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My 2 day trip with the Train

By Mutala Yakubu
My 2 day trip with the Train
My 2 day trip with the Train

On the 30th of January 2019, I decided to board the train from Accra Central to Tema Community 1.

It was actually my first time boarding one so I had great expectations and was overjoyed by the experience of using one to get to my home at Afienya.

It is was free so it was a morale booster for me to see how it works.

I got to the station at 4:45pm since I had no idea of the schedule of the journey.

But I knew I will be able to get that information when I get to the Accra Central Railway station.

Upon reaching the station which is just a stone throw from my workplace I was stunned and shocked when I saw the state of the station and its surroundings.

I was hit hard in the chest by the amount of filth and stature of the environment.

The whole place was smelling bad. Oh my God, come take a look at the squatters and the conditions in which they lived in.

I asked myself if they are all Ghanaians. This was not a ghetto, this was a disaster which should be attended to as quickly as possible.

I wondered if there was a station officer there because right at where passengers are to sit were covered with smokers whom I presume to be squatters.

Sitting right on the seats, smoking and chatting. This left all the passengers standing away from the seats and the shelter of the station.

On the train

The trained delayed for 2 mins which is practically not bad.

I got the chance to witness a guy interacting with one young girl who confirmed she was 14 years but had a baby at her back.

Then jokingly the guy asked if the kid was hers and she said yes with joy.

Which prompted him to ask further questions. She confirmed she has 2 kids. She had 1 when she was 13 and now another at 14.

This is the life of some of the squatters who had taken over the railway station.

Getting on the train which was actually full surprisingly, I got the chance to get hold of a strap directed to me by one of the attendants on the train.

The heat emanating from the congested people got me very uncomfortable but hey am already in.

The attendants answering a lot of questions from the passengers which they did with great pleasure put a smile on my face.

As I was standing and they train took off it felt very calm which I least expected and I could hardly hear the sound "kocha-kocha" that my parents described to me with joy.

Upon reaching Achimota where the train had to halt a while before making the turn.

Passengers got off which left empty seats then I got to sit. It was a smooth ride way through and we had to make some halts in between the various stations.  We arrived safely at 7:30 pm.

On the 31st of January, 2019 I decided to board the train again from Tema to Accra Central because I really did not see much during the first trip.

The train left at 5:57 am earlier than I thought, however, I arrived 20mins earlier but was concerned about those who were running when they arrived between 5:58 and 5:59.

It was very early and entering I felt at home since not much people were in and everything looked well placed and nice.

I really need to commend the courtesy of the attendants and the beautiful uniforms they wore because it was spot on.

I would really like to wear that uniform.  The second day experience was much more exciting so I started looking around.

The fans in the train were working properly but very rusted and old. The windows were very old. Some of the glasses were cracked, some were opaque. You could hardly see through it. The nuts on the strap were rusted. I fear it could tear and the windows were definitely not safe to lean on.

All along enroute to Accra as I kept watching through the windows hypothetically defines what mess we have made in the country.

Filth, Squatters and bad odour from chocked gutters and refuse dumps will greet you all the way through to Accra Central.

This is so bad, I pray we don't allow visitors to take the train because it is a great shame as a country. If this is not taken care of then there is no need commending the train service because it serves as nothing.

Unfortunately for me, I was wearing a white shirt and because of the dust from the surroundings of the railway, my white shirt got dirty. It is not a good sign for our health either. We arrived safely at 7:25.

What are our Engineers doing that they cannot replace or refurbish some of the old and rusty parts of the train?. I plead on behalf of the public that if they want to run this service, they should run it for the betterment of the people. 

Yes, it's going to reduce traffic, it will save time, it will save cost but then it should be attractive and safe. If the fare has to be around 4 cedi to take care of the surroundings and sustainment of the train service, customers will pay. For now it does not deserve to be paid any greater than 3 cedis. Let's do it and do it well and sustain it.

Read also: Accra-Tema Railway: Free train ride commences from Jan 22

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