History of rail transport in Morocco
Rail transport in Morocco was initially developed in the colonial era. It functioned primarily as a means to mobilize colonial troops and to transport natural resources. Later, a standard gauge network was built.
- 1 First narrow gauge lines
- 2 Railways in former Spanish Morocco
- 3 Standard gauge railways
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
First narrow gauge lines
First 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) line
The first short narrow gauge railway in Morocco was a short, 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) narrow gauge line presented to the Sultan of Morocco in 1887 by the Belgian Government to connect his palace with his Jardin l'Agdal de Meknes. With railway came two coaches and one steam locomotive (Krauss 1744 / 1887 Ct-n2 ) delivered via F. Weidknecht, Paris. This move was done to improve the Belgian trade possibilities with the Sultan with hope to build railways in Morocco.
Narrow gauge railways in former French Morocco
The first French-built narrow gauge railway line in French Morocco was completed in 1908 with 500 mm (19 3⁄4 in) minimum gauge track, which was later converted to 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) narrow gauge track. More lines utilizing 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge track followed. Beginning in 1912 and ending in 1935, French Morocco had one of the largest 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge networks in Africa with a total length of more than 1700 kilometres. After the treaty of Algeciras where the representatives of Great Powers agreed not to build any 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge railway in Morocco until the standard gauge Tangier - Fes Railway being completed, the French begun to build military 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge lines in their part of Morocco.
The 948 km Marrakech - Casablanca - Kenitra - Fes - Oujda line became known as Chemins de fer strategiques du Maroc and the branch lines diverting from the line as Chemins de fer de penetration du Maroc. These lines were mostly built - with exception of Guercif - Outat Oulad el Hadj - Midelt, which was started in 1916 and completed in 1920 - during the period of 1921 - 1925.
Railways in former Spanish Morocco
An Iberic gauge railway was also constructed from Tetuan to Ceuta in 1913-1918 by CEC (Compañía Española de Colonización). It was handed over to the state-run FCM (Ferrocarrilles de Marruecos) in 1942 and closed in the aftermath of the Moroccan independence (1956).
Standard gauge railways
Railways of Morocco
Railways of Morocco (French Compagnie des chemins de fer du Maroc (CFM) ) was established in 1920 and built two railway lines:
- Casablanca to Kenitra and Sidi Kacem, completed in 1925
- Casablanca to Marrakech railway, completed in 1936.
Franco-Spanish company of Tanger-Fès
From 1919 the Franco-Spanish company of Tanger-Fès (French: Compagnie Franco-espagnole du Tanger-Fès (TF) ) started construction of the 315 km Tangier - Fes railway, out of which 18 km were in the International zone of Tangier, 93 km in the Spanish zone and 204 km in the French zone. The railway was finished in 1927.
Railway of Eastern Morocco
The Mediterranean-Niger-Railway (French: Chemins de Fer de la Méditerranée au Niger (MN) ) was built between the coal mining region near Bou Arfa in the east of Morocco and the Algerian rail system at Oujda, completed as standard gauge route between Gran and Oujda in 1922, while Fes was reached in 1934.
- Reference - Durrant, A.E., A.A. Jorgensen, C.P. Lewis. Steam in Africa, London, 1981, Hamlyn.
- Railfan Europe Railway Operators in Morocco