The Ghana Railways Development Authority has handed over a $2 million worth of track maintenance equipment to the Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRCL).
The equipment will enable the Company undertake rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s existing and under-construction rail lines with precision.
Over the years GRCL has been providing human resource in respect of providing train drivers, engineers, station masters, repair of equipment and coaches as well as track maintenance.
In 2017, however, the Authority – who owns the assets being operated by the Ghana Railways Company Limited – expanded their role to include rehabilitation of rail lines.
It contracted the Company to execute the first phase of the rail masterplan of Ghana which was the rehabilitation of old existing rail lines.
With limited equipment, the Company has successfully rehabilitate the Accra to Tema, Accra to Nsawam and Kojokrom to Tarkwa rail lines.
Currently, there is an active passenger service on the Kojokrom to Tarkwa lines.
However, the rehabilitation works were done mainly with rudimentary and unconventional methods including the use of simple tools like pick axe, shovel, hammer and chisel.
But to ensure that the rehabilitated lines are maintained with precision and in line with international best practices, the Authority and its contractor, Amandi Ghana, handed over the modern track maintenance equipment to the Company.
The equipment includes tamping units, traversing trolley, rail and sleeper machines, adjustable wrenches, tractor and motor car with crane, rail road loader among others.
“The Nana Addo administration wants to leave a lasting legacy and the legacy is not just the delivery of rehabilitated old lines, delivery of new standard gauge but more,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Railways Development Authority Richard Dombo.
“It is said that what has bedeviled African countries is the lack of maintenance culture. That, we have identified and will not be our legacy. So to ensure that the good works that we have done so far, to ensure that the new lines that we will be delivering to the country will not fall into disuse or misuse we the Ghana Railways Development Authority through our contractor Amandi have taken delivery of the first tranche of maintenance equipment which comes in many gradings.”
He added that there is a programme to offer proper and continuous training for personnel who will handle the equipment.
“As opposed to the pick axes that the Ghana Railways was using, they will now have this multi-functional single piece of equipment with six different functions each very vital for track maintenance.”
He said the suppliers GEISMAR have sent in engineers and on top of that have trained over twenty of staff of the Authority.
“So, we are ready to go. But we believe that for a lasting effect of this equipment we need proper and continuous training of our personnel. So GEISMAR will be brought back to ensure that they enhance the training further with onsite monitoring.”
Acting Managing Director of the Ghana Railways Company Limited John Essel said that with the equipment they will be able to carry out maintenance of the rehabilitated tracks with confidence and in certainty.
He is particularly elated that the state-of-the-art maintenance equipment will enable them work to reassure patrons of the Takoradi to Tarkwa rail lines that their safety is guaranteed.
“It is true that we did the rehabilitation of the rail lines manually. Only on Monday, February 10, we started taking fares from persons who will patronize the passenger service from Takoradi to Tarkwa and back. Before that we did some trails. Now, we are cautious of the numerous comments that those who patronized the services over the two weeks of the trails said. My happiness is that with this equipment we will now be able to check and improve on whatever work that we have done in the past.
“This is also to assure the public that we will not renege on our efforts to ensure that we have a very good riding quality. We will work assiduously to make the safety of our patrons our topmost priority.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana