The Addis-Djibouti Railway


The train station was a huge building in the middle of nowhere

Less than one month before I arrived in Ethiopia, the new Chinese built railway started running a passenger service between Addis Ababa and Djibouti City. The total duration of the train ride is twelve hours with three stops on the way, but I just joined from Dire Dawa which was an eight hour journey.

The whole experience was a bit surreal. Getting to and from the stations was a hassle, as they both were located far outside the cities. It felt a bit strange driving into the countryside and then seeing this huge, brand new railway station.

Once on board it was still a bit strange. They had carriages with first class sleepers and second class, but these were only used by the staff. They had a restaurant carriage, but with no food served. People just brought their own and bought from a lady who was just another passenger but was offering everything at a premium price.

The landscape was pretty nice with views over plains with lots of Acacia trees, goats, baboons and camels. Price of the journey was a bit steep at 20$/over three times the bus price but the ride was ten times more enjoyable.


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