Eritreia : Photos

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Pastel Decor

Sunlight pours into the roofless station building on the disused line of the old railway that ran from Keren to Asmara in Eritrea. It's a fascinating drive along the trackbed through tunnels and over viaducts. The walls of the ruined stations are pockmarked with bullet holes.

Eritrea, December 2014. David Hill




Collecting Water

A young lady prepares to load canisters of water onto her mule at the village watering hole as a brace of Eritrean Railway 1930s-built 950 mm gauge 'Mallet' 0-4-0 tanks, 442-59 and 442-55, battle up the ruling 1 in 30 gradient near Shegerini, with a villager's special excursion to Asmara on 10th December 2014, a 'brakesman' acknowledging the eager waves from the village children.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Bisha, SW Eritrea, early morning e

Sprott Global Research - site visits posted a photo:

Bisha, SW Eritrea, early morning e




Over the Pass

Eritrean Railway 950mm gauge Mallet 442.55 rounds one of the numerous curves and breasts the summit on the stretch of line between Ghinda and Nefasit, near Embatkalla, heading a demonstration vintage freight on 5th December 2014. Sunlit shots are not always to be relied upon in this mountainous region of Eritrea, as can be appreciated in this scene.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Round the Horn

With a 1,000 ft direct drop into the valley below, Mallet 0-4-4-0 tank 442-59 clings to the mountainside as it approaches the "Devil's Gate" at Shegereni in the Southern Highlands of Eritrea, heading a demonstration fright (aka freight!) on 10th December 2014.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Raising Steam on Shed

Eritrean Railway Breda 0-4-0 tank 202-002 raising steam on Asmara shed on 9th December 2014.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Snaking through the Mountains

An example illustrating why the Italian 'standard' narrow gauge of 950 mm and articulated locomotives were chosen at the outset for the Eritrean Railway, especially for tackling the snaking and steep 'mountain section' between Nefasit and Arbaroba. This viewpoint also helps to demonstrate how vulnerable the railway is to landslides and rockfalls after periods of heavy rainfall. The entire terrain around this area is loose and treacherous underfoot, with the ground steeply falling away deep into the valley below just a few metres away from the railway in parts. On 8th December 2014, Mallet 0-4-4-0 tank 442-55 weaves around the mountainside between Nefasit and Arbaroba heading a demonstration freight.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Train Watching at Nefasit

This is something that these Eritrean children do not normally see whilst making their way home from school! Two young schoolboys are fascinated at the sight of a working 1930's-built 'Mallet' articulated steam locomotive at the head of equally vintage freight wagons. Children the world over show an immediate affection for railways, their feelings only influenced as they grow older, certainly in the UK, by the mainstream media ridiculing our railways and anyone who may show the slightest bit of interest in them. Eritrean Railway 950 mm gauge Mallet 442-59 at the head of a demonstration traditional freight at Nefasit on 5th December 2014.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Peace in the Horn of Africa

At 8.00am on Wednesday 10th December 2014, a daily routine unfolds in the village of Arbaroba, high in the mountains of Eritrea, as children head off to school and ladies wait for the bus to take them to shop for their provisions in the street markets of Nefasit. 1938-built Mallets 442-55 and 442-59 depart from the station heading a morning mixed train, complete with local 'day trippers', heading to Asmara for an out of daily routine 'special excursion', a memorable occasion for many locals, some children on board never having travelled on a steam-hauled train. The pride in the railway and the prospect of a better future, shared by all inhabitants encountered, can be appreciated here, as just about everyone can be seen following the passage of the train over the viaduct from below. The lack of male inhabitants in these villages was particularly notable, either working away peacefully or in conflict, having fled the country for Europe, or serving an indeterminate length of time undergoing mandatory national service, Eritrea still being in conflict with neighbouring Ethiopia over border issues at this time. Happily, a peace agreement was signed in Saudi Arabia between the two countries in September 2018. Subsequently, UN Sanctions against Eritrea have been lifted and aid for the railway is now being provided by the Italian Government and diesel locos have arrived. The wind of change is blowing for this country........

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission

The links to the following media reports are very informative:

www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/ethiopia-eritrea-sign-peac...

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-46193273?intlink_from_url...




Through the Forest

On the morning of 11 December 2014, precisely one hour after sunrise, Italian 1915-built 'Mallet' articulated 0-4-4-0 tank 440.008, the sole serviceable locomotive of the original batch of the class supplied to the Eritrean Railway by Ansaldo from 1911, runs through the short afforested section and approaching the summit of the 950mm gauge line at 2,394 metres above sea level, heading a demonstration vintage freight towards the capital of Asmara.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Approaching the Summit

As a lone vulture hovers overhead, high above the mountain range south and east of Asmara looking towards the frontier with Ethiopia, 1915-built Italian 'Mallet' No.440.008 approaches the summit of the 950mm gauge line (2,394 metres above sea level) heading a demonstration vintage freight towards the capital on the morning of 11 December 2014. Eritrea became a mandated territory after World War II, initially controlled by the U.K. and later the United Nations and Ethiopia, the latter country undermining the autonomous status of Eritrea. This led to a war of independence which lasted for more than 30 years. During this period the Eritrean Railway was almost destroyed entirely, but after independence in 1993 the railway veterans, supported by the Army, commenced repair of the railway infrastructure and repaired some of the locomotive fleet and rolling stock, mostly of Italian build, but also a handful of German, British and even Russian origin, the latter vehicles captured during the war. The railway is in a state of limbo today, not offering any regular service and with no easy access to coal resources, let alone financial support of any note. Furthermore, frequent deluges of rain wash out the lower sections of track below Ghinda towards the Red Sea port of Massawa, the lower 70 kilometres of the 120 kilometre line which exists today from the original 347 kilometre line between Massawa and Biscia, which was finally completed by the Italians in 1932.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




2 Early morning at Bisha, SW Eritrea

Sprott Global Research - site visits posted a photo:

2 Early morning at Bisha, SW Eritrea




Vintage Fiat Railcar

A Fiat TIBB (Tecnomasio Italiano Brown Boveri) 4-wheel diesel-mechanical railcar built by Brown Boveri of Switzerland (Works No.4067 of 1935) out of use in the yard at Mai Atal , on the lower coastal section of the Eritrean Railway. It originally worked on the Mogadishu-Villabruzzi (present day Jowrah) Railway, a 950mm gauge system, constructed between 1914 and 1927 by the Italian Somali-land colonial authorities. The railway ran through southern Somalia using Italian locomotives and equipment similar to those used in Eritrea. This line was subsequently dismantled by British troops during World War II, and some equipment, including this railcar, were moved to the Massawa-Asmara railway in Eritrea in 1942. In latter years, before the civil war, it was used as a mobile generator, and on 7th December 2014 was found abandoned in the freight yard at Mai Atal, near Massawa, along with a number of freight box wagons.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission

Here's an historic photo of it in Somalia:
www.trainweb.org/eritrean/scrapbook/who/ferrovie-colonial...




Beware of the Snakes!

Eritrean Railway articulated 'Mallet' 0-4-4-0 tank 442.55 crossing a high embankment between Nefasit and Arbaroba heading a demonstration freight on 8th December 2014. It was always a matter of watching the ground and treading extremely cautiously in rocky depressions like this, and of course wherever you attempted to go thorns were encountered!

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




A Thorny Issue

Mallet 442-59 drifts down the grade on the final two kilometres towards Asmara at sunset on 4th December 2014. This low aspect belies how difficult it was to get a low enough viewpoint precisely side-on at this location for the setting sun, just beyond the line's summit at just over 8,000 feet above sea level. The resultant thorns in the hands, knees and backside, plus one or two insect bites, arguably made it worthwhile.


Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Early Morning Shed Departure

Despite being situated just 1,000 miles north of the Equator, Asmara's altitude in the mountains at around 8,000 feet above sea level, ensures that the nights are cool and the early morning temperature is ideal for the veteran saturated steam locos to give off some white exhaust. At just after 7.00 am on 4th December 2014, Breda 1927-built 0-4-0 tank 202-002 leaves a trail of leaking steam as it moves off Asmara shed, passing two general-purpose bogie box wagons in quite presentable condition.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Moving off Shed

With a smoke ring launched as if to herald its movement off shed, Breda 950mm gauge 0-4-0 tank 202-002 heads for Asmara yard to collect some freight box wagons.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




"Lion of Africa"

A vintage Fiat 682N3 general purpose truck on the pass road at Adi Tekelezan, between Keren and Asmara in Eritrea on 30th November 2014. The Fiat 682 series was one of the first heavy trucks in Europe, with a construction period of between 1952 and 1988. One of Fiat's most common commercial vehicles with six cylinders and delivering 140 horsepower, it earned the nickname the "Lion of Africa".

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




East African Logistics

Looking across to the Gash-Barka mountains and beyond to the desert of Sudan at sunset on 30th November 2014, a long wheel-base flatbed truck plies the main route 11 serving Asmara with Khartoum, near Adi Tekelezan in Eritrea. The railway between Asmara and Keren, just beyond the truck in the valley, fell into disuse in the 1970s, and was detroyed by the ruling Derg regime in 1975.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission




Spoils of War

An Ethiopian Army BTR60PB armoured personnel carrier communications/command vehicle of Russian origin, 'knocked out' during the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, close to the Asmara to Keren road, probably in summer 1999. Parts of the country are littered with armoured vehicles, supposedly left as a reminder to the people of Eritrea of their success in the war, but which has cost the country dearly in so many ways.

Gordon Edgar - All rights reserved. Please do not use my images without my explicit permission

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eritrean%E2%80%93Ethiopian_War





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