THE railway system serves a very useful purpose in every growing economy in the transportation of bulky goods to the nearby markets, as well as to the ports, for export at a relatively cheaper cost.
Therefore, the breakdown of the Western railway network has had a great impact not only on the people, especially farmers and the business entities in the Western Region, but also on manufacturing and some mining companies in the region.
The railway system is indisputably the cheapest means of transporting bulky goods and people compared to the road network. It also provides employment for the people.
For instance, the inactivity of the Western Railway Line is a contributory factor to the dying nature of Sekondi and has also affected the people of Essikadu in terms of employment creation.
Sekondi, Essikadu and Takoradi were very lively when operations of the Ghana Railway Company were at their peak.
The region has four branch lines, namely Kojokrom-Sekondi-Takoradi, Tarkwa-Prestea-Huni Valley through Ateiku to Accra and Dunkwa in the Central Region to Awaso.
Western Region is endowed with rich natural resources such as gold, manganese, bauxite, forest products and cash crops such as cocoa.
Besides, the Ghana Cement (GHACEM) has a factory in Takoradi producing cement, while the Takoradi Flour Mills produces flour for the country.
The railway network was used to cart the natural resources, particularly manganese, bauxite and cocoa at a relatively cheaper cost to the Takoradi Port for export.
The manufacturing companies also used the railway system for the distribution of their products to their key distributors in the country at a reduced cost.
As a result of the breakdown of the Western Railway Line, carting natural resources to the port and distribution of the manufactured products have been greatly affected, since the firms have to depend solely on the road network, which is very expensive.
Transportation of the minerals and other products by road as a result of the collapse of the major rail lines has resulted in the roads deteriorating at a very fast rate.
About a month ago, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, paid working visits to some companies in Takoradi, where their managements complained that inactivity of the railway system had affected the distribution and the prices of their products.
They complained that the collapse of the Western Railway Line had affected the cost of doing business, particularly in Kumasi.
The companies use articulated trucks for the distribution of their products and carting of bauxite, manganese and cocoa to the Takoradi Port for export.
The Marketing Manager of GHACEM in Takoradi, Mr Joseph Aboo, said the poor road network between Tarkwa and Bogoso had affected distribution of cement in the area.
He, therefore, called for the reactivation of the Western Railway Line.
The General Manager of the Takoradi Flour Mill, Mr Thierry Loupian, noted that the railway system was the key player in the distribution of flour.
“We were using the railway for our distribution, especially on the Western Railway Line, but since the line is not working, we are forced to use the road,” he explained.
With the exploration of oil and gas, the railway system should be resuscitated to serve its intended purpose, since oil and gas products could be conveyed by the railways at a relatively cheaper cost.