Let us make a toast over the soon-to-be- completed Railway Project! There will be no rush hour, no traffic congestion, stress of sleeping in a car to travel long journeys, there will be easy transportation of goods among others because, Railway Transport will soon be back. The country looks very promising.
Ghana used to have a vibrant railway system during the colonial and the immediate years after independence. However, this important transport system has been left to disuse.
The vacuum created by the absence of the railway system has led to many problems on our road infrastructure. As a result of heavy haulage tracks plying daily on our roads, the life span of the roads is shortened as a matter of fact, causing serious and several road accidents.
A typical example is the Awaso Tarkwa-Takoradi road which heavy trucks use in carrying bauxite from Awaso to Takoradi. Apart from the destruction of the roads by the haulage trucks, the safety nature of the roads is also affected due to heavy toll of accidents associated with the long vehicles and heavy trucks plying the roads.
Potholes and bumps are quickly developed on the road because of the intensive use of the roads by these heavy trucks. Roads which should have lasted 25-30 years cannot stand their expected duration in terms of cost benefit analysis; the nation pays more for road repairs.
Motorists who travelled between the major cities of Ghana – Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi – are bedevilled with constraints (stretches of bad roads, heavy traffic congestion, risk of night travel etc.).
The attempt to remedy the situation with the expansion of the road networks in these cities has rarely been effective in reducing traffic congestion.
Railways are important means of transport that come with cheaper costs of operation. Besides providing cost-effective means of transportation, they are capable of carting very large consignments of goods that facilitates domestic and external trade.
The Railway project, which is expected to be completed in 2020 was launched yesterday to begin its operations, including the revamping of the Western, Eastern and Central Railway lines covering a distance of 4,007 kilometres.
The project, would create jobs, facilitate trade and industrial development and stimulate economic growth.
There will be huge employment opportunities for a lot of people both skilled and unskilled workers in rail construction and its related services and facilitate the generation of many more outside the sector.
In the process, new towns and cities would be created and older towns would be revitalised under the ministry’s flagship programme: ‘from-station-to-cities’,
The Western Line, would improve transportation issues, such as transporting manganese from Nsuta to the port of Takoradi upon its completion which would take the burden off the road network and ensure longer lifespans for newly constructed roads.
Having visionary leaders, there is a better future for Ghana because, active rail transport would offer a unique approach to stimulate economic growth in communities in deprived regions of the country.
Farm produce will not rote in various farms because, farmers would have a better way of transporting them to the market.
This is because, the railway sector has also proven to be one of the safest, most comfortable and reliable transport services connecting towns and villages and ensuring positive businesses for economic growth.
The extensive railway development project is a prerequisite for the industrial overhaul that the Government of Ghana seeks to achieve which Ghanaians must support. This project would directly or indirectly reflect in our pockets.
This would transform the country significantly, therefore I write to commend the government for taking a huge step to harness economic development. When we burry our political differences and put the interest of the country first, the development of this country will accelerate and make the country a better place to be.
Editor: Mr. Louis Owusu