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Eritrea November 2007
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November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

 

 

From Asmara to Nefasit by train - November 23 2007

 

"8:00 at the railway station" was the instruction. When I arrive exactly in time, railway workers are preparing the train. Locomotives and railcars are shunted to form the final set of equipment: the steam train, one passenger car and a cargo wagon. Sacks are filled with coal and either used to heat up the engine, or stored in the cargo wagon as a reserve for the return trip.

At 9:30 the train leaves for the 25 kilometer trip to Nefasit. The views from the train are breathtaking, as it passes cliffs, valleys, tunnels and bridges. More then once we pass the wreck of a car that must have overseen a curve in the Asmara - Massawa road, with a fatal result.

Short stops on stations and scenic highlights allow the passengers to make short walks around the train and to make pictures, while the railway men load more cargo. Children are surrounding the train with excitement and wave their hands to us.

In Nefasit children are trying to earn some money by presenting themselves as guides. They ask me if I want to visit the Bizen monastry. Others want a pencil. But I didn't bring any. I ignore them by choosing my own track through the village.

We have to wait until 14:00 for the group of Japanese adventure tourists that will make the trip from Nefasit to Asmara, coming from Massawa by bus. They will be accompanied by Eritrean racing cyclists, journalists of ERI-TV and representatives of the Eritrean Ministry of Information..

Shortly after leaving Nefasit, the train passes a bent with to much speed. The cargo wagon derails. Men jump off the train and shout to the driver to stop the train. With three hydraulic jacks the railway men try to push the wagon back on track, with no success. The wagon is disconnected and cargo is moved to the locomotive and to the balcony of the passenger car.

In Arberebou we are guided through an underground facility that collects and stores rain water and has specially been constructed to refill the steam locomotives water tanks. More them once we have to step over a deep concrete hole that is used as a water basin.

Using an outside track, we descend the water storage hill to return to the train. As a result of the unexpected delay, we arrive in Asmara at 17:00, where I pay the 50 dollar for the trip, and say goodbye to the other passengers that will continue their adventure tour.

 

Preparing the train for the trip to Nefasit - Asmara railway station.

Preparing the train for the trip to Nefasit - Asmara railway station.

The loco man in his cabin - Eritrean Railways Asmara Eritrea.

The loco man in his cabin - Eritrean Railways Asmara Eritrea.

Ready for boarding - Asmara railway station.

Ready for boarding - Asmara railway station.

View from the train - Landscape between Asmara and Nefasit.

View from the train - Landscape between Asmara and Nefasit.

View from the train - Landscape of Arberebou Eritrea.

View from the train - Landscape of Arberebou Eritrea.

Railway station - Nefasit Eritrea.

Railway station - Nefasit Eritrea.

Greasing the trains drive - Nefasit Eritrea.

Greasing the trains drive - Nefasit Eritrea.

Recovering the derailed cargo wagon - Nefasit Eritrea.

Recovering the derailed cargo wagon - Nefasit Eritrea.

View from the train - Landscape between Asmara and Nefasit.

View from the train - Landscape between Asmara and Nefasit.

Enjoying the scenic views between Asmara and Nefasit.

Enjoying the scenic views between Asmara and Nefasit.

 

 

 
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