Construction of Eastern Rail Line likely to commence by 2019
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, work to construct a Rail Line in the eastern corridors of the country will commence by 2019.
Government announced its commitment to reviving the railway subsector of the country and has begun plans to construct rail lines connecting the central and eastern parts of the country and an ambitious plan of linking the central Rail Line to Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou.
The Eastern Rail Line is from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Bososo to Kyebi established on a Build Operate and Transport basis.
Briefing Parliament on work done so far to bring these intentions into reality, Joe Ghartey, Minister for Railway Development hinted that feasibility studies on the Eastern Rail Line have been advanced by experts and government has requested for proposals from 14 firms that met its evaluation criteria.
Joe Ghartey disclosed government intends to select and negotiate with a successful bidder by October 2018 after which the contract will be submitted to Parliament for perusal and approval.
Subject to Parliament’s approval, the project on the new standard gauge Eastern Rail Line will begin, the Minister said.
“Mr Speaker, the evaluation of the responses to the request for qualification has been completed and 14 firms have been invited to participate in the final stage of the procurement process which is Request for Proposals. The communication for Request for Proposals was issued to the successful bidders on Thursday 12th July 2018 and the deadline for response is August 27th 2018,” he told Parliament as an answer to questions posed by Frank Annoh-Dompre.
He continued, “Mr Speaker, after this, Government shall commence the process of negotiation with the successful bidder. It is intended that the agreement with the successful bidder will be concluded in or before October 2018 and presented to Parliament for approval. Soon, thereafter the construction of the new standard gauge Eastern Rail Line will commence.”
Ghana Railway Company Limited revived
The Railway Development Minister also revealed that the construction and rehabilitation of Railway Lines across the country has revived the Ghana Railway Company Limited.
Joe Ghartey in his response to a question posed by Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP noted that over 300 people have been engaged as workers on permanent basis and about 20 people on temporary basis.
He was optimistic, the Accra-Nsawam Railway service which was suspended after it derailment of an Accra bound Diesel Multiple Unit in October 2017, will be reactivated by Christmas festivities of 2018.
According to the Minister, “The most difficult parts of the rehabilitation is being currently undertaken. Soil stabilisation and formation restoration are being undertaken. Ballast opening is also ongoing. Negotiations with subcontractors who will undertake specialised work such as construction of bridges and culverts and alignment by permanent way specialist is far advanced. Mr Speaker, this has also contributed to the revival of the Ghana Railways Company Limited. 300 young people have been engaged as permanent way workers. The total workforce from Accra to Nsawam is 320. This comprises of 305 permanent way workers and 15 supervisors who are engineers.”