Ethiopia: Woldiya–Kombolcha–Awash railway line to cost US$1.7bn

Awash Woldia Hara Gebeya railway line

Construction of the 375 kilometer Woldiya–Kombolcha–Awash electrified railway line, whose foundation stone was laid in February this year by the Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, will cost US$1.7bn.

As part of the 1500km railway network being undertaken in the country, the line is being realized after the initial contract for its construction was signed two years ago with Turkish Yapi Merkezi Company.

The line represents an extension to the further southeast of the Mekele-Hara Gebeya – Woldiya, which was launched before it. The railway line will be extended further to link Tajura in Djibouti.

It will be funded by the Turkish EX-IM bank and the Credit Swiss Consortium including Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. As an electrified railway system, it will be expected to cut down transit times between the Northern and Eastern regions and Ethiopia-Djibouti. It will also reduce Ethiopia’s dependence on fossil fuel. The Mekele–Woldiya line will be funded by Chinese EX-IM bank.

Ethiopia is already undertaking massive infrastructure projects such as the Addis Ababa Light railway line, which is an already complete and undergoing testing phase, and has been described as largely successful project. The 475 million dollar project came to completion this year after being started in 2012.

The Awash Woldia / Hara Gebeya railway line will be 447km long. Construction of 389km new rail line, 40km maintenance lines and 18km station lines will be carried out. Also planned for construction includes new tunnels, three terminal stations with two platforms, and six intermediate stations with a single. The line will also have a dedicated operation control tower built for itself. Mainline signaling for the Awash – Woldia was awarded to Bombardier by Yapi Merkezi last year.

The overhead catenary will see electricity provided for the main railway line, depot and stabling lines. Other facilities to be constructed adjacent to the railway station will be two maintenance facilities, warehouse, generator rooms, maintenance and painting workshop, mechanical service building, wash services, service and commercial buildings.

The new railway line is also expected to contribute to an economic revolution being envisioned by the country. “This project would speed up Ethiopia’s economic growth and development by facilitating for a smooth import-export,” Ethiopian Minister of Transport Workineh Gebeyehu said at the launch. Turkish Ambassador to Ethiopia Osman Riza Yavuzalp, and President of the Afar Regional State were also present at the launch of the Woldiya–Kombolcha–Awash railway project.

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