Addis Ababa light rail planned, proposed interurban
A 100km rapid transit link between Addis Ababa and Nazareth is being developed as a joint effort of the Ethiopian government and various private sector interests.
The 15 station line, more of an interurban than light rail, would use either new rail track parallel to the existing Ethio-Djibouti Railway, or updated track to the existing railway. Services would run every 10 minutes, serving stations in Meskel Flower, Gottera, Ring Road, Kaliti, Akake, Dukem, Debre Ziet and Mojo. Also included would be an electric trolleybus feeder system. Power would be supplied by the Ethiopian Electric & Power Authority (EEPA).
Project Director Dr Getachew Betru of GBA Consultancy, who rumour has it also sits on the board of the EEPA, says the line would be built by a public-private partnership and take two years to complete. Dr. Betru claimed the project. already endorsed by the government, is due to begin construction in March of 2005.
As of mid-2011, no project had begun. It appeared the Ethiopian government had chosen, and very foolishly might I add, to focus on frivolities like food and shelter rather than the desperately needed metro. In 2010, the government realized the importance of mass transit over food and housing by declaring that a 2nd line, 30 km light rail system would be built, thanks to a massive loan from China. Part of the loan will be paid back in raw materiels. When criticized by the West for enaging in a Chinese colonialist mentality, the Ethiopian president wisely stated “It’s in their (China’s) interest to spend tens of billions of dollars in Africa and it’s in our interest to have access to those tens of billions of dollars.” Which is very similar to what I told that collector from Capital One a few nights ago.
For all those doubting Solomons and Biruks, work on the 37.38 km Addis Express was already underway in December 2011, when the contract was awarded to China Railway Eryuan Engineering, which begs one to wonder if the award was somewhat of a formality. The first section of the two line system is expected to open in 2013.
Unfortunately, many residents enjoy substandard housing without running water, so the prospect of a new rail line seems unusual.
Ethiopia also claims to have three subways, but they are in reality three different mountain tunnels.