Eritrea: Mallets in the Mountains

The Eritrean Railway is a remarkable revival. Using only local skills and labour, the railway has been rebuilt from the port of Massawa via Ghinda to the capital Asmara and there are plans to restore the section to Keren and Agordat. On this trip, the 440 class mallet and the two 442 class mallets were in action along with the Littorina railcar. Although the railway currently only operates special trains and charters, the plans are for a modern freight operation in the future.

The footage is in 4 parts, Massawa to Ghinda 33.5 minutes, Ghinda to Arbaroba 24 minutes, Arbaroba to Asmara 46 minutes and Diesel Traction (including the Littorina) 14.5 minutes making a total running time of 118 minutes.

Update from the producer: Since this footage was prepare (and initially released as a double DVD), the railway has not developed according to plan and neither the freight traffic not the extension to Agordat has happened. The actual state of the railway and whether steam specials can still be run is a bit unclear but seems unlikely. I was lucky to visit to see this revival when I did.

This footage was shot on a FarRail tour in March 2009. With thanks to Bernd Seiler, Hans Hufnagel and all the railway staff.

Credits: John Raby


Part 1: Masawa to Arbaroba
Part 2: Arbaroba to Asmara