|ETIOPIA ..Addis Abeba to Djibouti ....... by Giorgio Cosulich .....<< Etiopia.......Photography .....ARTeUTILe|
the 1800's last decade, the swiss technician Alfred Ilg, assistant to
the ethiopian Emperor Menelik, dreamt of realising an ambitious project:
a 780km railway able to connect, Addis Abeba, capital of Ethiopia, to
the french territories in Somalia, today one big Country: Djibouti, along
the Red Sea Cost.
In order to build each kilometer of the railway, 70 tons of tracks, sleepers, and telegraph poles. To maintain the productions costs low, the decision was to have just one track, therefore only one train was supposed to go back and forth.
The railway was completed just before 1918, it took approximately twenty years. Due to the fact that it had not been built across the border of Addis Abeba, the powerful colonizers as France, England and Italy agreed on assign it to France. As of today the railway it is extremely important for the ethiopian economy, especially since 1998 when, on the borders, Ethiopia came into conflict with Eritrea.
Nowadays the majority of the import - export activity happens through the railway. The journey from Addis Abeba to Djibouti lasts two days, you need to exchange train at Dire Dawa, an ethiopian village 472 km far from Addis Abeba. The entire crossing mesures 780 km, and the average speed of the train is 30 km/h. There are numberless stops along the way, mainly in the middle of nowhere.
One's carries what so ever on the train, especially the "chat", a local herb, as a matter of fact is an exciting drug which they chew all the time. The consumption of it is legal in Ethiopia and Djibouti too, but the individual trade, usually, is not allowed, although the most experienced traders work on the train, infact they represent the majority of the passengers, and nowadays they have sharpened their ways of trading which go beyond anyone's expectation!