"Eritrea - Riding The Old Steam Railway" Top 5 Page for this destination Asmara Travelogue by janiebaxter
Asmara Travel Guide: 88 reviews and 477 photos
The railway was built by the Italians and completed in 1911. It runs from Asmara to Massawa on the Red Sea, and was closed in 1975 by the Ethiopians until 2003 when it was re-opened with the old track and the trains restored to working order.
The original railway took from 1887 to 1911 to build due to the inhospitable barren, rocky terrain which is between 3000 and 8000 feet above sea level. There are 35 viaducts and 30 tunnels along the line
The railway employs the original railwayworkers, drivers and signalmen who are all in their 80s and 90s.
The old steam trains are called narrow gauge Mallet trains because of the special wheels which allow the trains to run on tracks through the rocky and mountainous terrain of Asmara.
You get a wonderful view of the mountains while riding in the train
As the train approaches villages, all the people come out to wave and look at the train, attracted by it's loud whistle.
As the train stops in the village, the women sell goods to the tourists and crew on board and also take the spare hot water which the steam engine produces. Even the smallest children are curious.
The villages in the mountains are quite remote and don't get many visitors. They are very traditional which is often a good photo opportunity
The trip was organised by The Railway Tourung Company in the UK who specialise in railway trips throughout the world.
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