Map of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway line
|Other name(s)||Franco-Ethiopian Railway|
|Opened||First commercial service in 1901, completed in 1917|
|Superceded by||Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway|
|Line length||784 km (487 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge|
The Ethio-Djibouti Railway or Ethio-Djibouti Railways (French: Chemin de Fer Djibouto-Éthiopien (C.D.E.), known from 1897 to 1908 as the Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de Fer Éthiopiens (C.I.E.), and from 1908 to 1981 as the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Franco-Éthiopien (CFE)), is both a railway company and an international metre gauge railway based in the Horn of Africa. It was built in 1894–1917 to connect the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to the French colonial port city of Djibouti. After serving Ethiopia's transport needs for over a century, the non-electrified railway fell into a state of disrepair. It was then progressively abandoned in Central Ethiopia and in Djibouti.
In Eastern Ethiopia the metre gauge railway saw some rehabilitation and is still operating in 2018 at regional level after being officially superceded by the new Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway at the national level. A combined passenger and freight service runs two times a week to train stations between the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa and the border to Djibouti at Dewele (passengers) and Guelile (freight). Further plans to rehabilitate more sections of the railway to support the regional economy have been announced in 2018.
- 1 The Ethio-Djibouti Railway
- 2 The Ethio-Djibouti Railways Enterprise
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The Ethio-Djibouti Railway
The Ethio-Djibouti Railway is a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge railway built in 1897–1917. The line connected the new Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa (1886) to the Port of Djibouti in French Somaliland, providing landlocked and isolated Ethiopia with railway access to the sea. The railway is single track and stretched 784 km, of which about 100 km lay in Djibouti. While it was a colonial railway in Djibouti, it was a railway of the independent Ethiopian Empire in Ethiopia.
The railway was the first, and for a long time the most important, industrial enterprise of Ethiopia. It trained many technicians, workers, engineers and managers, who then participated in the development and industrialization of the country. it helped keeping the Ethiopian Empire independent and sovereign.
Railway construction started in 1897 just one year after the decisive Battle of Adwa, which defeated Italian colonialism and saved Ethiopian sovereignty. Prior to the construction of the railway, the travelling time from the coast to Addis Ababa amounted to six weeks by camel & mule caravans. The Ethio-Djibouti Railways changed that and made parts of the Ethiopian Empire more accessible from the outside and made it more competitive economically and militarily. This role of the railway held until the 1950ies, when road transport for the first time became competitive.
Originally, the railway was very French-dominated, it was much like a French exclave in Ethiopia. In 1909, the railway was nationalized in Ethiopia. The role Ethiopians played for the railway operation grew over decades and after 1959, Ethiopians took over almost all roles. Towns like Djibouti City and Dire Dawa but also Mieso benefitted greatly and expanded heavily. The railway became a national symbol with Ethiopian experts and staff and a source of Ethiopian pride. Irrespective the ethnicity, the "Ethiopian" stance was present all along the railway, the larger towns along the railway were often ethnically mixed but peaceful – and the common language of the employees was always French.
Locomotives and railcars
The rolling stock consisted of railcars and locomotives for passenger service and also locomotives for the mixed transport of goods and persons. Before 1950, the almost only source of traction was with steam-powered engines. A first diesel-powered railcar was ordered in 1938 (Fiat "Littorina" series) and from 1950 on, all ordered self-propelled units were Diesel-powered. The steam locomotives were taken out of operation some time after. Until 1951, the main supplier of heavy locomotives was Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works (SLM), in particular steam locomotives but also the first generation of diesel-powered locomotives. SLM was selected, as it was well known for the performance of its steam locomotives in mountainous areas. With 1954, the main provider of diesel-powered locomotives became Alsthom.
The four main series of locomotives were (i.) the steam-powered SLM locomotives 1-9 and 21-33 (from 1898 until the early 1950ies), (ii.) the Diesel-powered SLM M-series (from 1950 until around 1990), (iii.) the Diesel-powered Alsthom BB-series (from 1954 to the present) and (iv.) to a lesser extent the diesel-electric railcars (like the Soulé railcars, from 1964 to the present). The mentioned locomotives (except the railcars) were designed to provide traction to both passenger and freight trains.
