Eritrea 2018 - 3: Tunnel Views (50 p.) is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Eritrea 2018 - 2: Dusk till Dawn (50 p.)

Video for this series:

October 22 2018

We start once again at the already known 4-arch viaduct with also known 440.008 at 7:30 a.m.

A video-screenshot.

And a vertical 1x3 panorama - the mood was approaching "Gor... Mallets in the mist"-territory - but we will get to that in the next report part.


Donkey love - be careful, the water canister seems to be leaking!


Let's see if this repair method has an effect. These universal canisters in various sizes even enjoy a second life in a sawn-off state, for example as key holder for the hotel room cleaning staff. A lady managed to loose my giant wooden key - after a few days it reappeared as mysteriously ad it had disappeared.

Full sun while rolling downhill.

The donkey boys had enough.

A final run-past at 8:20 a.m., then we had to move towards Asmara due to lack of water.

Not without stopping at the highest tunnel of the currently active line, #29. Also notice the construction of the articulated Mallet.


The train then passed through this lovely forested S-curve.


Back at Asmara Central at 10 o'clock, we had half an hour to explore the compound.

Above the station stood an Eritrean Orthodox church:

I recorded some chanting:


"D.eposito L.ocomotive" from 1911. In a later part I will tell you more about the history of the railway and Eritrea in general.

Something was being melted...

... and cast.

The line-up of bigger Mallets: 442.54, .55 and .56. You can guess how many we were about to see in action - we did not have a clue at that time.


View towards the other side of the yard, Nda Mariam (or: Enda Mariam) Eritrean Orthodox cathedral to the right.

The train was just shunting from the platform to the depot.

This is Ural "loco" #2 which had been converted in 1997 from one bogie of Fiat Littorina #6 driven by a Yaroslavl Motor Plant (YaMZ) 236 V6 diesel with 180 hp.

Four Krupp diesel locomotives had been imported in 1959 from Germany, numbered 25D-28D. Here 27D (Krupp #3602 / built in 1957), the MAN engine had to be downgraded from 650 to 550 hp due to the altitude. Originally, they had been procured for the mountain line but soon were transferred to the flatter Asmara - Keren - Agordat section where they remained in regular service until its closure in 1975.

The story behind the yellow diesel locos from Italy which just have arrived this year is well explained by Thomas Kautzor here (in German):,8729186,8729701#msg-8729701


Eritrean TGV #001!

Littorinetta in front of Littorina railcars. The term originates from fascist times and refers to the bundles ("fasces") carried by the lictors - Roman civil servants - as an emblem of their authority. Under Mussolini, Italian railcars wore the fascist symbol on their fronts.
The smaller railcar is no Fiat but built in Eritrea from parts produced by various Italian companies. During British rule (1941-52), it was also known as "Trickling Truck" because it delivered wages to the workers along the line.

The bigger Littorinas were constructed by Fiat 1934-36. Back then, they managed the trip Massawa - Asmara in four hours, the steam service took ten.


National colours to the left, to the right a livery passenger carriages also had worn. The green livery similar to the one from the 1960s you see today has been reintroduced upon request by rail photographers.

A lot of yellow!

Yes, both are railway coaches! ;-)

Mirrored in the station windows.

We took the buses to the hotel, I snapped a couple of impressions on the way through the city centre. Later, we spent a whole day sightseeing, I will include images in the coming reports.
Note the background to the right – on the other side of Asmara a building had been designed so it looks like a bus.

The bus stop gang.

Road works featuring a rolling lady.

The Great Mosque of Asmara, built 1937-38. Around it, you can spot a few of many Art Deco buildings.


Notice the Colgate toothpaste black market on the pavement to the right.

I walked down the street from the hotel in the diplomats' quarter finding this Fiat 1100 (probably not from 1953).

After some rest and lunch at the garden restaurant - pizza this time - we went by bus downhill to Arbaroba. The line once more changes valleys here, on a bridge at the Asmara end of the station. It is known as weather divide and often in the clouds.




Ural loco number one with racing stripes: already converted in 1995/96 using the other bogie of Littorina #6.

A "historic" photograph.

Details brought back the smartphone age.

We quickly rolled downhill to double tunnel view #13 and 14. Due to lack of space, three run-pasts were planned. For the first one I stood above tunnel 14 - soon 440.008 was steaming out of tunnel 13.

To the left you can notice the further uphill line through several more tunnels. I uploaded the panorama in higher resolution here:


Classic tunnel view.

The third run-past from a hillside behind the group.

Next time, we will steam uphill past Arbaroba to Shegerini! :) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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