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First Africa electric railway operates with China-made locomotives | Coastweek

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- A modern, Chinese built electric train runs on the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway during an operational test near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa's first modern electrified railway -- the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway built by Chinese firms, became fully operational on Wednesday. XINHUA PHOTO - LI BAISHUN


First Africa electric railway operates with China-made locomotives

CHANGSHA China (Xinhua) -- Three heat-resistant locomotives tailor- made for Ethiopia have been put to use on Africa’s first electric rail line.

The locomotives, designed and manufactured by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd., have gone through a series of tests on the line linking Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, with Djibouti City, capital of the Republic of Djibouti. The line runs through a plateau and desert region and is very demanding technically.

"Thermostability is particularly important as in summer the temperature can be as high as 50 degrees Celsius, along with huge day-night and seasonal temperature differences," said technical expert Kang Mingming with CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive.

He said the locomotives have been put to use in Ethiopia on Thursday local time for passenger transportation.

Thirty-two locomotives for cargo transportation, each with a power of 7,200 kilowatt, will be delivered soon.

Once put to use, these locomotives will significantly improve Ethiopia’s cargo transportation efficiency and trade cooperation with neighboring countries, said Kang.

The trunk line across East Africa is 752.7 km long and cost four billion U.S. dollars.

Trains can travel at a designed speed of 120 km per hour.


Chinese railway builders help locals along African railway

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Social responsibility has been highlighted in the construction of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, with two Chinese railway firms paving roads and digging wells along the route to improve locals’ lives.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, also known as Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, opened service on Wednesday to become the latest testament to the Sino-African friendship.

The 752.7-km line was constructed by China Railway Group (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) with an investment of 4 billion U.S. dollars.

CREC said in a statement that it has built more than 400 kilometers of roads for local villagers, as the line passes many villages that previously had no road access.

Moreover, CREC has dug 19 wells and established over 20 water distribution sites to provide free water supply to villagers.

Dong Jianfeng, chief engineer of CREC’s Ethiopia-Djibouti railway project, said as water resources are precious in drought-ridden Ethiopia, the team has preferred designs like culverts and bridges to retain surface runoff and minimize damages to sites of water sources.

Through such charity acts and by hiring large numbers of local workers, the company said they won the locals’ trust and avoid clashes over railway construction.

China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC), which owns CCECC, also said they had never encountered clashes with locals during the entire construction.

Li Wuliang, a manager of CCECC, said his team paid constant visits to villages along the line, where they made donations to schools, clinics and funded church building.

"Villagers treated us very friendly.

"Every time we arrived at a village, they treated us with the best food and local dances," Li told Xinhua.

According to Meng Fengchao, board chairman of CRCC, the company has hired over 20,000 local workers in Ethiopia and 5,000 in Djibouti, who made up the majority of the construction workers.

Hailed as the "Tazara railway in a new era," the Ethiopia-Djibouti line was the second Chinese-built transnational railway in Africa following the Tazara railway, which links Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam with Zambia’s Kapiri Mposhi.

Unlike the Tazara railway, built in the 1970s in the form of China’s foreign aid, the Ethiopia-Djibouti line is a commercial act, but both state-owned CREC and CCECC have vowed to use the project to pass on the Sino-African friendship as entrenched by the Tazara railway.


Chinese-built railways in Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-built railway linking the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti, which will be Africa’s first modern electrified railway, has been inaugurated in Addis Ababa.

The 752.7 km railway, with a designed speed of 120 km per hour, took six years to complete. It was constructed by the China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, with a total investment of 4 billion U.S. dollars.

The railway is expected to help landlocked Ethiopia improve access to the sea and speed up a burgeoning industrialization process.

The railway reflects the ever strengthening cooperation between China and Africa, and is a continuation of friendly China-Africa cooperation in railway infrastructure.

The following are some other key railway projects built by China in Africa over the years.

• Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA)

Known as a monument to China-Africa friendship, TAZARA is the main rail line connecting East Africa with the central and southern parts of Africa. China financed and built TAZARA that covers a total length of 1,860.5 km running from Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam in the east to New Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia in the west.

China deployed more than 50,000 workers who worked together with Tanzanian and Zambian workers to complete the construction of the project in five years and eight months before its official inauguration in 1976.

• Lobito-Luau railway in Angola

In 2015, a 1,344-km railroad project spanning Angola was complete and put into operation.

The line, built by the China Railway Construction Corporation, boasts the fastest traveling speed in the country and will serve as a significant economic corridor there.

The railway, linking the coastal city of Lobito in the west and Luau city which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the second longest railway built by a Chinese company for Africa after TAZARA. The railway will be linked with the Angola-Zambia railway and the Tanzania-Zambia railway in the future.

• Abuja-Kaduna railway in Nigeria

The railway, built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, covers a distance of 186.5 km and links the capital city Abuja and the northwestern state of Kaduna. It has nine stations and a designed speed of 150 km per hour.

Built in 2011, the railway became operational in July 2016. It is part of the railway modernization initiative by Nigeria which aims to replace the existing narrow gauge system with the wider standard gauge system, while allowing high-speed train operations on the railway network.

•Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya

China in May 2014 signed a deal to build a rail link worth 3.8 billion dollars between Kenya’s Mombasa and Nairobi. Around 480 km long, the project is expected to complete in 2017.

The project, which marks the first phase of a line that is expected to cover a distance of about 2,935 km and eventually connect Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, will facilitate transportation and boost trade in the eastern African region.

It features passenger trains with a speed of 120 km per hour and freight trains designed to move at 80 km per hour.

• Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) in Ethiopia

The electrified AA-LRT was the first light railway on the African continent with two lines of a total length of 34 km. The project, built by China Railway Group, became operational in September 2015.

The rail service, estimated to transport about 60,000 passengers per day, helps ease people’s travels in the Ethiopian capital.



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