Passenger cars came as 1st, 2nd with luxurious salon-sleepers and couchettes for overnight services in the first two classes and 3rd class coaches, the latter in part wooden. Much faster was the journey by 3rd class railcars, running on daylight only, which sometimes allowed a speed of up to 85 km/h. Passenger rail services were often mixed with freight services, those trains, often running overnight, were quite slow. After 1974 – due to political reasons - only the 3rd class coaches and railcars were retained on the railway.
A special train was the imperial train until 1974, dedicated to His Majesty, the emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. This train consisted of two locomotives, a baggage car with a diesel generator for the whole train, four imperial carriages for the emperor and his family (lounge, sleeping compartments, offices, kitchen and restaurant), two salon-sleeper cars 1st class for guests of the Royal family and government officials and two 2nd passenger cars for the tross of the emperor.
A large variety of freight wagons was and is in operation, covered freight wagons, gondolas, uncovered ones, tank wagons, flat cars for containers, motorail cars, livestock transporters. Until 1987, some fo the freight wagons could carry nine tonnes while others could do 30 tonnes. In 1987, new freight wagons were ordered, all of them being able to carry at least 30 tonnes, some of them up to 40 tonnes.
Most stations along the railway were characterized by a passing loop, other station lines, from 1898 until roughly 1960 by water towers for the re-supply of the tenders for the steam locomotives. In addition, most stations had a small railway building that did not necessarily serve as a station building for passenger traffic. Dedicated railway stations with a single platform and station facilities for travellers were present at only three stations along the railway: Addis Ababa 'La Gare' Railway station, Dire Dawa train station and Djibouti City Railway station. The Djibouti City Railway station was built in 1900, the current Dire Dawa Railway station in 1910 and the Addis Ababa railway station in its current form in 1929. The Dire Dawa railway station became the main railway station along the entire railway, as almost all central facilities (maintenance workshops etc.) are located here. In the year 2018, only the Dire Dawa Railway station remains functional, the Addis Ababa railway station might become a museum (a small railway museum is already there) while the future of the Djibouti City railway station is uncertain.
The Ethio-Djibouti Railway was based on French railway technologies. The ballast bed for the rails was made by crushed stone, usually 4m wide. Almost all original steel rails and steel sleepers used between 1898-1917 were made in French steel factories. Later rehabilitation works until 1975 also exclusively used French steel materials for rails and sleepers. After 1975, basic repairs / rehabilitations did not happen anymore. From 2007-2012, an EU-funded rehabilitation program took place. This last rehabilitation program set up two factories in Ethiopia for sleepers and steel elements like rails, one in Dukem (steel elements) and one in Dire Dawa (concrete sleepers).
- Gauge: Metre gauge
- Railway total length
- in 1902: 311 km (Djibouti-Dire Dawa)
- 1917-2004: 784 km (Djibouti-Addis Ababa) plus approx. 25 km of station and service lines
- 2004-2014: 311 km (Djibouti-Dire Dawa)
- since 2014: 213 km (Guelile-Dire Dawa)
- Permitted railway axle load (not taking problems due to lack of maintenance into account)
- 1898-1947: 8 tonnes
- 1947-2010: 9.5-12.5 tonnes
- 2012-2014: 12.5-17 tonnes
- since 2014: 16-17 tonnes
- On the entire railway, different rails with different load capabilities (given as rail weight in kg/m) did exist during the times:
- 1898-1947: 20-25 kg/m
- 1947-2010: 20-25-30 kg/m
- since 2012: 30-36-40 kg/m
- Minimum railway curve radius:
- 1898-2014: 200 meters, 150 meters at difficult locations; one curve with 100 meter
- since 2014: 200 meters
- Maximum (ruling) gradient: 1.35 % (at difficult locations 2.7 % with double-locomotive operation)
- Target speed (on straight sections): 90 km/h (passenger trains), 65 km/h (freight trains) – but in practice and for a safe operation the speed was most often kept at 45 km/h and below.
- Targeted maximum train load (freight): 300 tonnes (at a speed of 15 km/h at high railway gradients)
- Bridges, viaducts and culverts: 1918 pieces, 187 of them viaducts and steel bridges (over 784 km)
- Major bridges and viaducts: Chebele viaduct (156 m long), Holhol viaduct (138 m long), Awash River bridge (151 m long, 60 m deep)
- Tunnels: 1 (170 m length, through the 'Col du Harr' northeast of Dire Dawa)
The Imperial Railway Company of Ethiopia (French: Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de fer d'Éthiopie or Compagnie Impériale Éthiopienne) was a firm founded in 1894 to build and operate a railway across eastern Ethiopia from the port of Djibouti to the capital of Addis Ababa. It was founded by Alfred Ilg and Léon Chefneux and headquartered in Paris, France.
