Accra-Tema rail services to resume by end of August 2021

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

The Accra-Tema rail line is expected to reopen for passenger services by the end of August 2021, the Minister of Railway Development, Mr Peter John Amewu, has told Parliament.

To that effect, he said the Hydrological Services Department was currently undertaking construction of a concrete drain across the railway track as part of efforts to address the perennial flooding that occurred at Avenor, near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.

He said the top slab on the concrete drain along the route at Avenor had been completed and curing period had started.

“After the completion of the construction, the approaches of the culvert will be filled and the tracks will be laid back to allow for test runs and certification by the Ghana Railway Development Authority before the commencement of shuttle services,” he said.

Urgent questions

Mr Amewu disclosed this when he responded to a question by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, on the floor of Parliament on why trains were not running on the Accra-Tema and Accra-Nsawam rail lines after the state had spent millions of Ghana cedis to rehabilitate these lines.

The MP also sought to know the current status of the Tema-Mpakadan Railway Project.

Response

Responding, Mr Amewu said the track rehabilitation works on the Accra-Tema route were successfully completed, allowing for the resumption of the passenger rail services along the route in January 2019.

Passenger rail services on the Accra-Nsawam route also resumed in January 2020 following successful rehabilitation works, he added.

However, he said subsequent to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana in March, 2020, all passenger rail services across the country were suspended due to the non-adherence to the prescribed safety protocols by passengers.

Accra-Nsawam rail line

He pointed out that culvert construction works were being undertaken across the Accra-Nsawam rail line at Taifa.

He said the culvert would be constructed 14 metres away from the existing trench so that water from the existing drain would not flood and cause delays in the construction works.

He explained that from mobilisation to the completion of the culvert, a period of between 13 to14 weeks would be needed.

“Tentatively, test runs may commence on the line at the end of October 2021, pending subsequent certification by GRDA for the commencement of passenger service between Accra and Nsawam,” he said.

Western rail line

Updating the House on the existing Western railway Line, he said the route from Takoradi to Kumasi, with a branch line from Dunkwa to Awaso, used to be the major route for the transportation of major minerals and other bulk commodities such as manganese, bauxite, cocoa, timber, cement and petroleum product mining equipment.

Unfortunately, he said due to several decades of neglect and underfunding, the section had completely broken down, except for partial freight services on the Takoradi to Nsuta section which was used for the haulage and export of manganese through the Takoradi Port.”

“Mr Speaker, the government has adopted a systematic approach to gradually develop the western railway line in accordance with the railway master plan.

“A 15-km section of the line from Takoradi to Sekondi via Kojokrom has been completed on a dual gauge with capability to be converted from the present narrow gauge into a standard gauge,” he said.

He also indicated that currently work was ongoing on the sections of the western line from Kojokrom to Manso, a distance of 22-km.

Takoradi Port-Huni Valley line

The project, which was being funded by the government, was expected to be completed before the end of the second quarter of 2022.

Furthermore, he said a contract had been signed with Messrs Amandi for the continuation of the construction works from the Takoradi Port to Huni Valley with funding from a loan facility from Deutsche Bank.

The scope of works of the project included the construction of approximately eight kilometres of standard gauge railway tracks connecting the existing dual gauge tracks from Takoradi to the Takoradi Port for easy and efficient access for cargo handling.

Others included the conversion of 10.6-km dual gauge tracks between Takoradi and Kojokrom from narrow gauge to standard gauge, and the construction of a by-pass section along the Kojokrom to Manso section of the western railway line at Eshiem.

Tema Port to Mpakadan

On the Tema Port-Mpakadan line, the minister said the ongoing construction of a new 97.7 km standard gauge railway line along the stretch to connect with the Volta Lake transport system was about 85 per cent complete.

The project, he said, was expected to be fully completed and handed over to the government by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The line includes the construction of a major railway bridge measuring 300 metres across the Volta River between Senchi and Old Akrade which is progressing steadily.

“The project by Messrs. Afcons is being financed under an Indian EXIM Bank credit facility which was approved by this august House,” he said.