Fianarantsoa-Côte Est railway

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Fianarantsoa–Côte Est
An FCE train at Manampatrana.
An FCE train at Manampatrana.
Type Heavy rail
Status Open
Locale Haute Matsiatra / Vatovavy-Fitovinany, Madagascar
Termini Fianarantsoa
Opened 1936
Owner Fianarantsoa–Côte Est
Line length 162.8 km (101.2 mi)
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Maximum incline 3.5%

The Fianarantsoa-Côte Est (FCE) railway is a colonial-built railway in southeast Madagascar that connects the high plateau city of Fianarantsoa to the port-city of Manakara. It is 163 kilometers long and was built by the French between 1926 and 1936 using the forced-labor program SMOTIG. The French used rails and ties taken from Germany as World War I reparations to build the line. Many of the railways still have the date of manufacturing on them dating back to 1893.[1]

This line traverses some of the most threatened habitat in the world.[citation needed] In 2000, back-to-back cyclones caused 280 landslides and 4 major washouts cut service for months until a rehabilitation project was launched with help from USAID, Swiss Railways and others. A study conducted by the Project d'Appui à la Gestion de l'Environnement (PAGE) in 2000 concluded that keeping the train operational helps prevent deforestation to the tune of 97,400 hectares over 20 years.[citation needed] Interviews conducted with villagers during the temporary closure found that they would have no choice but to cut-down their tree-based crops that they shipped to market on the railway and plant rice or cassava instead.[1]

The FCE is currently running, but its aging infrastructure makes it vulnerable to service disruptions caused by broken rails, old rollingstock and landslides caused by cyclones.

The railway crosses the runway of Manakara Airport, one of only three places in the world where a railway crosses a runway at grade.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Freudenberger, Karen. 2003. The Fianarantsoa-East Coast Railroad and its role in eastern forest conservation. The Natural History of Madagascar. Steven M. Goodman and Jonathan P. Benstead (eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Schoonmaker Freudenberger, Karen (2005). The FCE: Fianarantsoa - Côte Est Railway Madagascar: A Traveler's Guide (2nd ed.). Madagascar. 
  • "Reisen in Madagaskar - Eisenbahn" [Travelling in Madagascar - Railway]. Priori website (in German). Priori. Retrieved 9 June 2011.  External link in |work= (help)

External links[edit]

Media related to Rail transport in Madagascar at Wikimedia Commons