Discussion of an Ethiopian railway was initiated by Alfred Ilg, an advisor to Emperor Menelek II. He had attempted to interest the previous emperor and other Ethiopian political figures in the construction of a railway to replace the six-week mule trek between the capital and the French port city, but had no success. When Menelek acceded to the throne in 1889, negotiations began anew and a decree was granted on February 11, 1893, to study the construction of rail line. Ilg, a Swiss citizen, and a number of French associates put together a firm and received a royal charter on March 9, 1894, enabling them to start work. Menelek resisted personally putting any funds into the venture, but did grant a 99-year lease to Ilg and his associates in return for a number of shares in the firm and half of all profits in excess of 3,000,000 francs. Furthermore, the firm was obliged to construct a telegraph line along the route.
It took until 1897 before the necessary permission from French authorities was received, by which time significant opposition in Ethiopia had materialized. The emperor himself was irate at the involvement of the French government, which had offered to fund the line, and there were popular demonstrations against it. There was also opposition from the British legation in Addis Ababa, which feared a reduction in traffic to the port of Zeila in British Somaliland. These fears proved well-founded: even half-finished, without links to either Harar or Addis Ababa, the railroad quickly eclipsed the port's former caravan-based trade.
The firm also had difficulty selling its shares in Europe. Robert Le Roux campaigned for the line at municipal chambers of commerce around France, but investor interest was restrained and Menelek was opposed to offers of direct involvement by the French government. All in all, the initial stock offering only earned 8,738,000 francs of the 14 million projected, and an additional offering of 25.5 million francs of bonds yielded only 11,665,000 francs. This was far too little to complete the line. Despite the shortfall, construction began in October 1897 from Djibouti, a hitherto minor port that expanded primarily to serve the railway.
A crew of Arab and Somali workers, overseen by Europeans, began to press inland with the line and its associated telegraph. Ethiopians were hired largely as security forces, to prevent the theft of materials on the line. This was also an important source of corruption for the primarily French administration, which fabricated incidents of sabotage and requested funds to buy off local chiefs that it claimed were responsible for it. Furthermore, the line was forced to avoid interfering with local communities and water sources, pushing it out into the desert. This meant that the railway company had to build aqueducts, an additional unplanned expense, to serve the line.
Even before reaching the Ethiopian border, it was clear the firm had serious financial problems. A group of British investors calling themselves the New Africa Company effectively took control of the firm over several years. They provided a new source of capital, and by 1901 had joined with the French investors to form the International Ethiopian Railway Trust and Construction Company – a holding firm which essentially controlled the railway and supplied it with further capital. The first commercial service began in July 1901, from Djibouti to Dire Dawa.
The mixture of French and British interests proved volatile, as each group of investors stood increasingly for both national and commercial interests. Both governments became interested in monopolizing Ethiopian trade and conspired to force the other into a minor position. The demands and threats of the two governments led Emperor Menelek in 1902 to forbid the expansion of the railway line to Harar. French negotiations to resume work were blocked by Menelek's growing suspicion of French motives, and the line could not earn enough to pay back the company's debts with such a limited service.
The signature of the Entente Cordiale in 1904 reopened the possibility of continued joint Anglo-French investment and development, but there was enough resistance to such proposals on both sides that no progress was made. The firm went formally bankrupt in 1906.
The portion it had completed ran from Djibouti to just short of Harar, the principal entrepôt for existing commerce in southern Ethiopia. During the era of Emperor Menelik II the Somali clans Issa and Gadabursi were among the railway workers when the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway was under construction and greatly benefited from it. Also Its terminus evolved into the city of Dire Dawa, today a larger city than Harar itself.
Following the 1906 Tripartite Treaty between Italy, France, and Britain and the 1908 Klobukowski Treaty between France and Ethiopia, Menelek consented to further expansion of the railway, granting the new concession to his personal physician, a black Guadaloupean named Dr. Vitalien, on 30 January 1908. The assets of the former company were then transferred to a new firm, the Franco-Ethiopian Railway (Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Franco-Éthiopien), which received a new concession to finish the line to Addis Ababa. After a year of wrangling with the previous financiers and their governments, construction began anew. By 1915 the line reached Akaki, only 23 kilometers from the capital, and two years later came all the way to Addis Ababa itself.
