Rail transport in Morocco

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Main article: ONCF
The Moroccan railway network. (freight and passenger
A TNR in Rabat-Ville station

Rail transport in Morocco is operated by the ONCF.

Main connections[edit]

The main network for passenger-transport consists of a North-South link from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech and this N/S link interconnects with the East-West connection linking Oujda in the East via Fes to Rabat. Major destinatioons currently not (yet) linked by rail are often served by Supratours, a bus company operated by the ONCF.[1]

The most important long-distance train services are:

From: To: (and vice-versa) via / change at: traveltime[2] Number of trains per day[2]
Casablanca Fes - 3h20m 18 x
Casablanca Tangier - 4h45m 8 x
Casablanca Oujda direct or via Fes 10h 3 x
(one of them night-train)
Casablanca Nador direct (1x), via Fes or with transfer in Taourirt 8h30m up to
10h
4 trains/day
of which 2 are night-trains
Marrakech Fes - 7h10m 8 x
Marrakech Tangier via Casablanca Voyageurs 9h30m 6 x
one direct night-train
Tangier Oujda direct link at daytime
night-train change at Sidi Kacem
10h20m (day)
10h35m (night)
one day train, one night-train
Nador Taourirt gives connection to E-W mainline 1h42m 3 x (the direct night-train
to/from Casablanca doesn't stop in Taourirt)
Casablanca Oued Zem - 3h 1 x
Train navette rapide (TNR) at Rabat-Ville station

Night trains[edit]

The ONCF operates special night-trains on the long-distance main-line links. The following routes offer night-trains:

These long-distance trains operate with non-motorized passenger cars that have individual compartments. Second class compartments have two couches opposite each other, each couch offering 4 places. In first-class cars each compartment offers 2 x 3 places and foldable arm-rests divides the places. In 1st class each passenger has a reserved assigned seat.

Each compartment has its own door to the aisle and curtains can be drawn to keep the compartment dark. In the night-trains, passengers in a 2nd class compartment tend to draw the curtains, switch off the lights and close the sliding door, hoping that no passengers will enter their compartment so the existing passengers have more space. In first class each seat is assigned thus there the system doesn't work.

When trains are not busy you can be lucky and have a full couch available per passenger so you can lie down.

Besides these 'normal' compartments (that are also used on day-time trains, the special night-trains also offer sleeper-cars with bedrooms/compartments or couchettes. For a bed or couchette you pay a fixed price, regardless of the route or distance traveled. Beds and couchettes have to be reserved when you buy your ticket.[3]

Bed and couchette-prices Moroccan trains[3]
Type persons Adult Child (up to 12 years old)
(accompanied by an adult)
Bed 1 Dh. 600 Dh. 490
Bed 2 Dh. 450 Dh. 340
Couchette 4 Dh. 350 Dh. 280

Marrakech-Tangier vv[edit]

Every day there is one train on the route Marrakech-Tangier in each direction. On this route the standard 6 or 8 person compartments are available as well as the 4 person couchette-compartments.

timetable: Departure Marrakech at 21:00 with stops at (amongst others) Casablanca Voyageurs (0:45), Rabat-Ville (1:57), Kentira (2:37) and Sidi-Kacem (3:33). Arriving in Tangier at 7:25 hrs.
Departure Tangier at 21:05, Sidi-Kacem (1:30), Kentira (2:35), Rabat (3:15), Casablanca (4:30) and arriving in Marrakech at 08:05 hrs.[3]

Casablanca-Oujda vv[edit]

The time-tables for Oujda trains are:[3]
Deoarture Oudja: 21:00, Taorirt (22:43), Fez (3:00), Kentira (4:30), Rabat (6:15) and arriving at Casablanca-Voyageurs: 07:15 hrs
Deoarture Casablanca-Voyageurs: 21:15, Rabat (22:23), Kentira (22:51), Fez (1:30), Taorirt (5:03), terminating Oujda: 07:00 hrs.
This train is a so-called Hotel train

Casablanca-Nador vv[edit]

Moving engine from one end of train to other end to change direction
Nador-Fes daytrain, Taorirt station

Dept. Nador: 19:43 hrs, Fez (1:00) (change for Tangier) arriving in Casablanca at 06:15 hrs.
Dept. Casablanca: 19:45, Fez (0:15) arriving in Nador at 06:00.

Nador is not start/terminus: trains run from/to nearby Bin Anşār or Nador Port The night-train on this route only offers 2 person sleeping compartments with full beds. No couchettes available.[4]
As the train doesn't go to Taourirt there is no need to change driving-direction and thus no need to move the engine. The day trains all do stop at Taourirt and as the link to Nador is actually before the station of Taourirt (coming from Fes) the direction of travel has to change, including moving the locomotive from one end to the other

Tangier-Nador vv[edit]

Leaving Nador: 17:43 hrs, Fes (23:00) and terminating in Tangier at 07:00
start: Tangier 21:35, Fes (2:30) arrival in Nador at 09:32[4] start/terminus: trains run from/to Bin Anşār or Nador Port

Hotel-train Oujda-Casablanca[edit]

The 21:00 Oujda-Casablanca and 21:15 Casablanca-Oujda train is a so-called Hotel-Train: these trains ONLY offer reserved sleeping places and no 1st and 2nd class seats. This special Hotel Train service started on 29 June 2010[3]

Urban[edit]

Projects[edit]

The national railway-operator ONCF is working on several projects. The largest project is the development of a high-speed railway from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech. Also a (passenger) rail connection between Tangier and Tangier MED, the port on the Mediterranean near Tangier, will give passengers arriving by ferry a connection to the main lines. A train will operate every 2 hours between the port and Tangier city.[5] A freight-line from the Renault factory at Tangier MED is already operational[6]

History[edit]

Railway links to adjacent countries[edit]

  • Algeria, route has been closed since the 1990s. - tracks use same gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
  • Spain: Since 2003 there are studies being done about the creation of a direct link with Spain via a railway tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar. This tunnel will connect the Moroccan rail-infrastructure with the European via Spain.[7] In Tangier the tunnel would connect to the currently-being-built High Speed Line Tangier-Marrakech.
  • Western Sahara: Via the proposed network-extension from Marrakech via Guelmim to El Aaiún would connect Morocco to the Western Sahara. Currently ONCF daughter-company Supratours operate bus-routes from Marrakech to Western-Sahara such as Tan-Tan or Laâyoune.[1] Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of Morocco and thus as national routes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b ONCF website about Supratours bus services, visited 7 July 2012
  2. ^ a b Online Timetable ONCF based on trains for 2 May 2011, (french website) checked 2 May 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e ONCF website information on Trains du Nuit (French), visited 19 July 2011
  4. ^ a b ONCF Website Grand Lignes Nador-Casablanca, Visited 24 June 2012
  5. ^ ONCF Website: Ligne Tangier - PORT Tangier, visited 24 June 2012
  6. ^ ONCF news: First train of cars from the Renault factory at Tangier Med, 6 March 2012; visited 24 June 2012
  7. ^ BBC News: Africa and Europe set for tunnel-link published 13-3-2007, visited 2 May 2011

Further reading[edit]

  • Robinson, Neil (2009). World Rail Atlas and Historical Summary. Volume 7: North, East and Central Africa. Barnsley, UK: World Rail Atlas Ltd. ISBN 978-954-92184-3-5. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Rail transport in Morocco at Wikimedia Commons