The government has secured funding to support the development of the Western Rail line from Manso to Huni Valley.
The project includes the extension of the standard gauge into the bulk terminal at the Takoradi Port, Mr Peter Amewu, the Minister for Railways Development, has said.
The Ministry is, therefore, working closely with the contractor to ensure the completion of tracks up to Nsuta within 12 months to enable migration of the manganese haulage from the narrow gauge onto the standard gauge to enhance efficiency in railways operations.
Mr Amewu explained that the completion of the development on the Western line to link the new bauxite deposit at Nyinahin to support the exploitation of bauxite and facilitate the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Project is also ongoing.
He said these during the celebration of Rail Transport Observance Day at UMaT’s School of Railways and Infrastructure Development (SRID) at Essikado in Sekondi in the Western Region.
The celebration was on the theme: “Ghana’s Rail Transport: Challenges and Future Prospects.”
The government, Mr Amewu announced, is currently upgrading the old Railways workshop to strengthen local capacity for the repair and maintenance of locomotives, wagons, coaches and other ancillary railway equipment for the delivery of railway services in Ghana.
“The vision is to modernize and equip the facility for it to become a one-stop workshop to serve the railway, mining, petroleum, agricultural and other ancillary industries in Ghana,” Mr Amewu stressed.
According to him, two out of seven workshops were refurbished by Messrs. Rolider Ghana Limited, in 2018 with government funding, adding that, Messrs. CK Engineering and Construction Limited, is also refurbishing five other workshops.
He said to ensure that Ghana developed an adequate local capacity to manage and maintain the railway system, the old Railway Central Training Institute at Location Essikado, since 2021, trained over 600 youthful Ghanaians in engineering degree, diploma and certificate programmes.
Mr Amewu indicated that the school had been upgraded into a degree-awarding institution, the Ministry together with Ghana Railway Company Limited and UMaT, had developed academic programmes to ensure students received practical and hands-on engineering training, to strengthen their capacity.
As part of the Railways master plan to modernise and expand the railway network in the country, he said, the existing narrow gauge of the Western rail line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta sections, since 2017 had been rehabilitated to ensure the efficient haulage of manganese from Nsuta Mines to the Port of Takoradi.
Mr Amewu said the development of a new standard gauge railway network commenced in 2018 for the construction of the 22km Kojokrom to Manso section of the Western line in January 2018.