During the period when Ethiopia was under Italian rule, the property remained in any case with the Anglo-French company, which used steam trains of the Krupp type, which took approximately 36 hours. Following the Italian conquest, the speeding of trains was increased with the introduction from 1938 of rolling stock produced by Ansaldo and Breda, and four self-propelled large capacity 'type 038' trains derived from the model "Fiat ALn 56": the travel time went down to nearly 30 hours.
The Italian "Addis Ababa Regulatory Plan of 1938" anticipated the extension of the railway with the creation of three railway stations in the city of Addis Ababa which replaced the old station (Legehar), destined to be demolished. This did not happen any more, as the projects of connection with the Eritrean network were abandoned, due to the outbreak of the World War II. Following the British occupation of Ethiopia in the late spring of 1941, the railway line was temporarily closed from 1941 to 1944.
Post-World War II
Under the leadership of Yacob Zanios who was President and Assefa Gebre Mariam, the Vice President, the highest ranking Ethiopian employees of the railway, they organized one of the first labor unions in Ethiopia in 1947, the Railroad Workers Syndicate of Dire Dawa, for mutual welfare purposes. Although its leadership co-operated with the Government, a violent strike in 1949 demanding better wages, benefits, and working conditions was brutally suppressed by government troops; at the time, all strikes were seen by government officials as a form of insurrection. Yacob Zanios was fire by the French and as a means to settle the workers' demands that he be re-instated and to settle the strike, HIM the Emperor Haile Sellassie appointed Yacob to a position in his Special Cabinet and transferred him to Addis Ababa. 
Many years later, Yacob became Director General of the Railway system and launched an ambitious plan to extend the railway system and oversaw surveys for extending its line 310 kilometers south from Adama to Dilla between 1960 and 1963. The government formed a Nazareth-Dilla Railway Development Corporation to support this new branch. Although the French government offered a loan to fund this new branch in 1965, and Yugoslav experts had studied and thought the project would be worthwhile, this project was never carried out.
Ethiopia's share in the railway was seized by the Italian government in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, but was regained by Ethiopia after the World War II. Following the independence of Djibouti in 1977, the French share in the railway was transferred to the new nation. Around 1982, the railway was subsequently reorganized as the Ethio-Djibouti Railways (Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Djibouto-Éthiopien).
After World War II, the railway began a long period of decline. Traffic on the railway dropped in half from 1953 to 1957, as road transport began to compete for cargo. In 1975, the volume on the route still amounted to 450,000 tonnes of freight and 1.4 million passengers.
The Ogaden War of 1977–1978 dealt a further blow to the railway, as Somali troops invaded Ethiopia and captured the railway as far as Dire Dawa. Portions of the railway were blown up in the war, and railway operations were again cut in half. After the war ended, the railway continued to decline from a lack of maintenance and attacks from rebels such as the Ogaden Liberation Front. One of the worst and deadly train accidents worldwide then happened in January 1985, when an express train derailed on the main bridge of the railway, the Awash River bridge near Awash, with all four passenger coaches plunging 60 meters deep into the gorge resulting in the death of 429 passengers, the so-called Awash rail disaster.
Despite all these blows to the railway, the 1986 annual freight transport still amounted to 336,000 tonnes with ~1,000,000 passengers that year. In the following years, the traffic on the railway dropped further. Both the lack of maintenance and an ambitious road construction program made rail transport increasingly non-competitive. In the 16 years until 2002, freight volumes had dropped to 207,000 tonnes and the number of passengers dropped by almost 50% to 501,000. In 2007, a study came to the conclusion, that rail transport between Djibouti and Addis Ababa did cost 55 US$ per tonne while road transport had the advantage of costs of only 30 US$ per tonne.
Railway traffic between Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa was stopped in 2004 as the conditions along the railway grew inferior, so that a safe operation wasn't possible anymore. Railway traffic between Dire Dawa and Djibouti, however, continued.
The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti pursued foreign aid to rehabilitate the railway. The European Commission prepared a grant of EUR 40 million in 2003 and raised it to EUR 50 million in 2006. On November 29, 2006, an agreement was signed with the Italian consortium Consta, and work began in 2007 on sections of the line that deteriorated following the Ogaden War.
