The government has secured external funding support for the development of the Western Rail-line from Manso to Huni Valley.
The Ministry was therefore working closely with the contractor to ensure completion of tracks up to Nsuta within 12 months to enable migration of the manganese haulage from narrow gauge onto the standard gauge to enhance efficiency in railways operations.
He explained that the completion of the development on the Western line to link the new bauxite deposit at Nyinahin, support the exploitation of bauxite and facilitate the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Project, was also ongoing.
It was on the theme of Ghana’s Rail transport: challenges and prospects.
The government, he announced was currently upgrading the old Railways workshop to strengthen local capacity for the repairs and maintenance of locomotives, wagons, coaches, and other ancillary railway equipment for 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 on Ghana,” Mr Awewu stressed.
According to him, two out of seven workshops were refurbished by Messrs Rolider Ghana Limited, in 2018 with government funding, adding that, Messers CK Engineering and Construction Limited, was also refurbishing five other workshops.
He said, to ensure that Ghana developed the adequate local capacity to manage and maintain the railway system, the old Railway Central Training Institute at Location Essikado, had 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 Railways master plan to modernize 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, 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.
“The project is currently about 90 per cent and is expected to be fully completed and handed over by the contractor Messrs Amandi Holding Ltd in the first quarter of 2023
These include Kaase to Eduadin (12 km), Eduadi to Obuasi (51 km), Huni Valley to Dunkwa( 75km), Dunkwa through Awaso to Nyinahin( 137km) and Dunkwa to Obuasi(35km).
The Ministry would also get approval to effect a contract with Messrs KEC to use an Indian EXIM Bank credit facility for the development of a standard gauge line from Accra to Achimota through Kotoku to Nsawam to begin the development of the Eastern Rail line, Mr Amewu hinted.
He added, “The new Eastern Line will run from Accra to Kumasi and will serve the Boankra Integrate Logistics Terminal and will also have branch lines from Bosuso to Kyebi and from Achimota to facilitate the haulage of bauxite under the Ghana Integrated Development project.
“There are also plans to develop the Central Railway line to cover areas like Kotoku to Huni Valley, Kumasi to Paga and the Trans -ECOWA Line from Aflao to Elubo and Western line from Gaoso through Nyinahin to Hamile.
Mr Amewu assured that the Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance for the projects to be ready for prospective investors to support.