The Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) has suspended plans to transport people on the Tema-Accra line free of charge due to encroachment.

GRCL planned to begin the much-touted free ride on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

The company has now set January 19, 2019 as the new date for the test run of the passenger train service on the Tema-Accra Line, which was suspended on October 27, 2017 following derailment of a train at Alajo, a suburb of Accra.

At the time of the derailment, the train was carrying 100 passengers.

But after several months of rehabilitation, GRCL announced late last year that it was going to commence a Tema-Accra shuttle service from 22-31 December.

It revealed that following a successful test run, normal operations were going to commence free of charge from January 2nd to the middle of January 2019.

However, a statement issued by management of GRCL on Tuesday in Accra, said the suspension had been necessitated by encroachment observed at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Avenor and Achimota.

The statement indicated that the Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey and management of GRCL, made the observation when they visited the areas on Monday night to get first-hand information.

According to the statement, “The encroachers ostensibly returned to the lines when GRCL workers went on Christmas break.”

It added that “whilst dealing with the encroachers to make the lines safe, management of GRCL has taken insurance cover for all passengers, who patronize the trains and also put in place mechanisms to ensure maximum passenger safety and comfort.”

Meanwhile, officials at the Ministry of Railways Development have served a final warning to encroachers to vacate the lines.