The first railway in what was then the Gold Coast opened in 1903 between the harbour at Takoradi and Tarkwa, a distance of some 70km. Its initial function was the transport of heavy mining equipment for use in the industry that was then opening up around Tarkwa. In common with other British colonies of the time, the gauge chosen was 3ft 6in (1067mm).
Subsequent expansion at the same gauge has led to a reasonably effective network of lines but one that is confined to a relatively small portion of the country, namely the Western, Central, Eastern, Ashanti and Greater Accra regions, giving a present day network of about 953km. Extensions are in hand or proposed The interior of the country has not hitherto been opened up for rail access, but in 2010 a Chinese loan was secured that would permit extension from the present northern terminus of Kumasi to Paga on the border of Burkina Faso, a distance of about 500km. Ultimately there would be a cross border link with the railways of Burkina Faso.
In 2014, a short metre gauge railway was opened from a cement works at Aflao to the border of Togo, connecting with the railways of that country. The line is operated by the Togolese state railway company and there is no link with the Ghanaian network.
In 2015, a 30km line from Sekondi to Takoradi was reopened, having been rebuilt to standard (1435mm) gauge. It will carry regular suburban passenger services. Similar treatment is proposed for the the Accra to Nsawam and Kumasi to Ejisu lines.
In 2016, it was announced that funding had been agreed for a new 85km line from Tema to Akosombo.
Flag image from CIA World Factbook