ETHIOPIA: Test running on the first phase of the Awash – Woldiya/Hara Gebeya Railway is on course to begin by the end of August, Ethiopian Railways Corp has announced.

In June 2012 ERC signed a US$1·7bn turnkey contract for Turkish firm Yapı Merkezi to build the 389 route-km electrified standard gauge line running north to Woldiya from Awash, where it will connect with the Djibouti – Addis Ababa line which opened last year. The route will pass through challenging terrain, reaching an altitude of 2 122 m and requiring six tunnels. ERC reported that work was 54% complete at the end of June, with track now laid on 250 km of the 391 km route.

China Communications Construction Co is building the next 220 km north from Hara Gebeya to Mek'ele under a separate US$1·5bn contract. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn laid the ceremonial foundation stone for this project in February 2015, and construction is now 46% complete.