Eritrea 2009

Updated 5 June 2014

The DVD is ready. One of the first purchasers (W.B. from Surrey, UK) emailed me to say: 'Eritrea DVD arrived today. Fascinating scenes and amazing civil engineering. One of the most interesting DVDs I have seen.'

This is now a double DVD to ensure the best quality image and avoid problems sometimes associated with long single DVDs.  The photo above is of the original single version. The first 3 sections are 100% steam and feature the two classes of Ansaldo mallets that operated the line in the past. These are rare beasts indeed. Despite the name 'Diesel Traction' for the final parts, some steam also features here as well and this short part primarily shows the trip from Asmara to Ghinda by Littorina (the 1930s art deco railcar that once offered an express service on the line). Compared with the other Eritrea DVDs available, you will find (I believe) that this one is longer, reasonably priced (at 15 plus postage), is recent footage (from March 2009), covers the whole line from the port of Massawa to the capital Asmara, uses both classes of mallet (440 and 442) and features coaches and freight wagons in pleasantly authentic traditional colours along with 'real', local passengers on the passenger trains. This double DVD is 18 + postage. Payment options are PayPal, cheque or bank transfer. Contact me if you would like to order a copy.

I was on a Farrail trip to Eritrea 5-15 March 2009. The next Farrail trip to Eritrea is January 2010 and can be highly recommended. Details of the trip I was on are still currently available on the Farrail website. Bernd has also put lots of excellent photos along with a report on the trackbed beyond Asmara to Keren and Agordat as well as details of the 2010 trip.

Early morning at Ghinda on Day 5.

watering a mallet

Taking water at Nefasit on Day 5 of the trip.

Trip up the line

The DVD of the trip will show a trip up the line from Massawa to Asmara. I have almost finished editing the Massawa to Ghinda section which we covered behind 442.55. Here are some video stills from the footage.

Massawa Port - night

The group had a night shoot which was primarily of interest to the still photographers.

Massawa Port - day

A similar view by day with a container ship from Singapore unloading.

Crossing the Causeway

The classic shot from the roof of the former UN building which is being converted back to a hotel. Unfortunately, the day was overcast.


In a suburban station that I believe to be Otumlo, 2 English Drewry diesel locos were parked on a passenger train of open wagons. Whether this train is used for a regular passenger service is not know.


I'm sure these camels didn't just happen to be there but they do provide a nice foreground to the train on the longest bridge on the line at Moncullo.


The station at Dogali and the palms still show clear evidence of the battle for Eritrean independence

Mai Atal

The long lunch break here gave a chance to inspect the remain of Brown Boveri diesel (seen on the left) which was probably designed to replace the Breda locos on shunting duties. It's no more than a shell but is back on the tracks again.

Here is a video clip of the section to Damas:



A signalman waves the train into the station at Damas. If he is employed full-time, he has something of a quiet job.

The station in the background is some distance from the village.

Raising steam

The more the gradient increased, the more frequent were the stops to raise steam. This was one of the last stops before dark. We did finally make it to Ghinda after dark.

Bernd Seiler has put up a number of illustrated reports of the trip at

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