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Asmara reconnected

01 Mar 2003

AFTER a 10-year reconstruction programme, Eritrea Railways confirmed last month that it had completed the rebuilding of its 117 km main line linking the capital Asmara to the Red Sea port of Massawa (RG 2.01 p93). A formal inauguration ceremony is planned for later this year.

Including 3·5% grades on the climb to a summit 2394m above sea level, the 950mm gauge line has four viaducts and 20 tunnels. Much of the route was damaged during the war of independence from Ethiopia. ER has restored the line at minimal cost, including repair of a fleet of two diesel and three steam locos, two diesel railcars and sundry coaches and wagons.