Friday, May 13, 2011

The sahel express.... remainders of the great days of railroading (7)

Construction work using forced labour on the Dakar–Niger Railway began at the end of the 19th century under the French general Gallieni commander of French Sudan

The railroad connected the Niger River with the port of Dakar. The line was completed at the beginning of the 20th century, the Kayes-Koulikoro section being inaugurated in 1904, but the final section of line did not open until 1924.

The line covers a course of 1,287 km of which 641 km lies in Mali.The track gauge is 1000 mm

Engines in the station in Dakar. End february, the suburban commuter trains were not running due to bad tracks.
The railway uses old Indian 1000 mm engines and coaches, which are not needed there any more since the Indians change to broad gauge
Open air repair shop in the Dakar station
The railway is in a much worse shape in Senegal than in Mali. Freight trains run all the way to Koulikouro beyond Bamako, but there are passenger trains only in Mali between Bamako and Kayes close to the Senegal border.
The border station at Kayes

The fantastic colonial hotel du rail in Kayes....

....and its reception....
.... and restaurant

Mali is dependant on the railroad. It has no ports and the railroad is the only means of transportation to the next sea port at Dakar 
The freight trains entering Mali are fully loaded. The trains leaving Mali are empty.... they don't produce a lot. Here a freight train at Bamako station. The railroad is owned by trainsrail, a canadian company
Three times a week this train connects Bamako and Kayes at the border. It could also run somewhere in Radjastan
The Bamako - Kayes train leaves at 7.15 in Bamako and arrives in Kayes at 22.00.
It stops at all intermediate stations. For some people, this is the only chance to make a couple of RFA six times a week.
The bargains are made at the train window. The train is safe. Non-passengers are not allowed to board, there are security guards and all the seats are reserved
In between the many stops, the train rides about 80, which is quite good for the circumstances.
A "griot", a traveling singer on the train

Village on the way from Bamako to Kayes
Station restaurant and....
....local luggage transport
Accidents seem to happen. In Senegal, 5 were killed on May, 13th 2009

A station mosque

Bamako station

Inside the station hall 
One of the passenger cars.... not used any more. This former French car used to go from Bamako to Dakar
The nice former conductor, who opened the doors for me at Bamako station
Mostly people are honest in Mali. A lost passport awaiting its owner at Bamako station