Before the rehabilitation, rail transport between Djibouti and Addis Ababa did cost 55 US$ per tonne while road transport had the advantage of costs of only 30 US$ per tonne. After the rehabilitation, costs were expected to drop below 20 US$ per tonne for decades to come, making rail transport much more competitive than road transport.
As a special feature of the rehabilitation, it focused on the replacement of all existing rails with a strength of only 20-25 kg/m, these were replaced by those with a strength of 40 kg/m, effectively doubling the allowed axle load of the trains on the railway line to 17 tons per axle. It was considered to replace almost 50% of the 784 km of rails and also repairing or replacing a total of 49 damaged steel bridges.
In 2006, the South African firm Comazar was chosen to receive a 25-year concession. However, this plan was not executed, and in early 2008, it was announced that the railway was in negotiations with the Kuwaiti company Fouad Alghanim and Sons Group.
Addis Ababa–Dire Dawa:
The Central Ethiopian railway section between Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, which was out of operation since 2004, went out of service infinitely in 2008. This followed the destruction of the Gorro River railway bridge during the 2006 flash floods in the western outskirts of Dire Dawa just four kilometers west of Dire Dawa station. The EU-funded rehabilitation project stagnated and saw contractural disputes, trains did not run in Central Ethiopia and only 5 km of tracks had been rehabilitated by 2009 around Metehara.
The railway was then progressively abandoned in Central Ethiopia between Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The Addis Ababa railway terminal, La Gare, a century-old historical building, was threatened in 2008 by a street project to lead to its isolation or demolition but the building survived and was not demolished. The tracks between Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa fell into total disrepair despite the rehabilitation project, many of the rails were dismantled and stolen – in particular west of Metehara – in 2014. Remnants of the Gorro River bridge in Dire Dawa were finally destroyed during the 2016 floods. The new Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway was also built over the old railway line between Mieso and Addis Ababa at several locations after 2012, but these sections of the railway were abandoned already years before.
Dire Dawa–Djibouti City:
Rail service between Dire Dawa and Djibouti City was still available until August 2010, when some railway rehabilitation also started on the Ethiopian part, which effectively stopped all railway traffic in Ethiopia and Djibouti for years. At the end, all contractural disputes were solved and the rehabilitation project effectively gained pace – especially in eastern Ethiopia between Dire Dawa and the border with Djibouti. Djibouti had dropped out and did not take part in the rehabilitation project anymore. Because of all the delays, the rehabilitation works took six years instead of the originally expected three.
The railway east of Dire Dawa then went back into trial operation in 2012 after the successful rehabilitation of approx. 100 km of the tracks east of Dire Dawa. The commercial service from Djibouti to Dire Dawa was restarted in July 2013.
The service however was soon to be confined to Ethiopian territory between Dire Dawa and the Djiboutian border station of Guelile, as the new standard gauge Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway cut through the old metre gauge railway several times on Djiboutian territory in spring 2014.
Present status and future
Trains in 2018 still run on the rehabilitated line over 213 km between Dire Dawa and the border station to Djibouti at Guelile, but go almost unacknowledged by the general public. According to two reports, four diesel locomotives are still operational and a freight train (coal) is operating twice a week with 3rd class passenger cars attached to it. The trains are travelling to Guelile in Djibouti for taking up the freight while the passenger cars will be left back at the border station of Dewele in Ethiopia. As the railway line is interrupted north of Guelile, the trains cannot go for Djibouti City. Despite the passenger rail service offered, the audience is very limited, there are usually not more than 10 passengers anymore.
If the old railway line cannot be connected as an economically viable branch line to the new standard gauge railway line, for example through a railroad transshipment facility, its days will finally be numbered. In 2018, it was announced, that 150 km of tracks from Dire Dawa to Mieso will be restored in the near future to support the regional economy with both freight and passenger services.
The Ethio-Djibouti Railways Enterprise
Ethio-Djibouti Railways also stands for the Ethio-Djibouti Railways Enterprise (French: Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Djibouto-Éthiopien (CFE)), which was a bi-national railway company for the administration and operation of the Ethio-Djibouti Railway.
The Ethio-Djibouti Railways Enterprise was established in 1981 as the successor to the Franco– Ethiopian Railway, and it was jointly owned by the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The company was headquartered in Addis Ababa; the ministers of the Djiboutian Ministry of Equipment and Transport and the Ethiopian Ministry of Transportation and Communications were the president and vice-president of the company. In 2010, the company ceased operations with Djibouti leaving, the Ethiopian part was taken over by the Ethiopian government.
