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Addis Ababa light rail opens

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, celebrated the opening of the first light rail system in sub-Saharan Africa on 20 September when it inaugurated passenger service on line 1 of its 34km system. This is a 16.9km north-south link from Menilik II Square to Kality with 23 stations. Line 2, a 17.4km east-west line from Ayat to Tor Hailoch was to follow in October.

The system is wholly segregated and partly elevated; there is one subway station. The two lines share a common section of 2.7km between Lideta and Stadium. Construction started in December 2011. Service is provided 06.00-22.00 daily. Tickets cost from ETB2 to ETB 6. The light rail system has been built by China Railway Engineering Corporation. Chinese rolling stock manufacturer CNR Changchun has delivered a fleet of 41 three-section 70% low-floor trams. The cars were built with special attention to ultra-violet light, which is strong in the city 2400m above sea level, and have tinted windows.

Some of the 136 tram drivers were trained in China. Chinese banks have financed 85% of the USD 474M project cost, and the Ethiopian government the remainder. CREC and Shenzhen Metro Group have a USD 116M five-year contract to maintain the standard-gauge system, which is operated by Ethiopian Railways Corporation.

24 Septmber 2015


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