Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plans underway to modernise railway system - Hammah

Mr Mike Hammah, Minister for Transport on Tuesday said plans were underway to modernise the railway system to enhance operations of the sector.He said under the plans, a modern signal and telecommunication system would be installed and the existing gauge converted from 1067 millimetres to 1435 millimetres with an increase speed from 56 kilometres per hour to 160 kilometres per hour. Speaking at the Meet-The-Press series in Accra to highlight the projections and challenges of the Ministry, Mr Hammah said the axle load would also be increased from 16 tonnes on the Western Line and 14 tonnes on Eastern and Central Lines to 25 tonnes. He said in the medium to long term, there would be feasibility study for the new sub-urban rail service from Accra to Kasoa, Winneba, Madina and its environs as well as expansion of rail lines to the North and the proposed ECOWAS line.Others are, rehabilitation works on the main lines, detailed designs and construction of the Tema-Akosombo multimodal freight services would also be undertaken. Mr Hammah announced that government had provided two million dollars for intervention on the Western Line to make it operational as part of the immediate to short term plans. He said the Accra-Tema Shuttle Service would be completed and locomotives and rolling stock rehabilitated to ease the traffic congestion in the metropolis.Mr Hammah said poor track infrastructure, obsolete signal and telecommunication system; inadequate and aged rolling stock, high incidence of derailment; and high and ageing labour were challenges facing Ghana's railway sector.Others, he said, included government monthly support for payment of salary, encroachment of railway lands and uncompleted sub-urban railway lines.Mr Hammah said with the exception of partial operations on the Western Line and the sub-urban rail services, the other lines in the Eastern and Central were not operational and stressed the need to rehabilitate them to ensure effective and smooth operations. He said the country's railway network of 947 kilometres, which were mostly single track rail of 1.067 metres (3.6") gauge were located in the Southern part of the country.Mr Hammah said with the exception of the 30-kilometre Takoradi-Manso section, which was double track, the rest of the network were distributed on a single track system and the need for the expansion of the sub-urban railway systems to areas like Dansoman, La, Teshie,

No comments: