Ethiopia’s metre-gauge survivors

DESPITE opening a new electrified main line in 2016, parts of the old metre-gauge Chemin de Fer Djibouto-Éthiopien still appear to have some operational trains, although passenger services on the full route ceased in 2008. 

The metre-gauge line was opened between Addis Ababa and Djibouti in stages from 1902, and completed in 1917. It was originally owned by a Franco-British company, and operated using mostly French- and Swiss-built steam locos. 

A handful of operational diesel locos remain at Dire Dawa. Three Alsthom-built type AD12 B diesels seen there on December 4, 2017 are (left) No. 1209, delivered in 1980, and (right) No. 1215, dating from 1984. CHRIS LEWIS

After the annexation of Ethiopia by Italy in 1936, some new rolling stock, including four Fiat-built diesel railcars, were introduced. These had 27 seats (12 of them First Class) and two diesel engines, and were based on the Aln 56 design, as used in Italy. 

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