Rail transport in Ethiopia

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Current railroad routes in Ethiopia
red is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge

Rail transport in Ethiopia currently consists only of trial service between Dire Dawa and Djibouti on the meter-gauge Ethio-Djibouti Railways. The railway continues to the capital city of Addis Ababa, but through trains have not run since 2008.

A new standard gauge network is under construction that will link landlocked Ethiopia to its neighbors. Currently the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway is almost completed (by Chinese contractor CREC) while a 400 km long rail is developed from Awash to Hara Gebeya (by Turkish company Yapi Merkezi with various European subcontractors). Additionally a light rail system is under commissioning in Addis Ababa.

Standard gauge network[edit]

The Ethiopian Railway Corporation has plans for several new lines including links to adjacent countries and further afield. ERC will build these in two phases. [1]

The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway connects Addis Ababa to the Port of Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. The railway is almost complete and is scheduled to begin operations in 2016.

A railway from Mek'ele to Awash will link the capital with northern Ethiopia by connecting to the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway at Awash. Construction on the railway began in February 2015. The China Communications Construction Company is the prime contractor for the northern half of the railway, from Mek'ele to Weldiya.[2] Funding for the $1.5 billion northern segment was provided by the Exim Bank of China.[3] Yapı Merkezi is responsible for the southern half of the railway, from Weldiya to Awash. Funding for the $1.7 billion southern segment was provided by a consortium of lenders, including Türk Eximbank, the Swedish National Export Credits Guarantee Board, Denmark's Export Credit Board, and Swiss Export Risk Insurance.[4]

A railway from Addis Ababa to Bedele will run westward from the capital to Bedele. The prime contractor is Andrade Gutierrez, and funding was provided by the Brazilian Development Bank. Construction on the project began in May 2015.[4]

A railway from Weldiya to Tadjoura will provide Ethiopia with a second outlet to the sea at the port of Tadjoura in Djibouti. The line will connect to the Mek'ele-Awash railway at Weldiya. The project is being supervised by the Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (India), and the Indian government has committed $300 million so far with the funding coming from the Indian government. However, the project has been delayed five times and has not yet been tendered as of May 2015.[4]

Light rail[edit]

The Addis Ababa Light Rail was completed in January 2015 and started operations in August 2015.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.erc.gov.et/index.php/projects/national-railway-network-of-ethiopianrne.html
  2. ^ "Foundation stone laid for northern Ethiopia line". Railway Gazette. 25 February 2015. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn laid a ceremonial foundation stone for the Mek'ele – Weldiya/Hara Gebeya railway project on February 18. The 220 km electrified mixed-traffic route is being built by China Communications Construction Co under a US$1·5bn contract. 
  3. ^ "Swiss bank approves $865 mln loan for Awash-Weldiya railway project". Archived from the original on June 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Molinari, Michele (June 3, 2015). "Ethiopia turns big plans into reality". International Railway Journal. Archived from the original on June 24, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tom C. Killion, "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 (1992), pp. 583–605.
  • Hugues Fontaine: Un Train en Afrique. African Train. Centre Français des Études Éthiopiennes / Shama Books. Édition bilingue français / anglais. Traduction : Yves-Marie Stranger. Postface : Jean-Christophe Belliard. Avec des photographies de Matthieu Germain Lambert et Pierre Javelot. Addis Abeba, 2012, ISBN 978–99944–867–1–7. English and French. [1]

External links[edit]