Monday, June 25, 2007

Ghana Lackawanna

Since we have been in Ghana, we haven't had to stop for trains.

Not that there aren't tracks- there just aren't any trains on them.

The last mention I can find of train travel here is from the 60s, when prices here were still in shillings and pence.

Imagine our surprise when we were out running around and suddenly a guy popped up in traffic lanes waving a red flag.

The guy wasn't too remarkable... since the stoplights are frequently not functioning, police or civilians waving branches of leaves are a normal site on many streets, and parking lot guards use red and green flags to stop traffic and allow people to pull onto streets all the time... but this guy was standing on a set of tracks, far from any parking lots or stoplights and snapping his flag pretty energetically.

Ted stopped the car because we take any excuse to pause and watch just about anything. ;-) The guy in front of us decided to stop too, and slowly everyone crept to a halt just before the tracks.

We looked at each other and craned our necks to try to see down the tracks.

Could it be a train? In Ghana?

We didn't see anything.

And there are new red and white striped steel barrier gates at a lot of level crossings in Accra (although at least one that we pass often
in Dzorwulu has already been smacked hard enough to knock it down), including the one we were sitting at- although no one had bothered to lower either of them (they are hand operated gates, with a big weight on one end to hold them up when not in use).

I got my camera out, just in case something cool happened, and VOILA! Here came a train!

You can see the unused crossing gate sticking up behind the train's leading edge.

Then entire train consisted of two empty passenger cars with one engine pushing them slowly down the tracks in some kind of test.

People were dramatically unexcited.

Except us. We thought it was really cool that a country so desperately in need of more transportation options is working on getting some!

We immediately started picturing ourselves on a train like this, headed up north in the company of lots of people and probably lots of goats and chickens (they ride tro-tros, they will surely ride the trains!).

I really hope they get it organised while we are still here- train travel rocks, and trains through the African countryside- well, how could we resist?