticipated plan or contract of the acquisition, insights into the procurement process for the trains, and clarity on the intended use of the newly acquired trains.

Railway development in Ghana

Due to the heavy traffic on Ghanaian roads, experts have recommended rail transportation as a way to lessen the threat of transportation.

President Akufo-Addo set up the Ministry of Railway Development to spearhead the railway development agenda, indicating that “the development of the railway sector is at the heart of government and it is for this reason that government is mobilizing $2 billion (two billion dollars) for the development of railway infrastructure and services.”

“Government has rehabilitated a section of the narrow-gauge Western line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta to facilitate the haulage of manganese from Nsuta to the Takoradi Port, and also to provide a passenger rail service along the corridor,” President Akufo-Addo said while addressing parliament in March 2021.

According to him, the Government has signed a contract worth five hundred million euros (€500 million) for the construction of a new standard gauge line from Manso to Huni Valley as well as the conversion of the narrow gauge tracks between Takoradi and Sekondi to standard gauge.

He said the project will also include the development of standard gauge tracks from the Takoradi station to the Takoradi Port to ensure efficient and effective access for cargo handling

”The development of the project will result in the construction of one hundred and two (102km) kilometers of rail tracks between the Port of Takoradi and Huni Valley” he added.

However, Ghanaians are yet to reap the full benefits of the sector.