Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway
|Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway|
Map showing the new standard gauge line.
|Status||In trial service|
Port of Doraleh, Djibouti
|Opened||5 October 2016
10 January 2017 (Djibouti)
|Operator(s)||Ethiopian Railway Corporation
Société Djiboutienne De Chemin De Fer
|Line length||756 km (470 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||Overhead line 25 kV AC|
|Operating speed||160 km/h (99 mph)|
|Highest elevation||2,356 m (7,730 ft)|
The Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway is a standard gauge international railway that opened in 2017 and links Addis Ababa in Ethiopia with the Port of Doraleh near Djibouti city on the Gulf of Aden, providing landlocked Ethiopia with railroad access to the sea. Trial service began in October 2016, and regular services are expected to begin in 2017. The railway replaces the abandoned Ethio-Djibouti Railway that was originally built by the French between 1894 and 1917.
More than 95% of Ethiopia's trade passes through Djibouti, accounting for 70% of the activity at the Port of Djibouti. The railway has reduced cargo transit times from three days by road to twelve hours by train.
The new line was built between 2011 and 2016 by the two Chinese state-owned enterprises, China Railway Group (known as CREC for China Railway Engineering Corporation) and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. The same two companies also manage the operations of the railway, providing passenger, freight and maintenance services, through a joint company headquartered in Addis Ababa. A joint railway commission established by the Ethiopian and Djibouti governments will negotiate any remaining details about the joint company's operations. The fee that the joint company will earn has not revealed when the agreement was made in September 2016.
Loans to build the rail line were provided to the Ethiopian and Djibouti governments by the Exim Bank of China, the China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. It cost approximately US$4 billion to build.
For most of its length, the railway runs parallel to the abandoned metre-gauge Ethio–Djibouti Railway. However, the standard-gauge railway is built on a new, straighter right-of-way that allows for much higher speeds. New stations have been built outside city centres, and the old stations have been decommissioned.
The railway begins in Sebeta (2,356 metres (7,730 ft) above sea level), just outside of Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian capital is served by two stations located in the outskirts of the city, at Furi-Labu and Kaliti. Both stations are at a distance of about 10 km from the Southern end of the Addis Ababa Light Rail, which gives access to the city centre.
Departing the Ethiopian capital, the line skirts Mount Furi in a wide curve before turning east. At Bishoftu, it crosses over the Addis Ababa–Adama Expressway for the first time. The line then runs southeast alongside the expressway until reaching Adama, where it turns northeast towards Dire Dawa. At Awash, there is a junction with the Mek'ele–Awash Railway, which is still under construction as of 2016.
After passing Dire Dawa, the railway heads directly for Djibouti. Crossing the border between Dewele and Ali Sabieh, it reaches the Djibouti passenger terminal at Nagad railway station, near Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport. Freight trains continue to the Port of Doraleh on diesel power.
As the Ethio–Djibouti Railway deteriorated through lack of maintenance, Ethiopia lost railroad access to the sea. The existing metre-gauge railway had been originally built by the French between 1894 and 1917; it had all the deficiencies of a colonial-era railway, with steep gradients and tight curves. Since China was financing the construction of a standard gauge railway network in East Africa, Ethiopia and Djibouti chose to abandon the metre-gauge railway and build a new standard gauge link.
In 2011, the Ethiopian Railway Corporation awarded contracts to two Chinese state-owned companies for the construction of a new standard gauge railway from Addis Ababa to the Djibouti border. The 320 kilometres (200 mi) stretch from Sebeta to Mieso was awarded to the China Railway Group, and the 339 km section from Mieso to the Djibouti border was awarded to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. In 2012, Djibouti selected the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to complete the final 100 km to the port of Djibouti.
In 2013, loans totalling US$3 billion were secured from the Exim Bank of China, with US$2.4 billion going to the Ethiopian section of the railway and the balance to be spent in Djibouti. The total costs of the railway amounted to US$1.873 billion for the Sebeta-Mieso section, US$1.12 billion for the Mieso–Dewele section and US$525 million for the Dewele–Doraleh section.
Twenty thousand Ethiopians and 5,000 Djiboutians were hired for construction work. Track-laying was completed on the Mieso–Djibouti segment of the project in June 2015. Although construction was still in progress on other sections, the completed portion of the railway was put into emergency operation in November 2015 to carry grain to drought-stricken Ethiopia. Farmers in Ethiopia had suffered crop failures of between 50% and 90%, and the port of Djibouti was backed up with ships waiting to unload grain.
