Business News of 2014-08-08

Railway authority to procure 600-seater trains

The Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) has placed an order for two units of diesel trains to operate shuttle services on the yet-to-be rehabilitated western railway line.
The trains will, however, not arrive in the country until rehabilitation and upgrading of the lines, which have suffered intermittent postponements, is completed.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GRDA, Mr Alidu Sadiq, who disclosed this in an interview, added that each of the two trains has six coaches and are capable of containing over 600 passengers at full capacity.
"That's why we would be using them for the shuttle services but as we said, this project forms part of the bigger western line," he said.
A successful importation of the trains and subsequent start of operation on the western line will make them the first of their kind in the country and also make it possible for the western line to operate shuttle services.
Shuttle services are currently run on only the Accra-Tema and Accra-Nsawam lines, both in the Greater Accra Region.
The first class seats in any of these two will cost GH¢2, while that of the ordinary class cost GH¢1, compared to road transport which costs about GH¢5 to travel on a commercial passenger bus from Accra to Nsawam.
As a result, most traders and commuters prefer the train to the cars; hence the authority's decision to replicate the shuttle service on the western line which has suffered series of funding and operational setbacks over the years.
Although Mr Sadiq could not immediately say the exact cost at which the GRDA was procuring the two trains, he said "its very expensive; its more than US$20 million.”
The start of full operation on the western railway line will help provide a comfortable alternative for commuters along the line and the western corridor of the country in general, as well as make it possible for bulk cargo such as raw minerals to be carried from one point to another.
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