Audio of this story
Passenger service on the Takoradi to Tarkwa rail lines in the Western Region may be delayed for possibly six weeks.
This is to enable engineers add new variations to accommodate the construction of the new standard gauge line from Kojokrom to Manso as part of the rehabilitation of the Western Rail Line.
The passenger service on the Takoradi to Kojokrom line has been shut down for two weeks to enable engineers Amandi Ghana construct culverts, through which the new standard gauge line runs parallel to the old narrow gauge.
In all, Amandi Ghana is building eight culverts from Kilometer 16 to kilometer 20 on the Takoradi to Tarkwa existing narrow gauge line.
However, consultant to the Western Rail Line Team Engineering hopes to take advantage of the shutdown to continue with the construction of more culverts – where necessary – on the Kojokrom to Tarkwa stretch.
A proposal to that effect has been sent to the Ministry of Railways Development and should that be accepted the reopening date of the passenger service will delay.
Deputy Resident Engineer for Team Engineering Peter Forkah told 3news.com that once the proposal is accepted and work completed there will be minimal or no interruption in the passenger service.
“In some areas where we have the existing narrow gauge running parallel to the standard gauge, we are looking at proposals to explore constructing the standard gauge on the left side of the old track and this means we will have to cross it at some points,” Mr Forkah said.
“Obviously, the passenger service will shut down. So, we think this current shut down presents us the opportunity to look at the proposal and if accepted, we quickly implement it. And when that happens it means we have to extend the shutdown period. We think, this will be the best from an engineering point of view.”
He said the engineers want to do those additional works so that they will avoid the instance of coming back and asking for another favor to shut down the passenger service.
“The initial time of completion was two weeks. But in this new proposal we are asking for between minimum 4 to 6 weeks. So, all together an eight-week period so we can build about 8 to 10 more culverts.”
But he promised that two years ago, four culverts were done within four days.
So, he indicated, after two weeks, the passenger service can be reopened.
General Manager of Amandi Ghana David Benayun explained that they are constructing eight 25 tons culverts from kilometer 16 to Kilometer 20 on the stretch.
He assured his workers are working assiduously to meet the original two weeks’ time.
“We are working here day and night. The dimension of each culvert changes depending on the size and capacity to absorb… Sometimes because of the capacity, we put several sets to each other and we also have several reinforcements. So, the culverts can take more weight. What we are doing is building the culverts to accommodate both the existing and the new lines and so when we finish both the old and new lines can run on the culvert with all the new specifications. In some areas we had existing culverts. But because we could not assure the integrity for the new and special load, we demolished them and constructed new, bigger and much stronger ones.”
Mr. Benayun mentioned that “the 25-ton culvert is very high as usually they go up to 16 and 21 tons… So, the specifications for the culverts are quite good and can maintain the integrity of the tracks for many years. Even when the train is improved and increased, you don’t have to change these culverts and their formation”.
Minister of Railways Joe Ghartey indicated that the new standard gauge line being built is supposed to last for more than 100 years. Therefore, the ministry will consider any expert view to guarantee the integrity of the line.
“The proposals from the consultant are very interesting because they are very cost effective. And also, those proposals lead to us completing the new line in a faster time. But then, it may affect the reopening of the narrow gauge. Amandi is working within the current work plan. But even the first five kilometers there are two places we have problem with compensation. The coal plant and rubber plantation plus few houses after Eshiem. The design that the consultants did was a design that for a lot of time went outside the old right of way. The design increasingly goes through certain towns and so on and this way you may face resistance…But also, you don’t want to delay the whole project by arguing with people about compensation. So, the consultants have given us some interesting alternatives”.
He expressed satisfaction with the progress of work so far especially because it is within schedule.
“The axle load for the culvert is very commendable. The axle load is important because, this line is also a mineral line apart from the passenger service. So, the load on this line is very heavy. What it means is that when they finish the standard gauge, we can get bigger wagons and take on more loads. This way, running the lines will be very cost effective. It will also make the company more money….”
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana