The Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has completed the rehabilitation of five coaches and a narrow-gauge line from Accra to Nsawam and waiting for a pass from the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) to begin commercial operations.
Mr John Essel, Managing Director of the GRCL, who announced this on Tuesday, said he was confident the rehabilitated conventional train was in good shape and ready for commercial operations.
He made this known when Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railways Development inspected the progress of work on the line.
Mr Essel said the GRCL had engaged a team of 300 local workers to work on the project.
The rehabilitation took the GRCL six months to complete, entailing works on the body, spraying, paneling, seating and repair of buggies, among others, of the coaches, as well as the lines.
The coaches have a seating capacity of 93 passengers for the second class and 56 for the first-class.
Mr Essel said GRCL had written to the GRDA, regulators of the railway sector, to assess the work and give them the clearance to operate commercially.
“The train is ready, the line is ready, we are only waiting for our sister company to give us the clearance,” he said.
Touching on safety and security, he said the GRCL had factored enhanced mechanisms to guarantee safety on the tracks.
Mr Ghartey commended the GRCL for a great job done and urged them to continue works on the Accra-Tarkwa railway line, to ensure that it was in operation as soon as possible.
Mr. Ghartey expressed the hope that the GRDA would finish the test run in time to asses if the train was okay for public use.
The Minister said the rehabilitation of the Accra-Nsawam railway line became necessary, following a derailment of an Accra bound Diesel unit, after which the Ministry decided to rehabilitate sections of the Eastern line.
“Tema is the centre of our railway development. What is happening at Tema is that we are rehabilitating some of the old lines and also building new lines,” he said.
Mr. Ghartey said that the new lines to be constructed by government would be standard gauge lines, which were much more modern than the narrow gauge.
Mr Richard Dombo, Chief Executive Officer of the GRDA, said hopefully a test run on the project would be done by the end of the week, adding that, as regulators of the railway sector, the main focus for the test run was to ensure that the train was safe for commercial operations.