The Government of Ghana recently launched its Western Railway Line Project – a visionary effort to bring the nation’s railway infrastructure up to international standards. The project’s critical first phase was entrusted to a major contractor, who was charged with designing and building the suburban railway service infrastructure. A first-of-its-kind project in Ghana, the line will be designed to cater for a 21-ton axle load and speeds of up to 120 km/h, and will include advanced signalling, communication and level crossing controls systems to increase safety and reliability.
Sekondi-Takoradi, a city comprising the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi, is the region’s largest city and an industrial and commercial centre, with a population of almost half a million people. Takoradi is also a port city and has timber, energy, and technology industries which attract a number of foreign vessels. In addition, a large number of mining investors are drawn to the area as the city is close to the mining towns in the western part of Ghana. “It is clear from the demographics that a total revamp of the line was necessary,” says Turnstar Director Craig Sacks.
On completion of the project, the contractor will have built and redeveloped 30 km of railway line, nine railway stations and halts, and will have commissioned two new diesel multiple-unit train sets. State-of-the-art station facilities will include turnstile gates, CCTV, passenger information systems, shopping, and parking facilities, all with ample consideration of disabled passengers.
South African company Turnstar, Africa’s largest manufacturer of secure physical access control products, is supplying a number of products for the Takoradi and Butuah railway stations, situated approximately 8 km apart on the railway line.
Sacks says that the company has an established footprint in Ghana, with installations in office blocks, banks, universities, public buildings and health clubs. “The award of the current contract by the contractor underlines the quality offering we provide to sites located distances of over 8 000 km away from our head office in Johannesburg.”
The contract involves the supply of 18 streamline waist height single turnstiles with granite top covers; nine customised stainless steel and glass turnstile screens; nine semi-automatic special needs gates fitted with break glass units for wheelchair access; as well as 11 stainless steel and glass security barriers.
Sacks explains that control of passengers and Ghana Railway Company employees into and out of the stations is of primary concern to ensure a smooth and unhindered flow of pedestrian traffic. The company required a robust access control solution in an aesthetically pleasing package. The Streamline, which is supplied with a fit-and-forget five-year guarantee offers the perfect solution.
There was a requirement for an access control product that took the needs of wheelchair users and pedestrians pushing baby pushchairs and prams into account. The 180° semi-automatic special needs gates are triggered either by means of a pushbutton, remote control or access control reader, allowing the gate to be pushed or pulled open. After the person passes through the gate, it automatically closes and relocks.
All products supplied by Turnstar are manufactured in stainless steel to mitigate the corrosion caused by proximity to the ocean. “The installation of Turnstar physical access control products at these high profile railway stations is a feather in our cap and hopefully the start of a long-term relationship with the Ghana Railway Company,” Sacks concludes.