President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday inaugurated the 10.4-kilometre revived Accra-Tema sub-urban railway service and called on the managers of the facility to ensure maintenance, safety and quality service.
He stressed that maintenance is very critical to the project.
President Mills said too often well-intentioned projects have been inaugurated with glee only for them to collapse in no time because of lack of maintenance.
President Mills warned that Government would not tolerate any revenue leakage in the running of the line and the service.
The total cost of the project is $37.5 million. It is borne by the Government of Ghana and pre-financed by the contractor, M/S Amandi Investments.
It involves the acquisition of six coach 600 passenger capacity train and the rehabilitation of the railway stretch from Asoprochonaa at Sakumono.
With fanfare, the President, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, traditional rulers, workers of the Ghana Railway Company, citizens and residents of Tema expressed joy at the completion of the project that would largely ease vehicular traffic congestion on roads from Accra to Tema, and make train services available and convenient for commuters.
President Mills also cut the sod for work to begin on the extension of the line, which currently terminates at the Tema Harbour to the Japan Motors factory at Community One.
Before taking a ride in the new train from Tema to Accra, President Mils told the inauguration party that the importance of rail transportation could not be underestimated.
President Mills said rail transport had opened up and developed major economies and Government, as part of its infrastructure expansion programme, is acting to give a new life to the nation’s rail system.
He said his Administration continued with the project which started under the Kufuor Administration and acknowledged that governance is a continuous project, under which one Government continued from where the previous government’s left off.
President Mills underscored the importance of an effective railway system in the national development process.
He said the sub-urban rail service is in concert with the vision of the ruling National Democratic Congress to arrest the decline in the nation’s railway system and set it on course again as beacon of hope for haulage of goods and people in fulfilment of the Better Ghana programme.
“This is just the beginning of a sturdy journey of making our rail transport system an integral part of building a Better Ghana.”
President Mills reiterated the need for hard work, industriousness and commitment to excellence in service delivery.
He expressed the hope that the necessary paper work and due diligence would be done on the Memorandum reached with China during his recent visit to that country for work on the railway sector to begin soon.
Jubilant crowds of people waited and waved at the President and his entourage as the train railed through Asoprochonaa, Batsonaa, Martey Man, Dzorwulu to Achimota.
The train then reversed, and moved through Tesano, Avenor, Neoplan Station and finally stopped at the Kantamanto Station terminal, where the President was given a rousing welcome.
President Mills told the people to forge a united front and have faith in the Government to deliver on its promise of building a Better Ghana.
He said Government would not betray the trust Ghanaians had reposed in it and would always be there for Ghanaians to live up to the expectations for which they were voted into power.