The completed Ethiopian section was formally inaugurated on 5 October 2016 in the new Furi-Labu railway station in Addis Ababa, by the presidents of Ethiopia and Djibouti. The two primary contractors have formed a consortium to operate the railway for the first 3–5 years, while local personnel are trained. On 10 January 2017, the 100 km section of Djibouti side was inaugurated in a ceremony held in the new Nagad railway station by Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, and the director general of the International Union of Railways (UIC), Jean-Pierre Loubinoux.
The Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway was built to the Chinese National Railway Class 2 Standard.
- Gauge: Standard gauge
- Couplers: Janney AAR
- Brakes: Air
- Electrification: Overhead catenary 25 kV AC
- Maximum speed (passenger): 160 km/h (99 mph)
- Maximum speed (freight): 120 km/h (75 mph)
- Maximum train load (freight): 3,000 tonnes (3,000 long tons; 3,300 short tons) gross
- Minimum railway curve radius: 1,200 m (3,900 ft) (800 m or 2,600 ft at difficult locations)
- Normal gradient: ≤0.6%
- Ruling gradient: <2.0%
- Trains run on the: Left
- Train protection system: ETCS-2 SIL4
The railway is powered by overhead catenary at 25 kV AC. Electrification ends after the Djibouti–Nagad passenger station. To avoid interfering with cranes at the port, freight trains switch to Diesel power between Nagad and the Port of Doraleh.
Power is transmitted at 230 kV and 130 kV to eight substations. Traction power is supplied at 40 km intervals, with 17 stations in Ethiopia and three in Djibouti.
|HXD1C electric locomotive||35||CSR Zhuzhou||—|||
|Diesel locomotives||3||CNR Dalian||—|||
To meet modern railway standards, braking performance has been improved. As temperatures and solar radiation in the area can vary greatly between night and day and from high mountain to the sea, in order to prevent aging caused by thermal shock and by high ultraviolet light in the plateau environment, all components — rubber, cables and others — have been specifically designed, using laminated glass for blocking more than 90% of UV penetration.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway.|
- East African Railway Master Plan, railway network planned to be linked with this line.
- Railway stations in Ethiopia
- Tanzania Zambia Railway, another Chinese-built railway in Africa.
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This line, whose building started several months ago, runs parallel to the abandoned Imperial Railway Company of Ethiopia track built between 1894 and 1917.
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Ethiopia and Djibouti's economies are reliant on each other with about 70 percent of all trade through Djibouti's port coming from its land-locked neighbour.
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CCECC and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) have won tenders for other sections of the 656-kilometre build. Those companies have brokered loans for Ethiopia from China's EXIM Bank, Development Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Getachew said.
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But he said that if the old train ceases to operate, it will be a great loss for Ethiopia and for Dire Dawa, the commercial town in northeastern Ethiopia where the main train station and workshops were headquartered. The new station is slated to be built just outside Dire Dawa, a town renowned for its French atmosphere. "Dire Dawa will suffer," said Josef, who is now the director of the French cultural centre in the city. The train station -- known locally as "la gare" -- and the workshops still stand, unused for years.
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The Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Mieso railway project covers a total length of 329.145 km. The Ababa-Adama section is a double track with 114.73 km length while the Adama-Mieso is a single track covering 214.145 km.
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According to the results of the rehabilitation pre-feasibility study, sections of the railway are laid at steep gradients and have curvatures that require modification in order to use upgraded locomotives at full capacity.
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The Ethiopian Railway Corporation and the China Railway Group Limited (CREC) on Tuesday signed an accord that enables the latter to construct railways that runs from Sebeta town, some 25 km away from Addis Ababa up to Mieso town in the east of Addis Ababa. The total distance of the railway project covers some 320 kms, according to the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC).
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China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation (CCECC) signed an agreement on Friday for the construction of the second half of the new Ethiopian – Djibouti rail route. ... The cost of the project is estimated about 1.12 Billion USD – about 3.3 million USD per kilometre.
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The government has awarded China Railway Construction Corp a contract to build its 100 km section of the new standard gauge railway which will replace the out-of-use metre-gauge line from the coast to Addis Abeba in Ethiopia. Announcing the US $505m contract covering the Djibouti section of the route on February 15, CRCC said work was expected to take 60 months. The contractor will arrange Chinese financial support for the project.
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The Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) and the Djibouti government have secured nearly three billion dollars loan from the Chinese Export Import (EXIM) Bank for the construction of the railway project that stretches from Addis Ababa to Djibouti.
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