Addis light rail project nears completion

Electrification phase of train lines

Electrification of the 34-km light rail network under construction in Addis Ababa has begun, with the installation of 850 masts, 143-km of overhead lines and electrification of its 18 sub-stations, as the project nears its final phase.

China Railway Engineering Corporation has been working on the $475-million project since late 2011, with funds from the Export-Import Bank of China, and the scheme is currently about 60 per cent complete.

The project, which should be ready in 2015, is being implemented by Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and is part of the nation's five-year “Growth and Transformation” programme.

Half of the double track electrified light rail transit lines extend over 17 km from east to west, from Ayat Village to Tor Hailoch, passing through Megenagna, Legehar and Mexico Square. The other 17-km on the north-south line passes through Menelik Square, Merkato, Lideta, Legehar, Meskel Square, Gotera and Kaliti.

The two lines share almost 3km of track between Meskel Square and Lideta. China CNR Corporation Limited, the state-owned locomotive group, is providing the 41 Light Rail Vehicles (LRV), with the first trains arriving later this year to allow three months of testing to begin in January. Once up and running the network will have a capacity of 15,000 passengers per hour in either direction.