Rail transport in Chad

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Up to 2012 Chad had no rail system. Two lines are planned to Sudan and Cameroon from the capital with construction expected to start in February 2016 and be complete in 4 years.


Early railroad schemes – 19th century[edit]

A 1905 book describes the history of a German railroad syndicate's exploration of Chad:

In 1885, the new German colony of Kamerun came into being. A number of influential Germans determined that the colony’s economic potential could be realized only through the construction of a railroad. They established a Cameroon railroad syndicate in 1900, which in 1902 obtained a concession from the German government to build a line that would open the colony’s interior to trade. The syndicate sponsored expeditions in 1902–3 and 1904 to survey the projected route.[1]

20th century[edit]

Several plans or proposals to build railways during the French colonial period (French Equatorial Africa) in Chad, and to connect Chad to other African railway networks (Cameroon, Nigeria, Oubangui/Central African Republic). Early proposals include a line extending from the Cameroon rail system at Douala into Chad in the 1930s.[2] One early unofficial plan was a study for a railway from Douala in Cameroon to Bangui, which was part of the pre-World War I German Imperial expansionist policy known as Mittelafrika.[3]

In the 1950s a line through Chad from Port Sudan to Nigeria was proposed but opposed by Chad governmental organisations.[4]

In 1958 plans for a line from Cameroon the Société Civile d'Études du Chemin de Fer Douala-Chad (SEDOT) was formed, and continued planning led to start of construction in 1964 - the line was constructed as far as Ngaoundéré in Cameroon (the Trans-Cameroon Railway, completed 1975.[5]). Initial plans were for an extension to Moundou in Chad,[2] but this was not completed.[5]

In 1959 a multinational agency, the Agence Transéquatoriale des Communications (ATEC) was formed to manage cooperation between Chad, the Central African Republic, Gabon and Republic of Congo, and administer a system of river and railway links (named Route Fédérale) serving the interior via a coastal termination at Pointe Noire; a line from Bangui (CAF) to Chad (Bangui-Chad railroad,[6] or Le chemin de fer Bangui-Tchad.[7]) was under consideration as part of this scheme.[2][4] The Bangui-Chad railroad project reached the prelimary planning stage, including costing studies – the project was terminated in 1962.[6]

21st Century[edit]

Map of the proposed Railway System in Chad.(Routes indicative).

In March 2011 Chad and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC) reached agreement on a (estimated $7 billion) contract to build over 1300 km of standard gauge railway lines in Chad. The lines would be built primarily for freight but would also carry passengers.[8][9] In August 2011 Sudan, Chad and the Export-Import Bank of China were reported to have reached an agreement to construct a cross border line from Chad's capital to the rail line at Nyala, Sudan.[10] On 24 December 2011 the Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation of Chad and CCECC signed the agreement (then valued at $5.6 billion) for the line's construction - with construction planned to start in February 2012.[8]

Two lines are planned: one from the capital N'Djamena to Moundou and Koutéré on the Cameroon border (528 km), and one from the capital to the border with Sudan (836 km) via Abéché and Adré. The lines are to be built to standard gauge and for 120 km/h running, and equipment for the line will be sourced in China.[8]





See also[edit]



  1. ^ René, Carl (1905). Cameroon and the German Lake Chad Railway - World Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  2. ^ a b c David Hilling (1968), "14. Politics and Transportation - The Problem's of West Africa's Land-locked States", in Charles A Fisher, Essays in political geography, Taylor and Francis 
  3. ^ Pierre Kalck; Xavier-Samuel Kalck (translation) (2005), Historical dictionary of the Central African Republic, Scarecrow Press, "MITTEL-AFRIKA" p.139 
  4. ^ a b Virginia Thompson; Richard Adloff (1960), The emerging states of French Equatorial Africa, Stanford University Press, pp. 137–140 
  5. ^ a b Mark D. DeLancey; Rebecca Neh Mbuh; Mark W. DeLancey (2010), "TRANS-CAMEROON RAILWAY", Historical dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon, Scarecrow Press 
  6. ^ a b Pierre Kalck; Xavier-Samuel Kalck (translation) (2005), Historical dictionary of the Central African Republic, Scarecrow Press, "BAGUI-CHAD RAILWAY" p.18, "NAUD, RENE (1907-?)" p.144, "GRAND DESIGNS" p.93 
  7. ^ Un projet colonial sans lendemain. Le chemin de fer Bangui-Tchad (A.E.F.) (167), Centre d’Études africaines, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, « Dossiers africains », 2002 
  8. ^ a b c "Work to begin on Chad rail network", www.railwaygazette.com, Railway Gazette International, 13 January 2012 
  9. ^ Sources:
  10. ^ "Sudan and Chad and EIB to sign a tripartite agreement", www.transportweekly.com, 11 August 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.