The Ethio-Djibouti Railways Enterprise formally ceased to exist at the end of the year 2016, as the concession originally issued in 1894 by Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia wasn't renewed. All the properties of the company went back into the ownership of the Ethiopian state. The concession granted in 1894 came into force for 99 years after the official opening of the railway line in the year 1917, four years after the death of the Emperor.
- Crozet, Jean-Pierre. "The Franco-Ethiopian and Djibouto-Ethiopian Railway". Françoise Faulkner-Trine, trans. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. and "History". 2013. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- Video of France24, available at YouTube (english) and YouTube (french), see also "The revival of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line". France24. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- "Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway begins commercial operations". Xinhua. 1 January 2018.
- "Enterprise to repair old Dire Dawa-Meiso railway line". Fana Broadcasting. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "The World Factbook". CIA.
- Michał Kozicki: "The history of railway in Ethiopia and its role in the economic and social development of this country", Studies of the Department of African Languages and Cultures 49 (2015), Adam Mickiewicz University; ISSN 0860-4649
- Belda, Pascal (2006). Ebizguide Ethiopia. MTH Multimedia S.L. pp. 180–81. ISBN 9788460796671.
CDE has over 187 steel bridges with spans varying from 4 to 141 meters. Gol du Harr, located at North-East of Dire Dawa, at Km 181, is the only tunnel along the rail track.
- "Ilg, Alfred". Encyclopædia Æthiopica. Vol. 3. pp. 120–. Retrieved 17 March 2014 – via Google Books.
- " Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Zaila". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 950.
- "Le Roux, Robert Henri". Encyclopædia Æthiopica. Vol. 3. p. 551. Retrieved 17 March 2014 – via Google Books.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abyssinia: (26) In 1899 the rebellion ...". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–95.
- Negatu, Workneh; Research, Addis Ababa University Institute of Development; Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison Land Tenure; Foundation, Ford (2004-01-01). Proceedings of the Workshop on Some Aspects of Rural Land Tenure in Ethiopia: Access, Use, and Transfer. IDR/AAU. p. 43.
- Harrassowitz, Otto (2007). "Klobukowski Treaty". Encyclopædia Æthiopica. Vol. 3. Retrieved 17 March 2013 – via Google Books.
- "Local History in Ethiopia" (PDF). The Nordic Africa Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
- Keller, Edmund J. (1988). Revolutionary Ethiopia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 147.
- "Dil Amba – Djibiet" (pdf). Local History in Ethiopia. The Nordic Africa Institute. 2005. Retrieved 20 September 2011.. The route of this proposed extension is shown on the map accompanying the article: Kenney, Nathaniel T. (1965). "Ethiopian Adventure". National Geographic Magazine (127).
- Bergqvist, Rickard (2016). Dry Ports – A Global Perspective. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 9781317147671.
- "Briefing Memorandum: Djibouti-Ethiopia Railway" (PDF). ICA. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- Cooper, Tom (2014). Wings over Ogaden: The Ethiopian–Somali war, 1978–1979. Helion. p. 56. ISBN 9781909982383.
- "Ethiopia". Middle East Economic Digest. 22: 11. 1978.
The railway line was cut frequently during the Ogaden war, but has been operating at 50 per cent capacity since July.
- "Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway". Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Scarecrow Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780810874572.
- "OECD - Ethiopia GD 06" (PDF). OECD. 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
The rail corridor, which dates from 1917, has lost competitiveness, especially since Ethiopia has begun to improve its road network. The railway’s freight volume fell from a high of 336 000 tonnes in 1986 to a low of 207 000 tonnes in 2002, and the number of passengers fell from 1 million in 1986 to 501 000 in 2002.
- "Ethio-Djibouti Railway rehabilitation accord signed". Walta Information Center. Archived from the original on 2007-10-07.
- Continental Railway Journal 161 (2010), S. 112.
- "South African firm wins bid to administer Ethio-Djibouti railway". Hiiran Online.
- "No concession at Ethio-Djibouti Railway". Railway Gazette International. September 2007.
- Google Earth survey; the old metre gauge railway was damaged west of Dire Dawa and was built over at several locations west of Mieso in Ethiopia and also north of Guelile in Djibouti and at Nagad south of Djibouti City. Between Addis Ababa and Adama in particular, almost nothing remained from the old railway.
- Vaughan, Jenny (March 10, 2013). "China's Latest Ethiopian Railway Project Shows Their Growing Global Influence". Agence France Presse.
While the economic benefits of the train – which will be used for both freight and passenger transport, replacing slow and costly truck transport – is widely recognised, some lament the seemingly inevitable death of the historic French-built diesel-powered train, which went out of service infinitely in 2008 after years of neglect.
- Foch, Arthur (March 2011). "The paradox of the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway concession failure" (PDF). Private Sector & Development (9): 18.
For example, in 2009 only five kilometres of track had been rehabilitated. ... The two States gradually abandoned the CDE, which by 2011 had ceased all activities.
- Vaughan, Jenny (10 March 2013). "China's Latest Ethiopian Railway Project Shows Their Growing Global Influence". Agence France Presse.
The train station – known locally as "la gare" – and the workshops still stand, unused for years. Employees still arrive at work diligently just after dawn every day, only to sit among the abandoned train cars and imported French machinery, seemingly frozen in time. They still receive a monthly stipend from the company, which is now run by the Ethiopian government. They hold out hope that the diesel train will be revived one day, but the European Commission-funded project to rehabilitate the old railway at a cost of $55 million has stalled due to a contractual dispute.
- "Historic Addis Ababa railway station under threat". addis-ababa.wantedinafrica.com. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Ethiopia: Historic Ethio-Djibouti Railway Track Worth Br20 Million Stolen". The Reporter Ethiopia. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
According to Addis, the individuals are also stealing the railway line that lies between Adama and Wolenchiti towns. Addis said that the culprits sell the steel structure to foundries established by Chinese citizens in Adama town and near Koka. According to Addis, so far railway lines worth 20 million birr have been stolen. [...] The Ethio-Djibouti Railway Enterprise ceased operations in 2010. “There is no adequate budget to hire people to guard the railway line, stations and other properties of the enterprise"
- "Dire Dawa – Djibouti railway restarts operation". Hornaffairs.com. 7 September 2013.
- April 27, 2015. "Train travel in Ethiopia & Djibouti". The Man in Seat 61. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015.
Most of the guide books have the info’ on the train completely wrong, most of them still saying the train departs Addis Ababa but this has not happened for over two years. They also say the train does not operate at night because of the chances of attacks, but this is also wrong as the train I caught on Sunday 20-12-2009 departed at 10.30am (over a day late) and arrived Djibouti at 05.30am the next. I spent over 18 hours in the cab!!!!
- Video at YouTube showcasing the rehabilitated tracks on the Ethiopian side.
- Skyscrapercity forum: "a passenger train runs twice a week from Dire Dawa to the border of Guelile Djibouti. There is also a weekly coal train from Guélile and supplies the Dire Dawa cement plant. [...] there are 4 functioning locomotives which are very well maintained"
- Belda, Pascal (2006). Ebizguide Ethiopia. MTH Multimedia S.L. p. 180. ISBN 9788460796671.
Soon after the independence of Djibouti, the government of Ethiopia and Djibouti signed a new treaty on March 1981, for 50 years on equal parity ownership under "chemin de Fer Djibouto–Ethiopien" name.
- Brisse, André (1901). "Djibouti et le chemin de fer du Harar". Annales de géographie (in French). 10 – via Persee.fr.
- Fontaine, Hugues (2012). Un Train en Afrique. African Train (in English and French). traduction by Yves-Marie Stranger; postface by Jean-Christophe Belliard; photographers Matthieu Germain Lambert and Pierre Javelot (bilingue français / anglais ed.). Addis Abeba: Centre Français des Études Éthiopiennes / Shama Books. ISBN 978-99944-867-1-7.
- Killion, Tom C. (1992). "Railroad Workers and the Ethiopian Imperial State: The Politics of Workers' Organization on the Franco-Ethiopian Railroad, 1919–1959". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 25: 583–605.
- 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.
- Media related to Rail transport in Ethiopia at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Rail transport in Djibouti at Wikimedia Commons
- French website covering the history
- The Franco-Ethiopian Railway and Its History
- The Franco-Ethiopan Railway, 1936
- French website about the Djibouti-Addis Ababa train, from yesterday to today