Trans-Gabon Railway

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Coordinates: 1°37′21.92″S 13°29′21.56″E / 1.6227556°S 13.4893222°E / -1.6227556; 13.4893222

Trans-Gabon Railway
Railways in Gabon.svg
Map of the Trans-Gabon Railway line
Native name
System Heavy rail
Status Active
Termini Libreville
Stations 23
Opened 1987
Line length 669 km (416 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Trans-Gabon Railway (French: Transgabonais) is the only railway in Gabon. It runs 670 km east from Owendo port station in Libreville to Franceville via numerous stations, the main ones being Ndjolé, Lopé, Booué, Lastoursville and Moanda.


Trans-Gabon Railway
0km Owendo (Libreville)
35km Ntoum
57km Andem
85km M'Bel
118km Oyam
148km Abanga
182km Ndjolé
202km Alembe
226km Otoumbi
244km Bissouna
267km Ayem
290km Lopé
312km Offoue
338km Booué
375km Ivindo[disambiguation needed]
411km Mouyabi
448km Milole
484km Lastoursville
514km Doume
549km Lifouta
584km Mboungou-Mbadouma
619km Moanda
669km Franceville

A railway was first planned in 1885. Investigations into the line were conducted in 1968, funding was agreed in 1973, and construction began the following year. The first section, from Owendo to Ndjolé, opened in 1978, with the remaining sections opening in stages until December 1986. Costs were well over budget and almost bankrupted the country.

The Trans-Gabon Railroad is overall adjacent the Ogooue River until Ndjolé. Most important constructions are the Juckville Tunnel, the viaduct over the Abanga swamp, and the bridge over the confluence between the Ogooue and the Ivindo Rivers.

The line to Franceville was completed in 1987.[1]

Originally intended to reach Makokou and carry iron ore, its route was changed for political reasons, namely to keep within national borders managanese ore traffic that went on the COMILOG Cableway via the Republic of Congo. When the railway reached the manganese mine at Moanda, the Cableway was closed.

The railway was privatised in 1999. Plans regularly surface proposing an extension to Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo.

Construction and specifications[edit]

Because the line was built well into the era of earthmoving machinery, the need to choose a narrow gauge to save costs was no longer important. However the choice of standard gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)) took advantage of off the shelf equipment. It was constructed by a consortium of Impregilo, Astaldi, Philipp Holzmann, Constructions Et Entreprises Industrielles and Entreprise De Construction Franco-Africaine.[2]

Recent history[edit]

In 2003 Hughes Network Systems (see Hughes Communications) installed a satellite based telephony system into all the railway stations of the railway.[3]

In June 2006 a new line for iron ore from Belinga to port was announced. Unclear if it will use part of existing line. Would be standard gauge.[4] This line was supposed to open in 2012, but in 2014 completion is still awaited.

Two EMD JT42CWR locomotives shipped September 2011.[5][6] A further 4 locomotives and 10 passenger coaches were also ordered.[7]


There are no links with the adjacent states of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, or the Republic of the Congo. The railway is important for transporting timber and uranium in addition to being the only important public transport route in the nation. In 1996, the railway carried 3MT of freight and 190,000 passengers.[8] The Trans-Gabon Railway, 669 km (416 mi) has 23 stations.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trans-Gabon Railway". [dead link]
  2. ^ Trans-Gabon Railway
  3. ^ "Gabon Telecom Selects Hughes Network Systems’ Satellite Technology to Connect Gabon Railway System",, 8 October 2003 
  4. ^ China given monopoly to work Gabon's untapped iron ore resources
  5. ^ "LOCOS FOR SETRAG IN GABON",, 20 September 2011 
  6. ^ "CANADIAN LOCOMOTIVE SHOPS",, Class 66s for Gabon, November 2011 [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "SETRAG poursuit son développement", (in French), 29 November 2011 
  8. ^ Janes World Railways 2002-2003


External links[edit]