There was excitement in Tarkwa in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality of the Western Region on Wednesday when a passenger train arrived in the mining town safely from Takoradi in fulfillment of the government’s promise to rehabilitate rail lines in Tarkwa by December this year.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the residents jubilated when they saw the first passenger train from Takoradi in over 11 years.
According to the authorities at the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL), they were testing the lines before the start of full passenger services.
Confirming the story to DAILY GUIDE in an interview, the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Kennedy Asmah, explained that people were excited to finally see a train in Tarkwa after such a long time.
“In fact the people of Tarkwa were expecting the passenger train in December because the Minister for Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, had promised the people that before Christmas passenger train will move from Takoradi to Tarkwa when he visited Tarkwa some time ago.”
“This government, in its recent budget, allocated a chunk of the nation’s kitty to the rehabilitation of rail line and when you move round Tarkwa you can realize that the lines are being put in proper shape.”
He pointed out that the commencement of train services in Tarkwa would enhance the country’s economy, adding “We give thanks to God and the President for fulfilling this promise, the people are grateful.”
In a bid to revamp the country’s rail sector, Akufo-Addo administration has entered into an agreement with a mining firm, Ghana Manganese Company and Ghana Railway Company Limited, to rehabilitate an important section of the dilapidated Western Rail Lines.
Under the $10 million deal, approximately the 15km Kojokrom to Tarkwa section of the Western Rail Lines would be rehabilitated, and represents freight advance from Ghana Manganese Company to the Ghana Railway Company.
Joe Ghartey, the Minister for Railway Development, at a press conference, recently noted that the Kojokrom to Tarkwa line represents an economically viable and critical part of the 340 km Western Rail Line due to its importance to mining companies, including Ghana Manganese Company Limited.
He noted that $4.9 million out of the amount would cover operational expenditure for the rehabilitation project, while $5.1 million would cater for capital expenditure.
He explained that the $10 million advance payment per the agreement would be deducted from freight fees over a period of years.
Mr. Ghartey disclosed that the Ghana Railways Company Limited has already started the rehabilitation of the line from Tarkwa to Nsuta, where Ghana Manganese is located.
The sector minister disclosed that there has been a drop in quantity of manganese freighted for the Ghana Manganese Company by as much as 30,000 tonnes due to the poor rail line.
Mr Ghartey explained that as a result of the defective rail line, Ghana Manganese has been forced to use the road.
“It is more expensive and also affects the country’s roads, so we want them to come by train.”
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi