The International Steam Pages


Steam in Eritrea, December 2000

Hans Hufnagel reports:

Twenty years ago the Eritrean Railway stopped working because of the war of independence. After the war ended in 1991, the government decided to reconstruct the railway line between the port of Massawa and the capital town Asmara. By December 2000 the line was already serviceable from Massawa to Ghinda - this is about 70 kilometres. Another 15 kilometres as far as Embatkala have been relaid, and it was possible to travel by a light service car over this part. The administration expects to reconstruct the last 35 but more complicated kilometres to Asmara by December 2001.

In December 2000, the travel company TRANSNICO organised a one week trip to Eritrea to the rebuilt section of the railway for a small group of railway enthusiasts. Many special trains with different compositions hauled by Italian steam locos were organised on the line between Massawa and Ghinda. Also a short trip with one of the "Littorina" railcars and a steam parade with 5 locos working was a part of the programme.

The line is very scenic and the crew was cooperating very well with all photostops and false starts. I hope, that the 2001 TRANSNICO trip to this wonderful line will happen. (Not that simple as I believe that the railway administration decided to ask for a lot more money than was originally agreed part way through the trip. RD)

Locos seen :

Asmara
202.002
202.004 - in working order
202.009
202.011
440.008
442.56
and a small railcar
all in good external condition

Ghinda
202.008 in steam
202.010 in steam
442.54 in steam
442.55 in steam
442.59 in steam
railcar 2
railcar 7 - working
2 diesel locos - working


All photographs are by Hans Hufnagel:

442.54 leaving Massawa on 6th December

erit010.jpg (53117 bytes)

442.54 near Damas on 6th December

442.54 near Damas on 6th December

442.54 behind Biensza on 6th December

442.54 behind Biensza on 6th December

442.54 leaving Ghinda on 7th December

442.54 leaving Ghinda on 7th December

Littorina 7 5km down from Ghinda on 7th December

Littorina 7 5km down from Ghinda on 7th December

202.10 5km down from Ghinda on 7th December

202.10 5km down from Ghinda on 7th December

442.54 + 442.55 arrive at Ghinda on 8th December

442.54 + 442.55 arrive at Ghinda on 8th December

442.54 + 442.55 near Massawa on 4th December

442.54 + 442.55 near Massawa on 4th December


Rob Dickinson

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