Eritrea 2018 - 13: Levels (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Eritrea 2018 - 12: Full Steam from Arbaroba (50 p.)

Video for this series:

October 26 2018

442.55 steamed uphill from Arbaroba to Shegerini Friday before noon.

Mallet in action.

For the rest of the series, always remember this map including three levels of the line - four, if you count the other valley side:,_1998.svg

We have reached the mountainside below Shegerini on the lowest level close to the portal of tunnel 27. Tunnel 24 and the line from Arbaroba can be spotted to the right of the loco. In the upper left corner the monastery and Shegerini loop (station km 110,4) on the middle level. Devil's Gate (marked on the map "3 arch bridge" and "road overpass") is located behind the monastery.

Tunnel 24 next to the engine, tunnel 28 to the left above at Shegerini.

The train rolled back into tunnel 26 for several run-pasts. The little girl sadly did not have any shoes and probably soles like leather by now on such rocky terrain...

This village is home to the nicest kids of the area - of course we supplied them with the desired pencils.

First run-past below the monastery.

Second run-past in best spotlight.

A demonstration of the Mallet construction.

The boy next to the neatly arranged shoes did not move the whole time and was fascinated by the train.

A well-secured solar panel.

We always had the boiler pressure gauge in view from the carriage. Sometimes it reached indicated 16 bars only to be squeezed down to 4 bars within a short period of time after which the engine had to take an extended pressure cooking break.

Lunchtime at Shegerini.

The locomotive was uncoupled.

Two of us walked through tunnel 28... this awaits you on the other side!

The loco steamed past Devil's Gate a few minutes later.

The view from a little up the rocks is spectacular, but the ground below was being used as a public toilet due to the main road around the corner just out of sight.

We moved to the road.

The reason for the single engine: the already known water truck was able to refill the tank from the road overpass.

A lost nakfa bill on the road was safely deposited in the well-protected donation box.

As the water taking procedure was due to take a while, I walked uphill to explore the monastery.

I reached the church - closed at the moment - past a few inhabited buildings.

Relatively new terrace with view.

Probably an Eritrean hot dog factory...

The road overpass has had to endure some punishment.

Water only filled one of the two tanks - and after a while it seemed like the level did not rise anymore.

442.55 returned downhill 45 minutes later.

Walking on the highway, we caught it again at the station entrance next to an informative board.

We took our buses to a viewpoint while the train was rolling down to the lowest level.

It started uphill...

Entering tunnel 26 - tunnel 22 and the bridge we had taken pictures of in the morning in the background.

All three levels.

Panorama consisting of several portrait-format photos. The train only made it this far before steam pressure had to be built up again.

So, I changed position to a view of the long tunnel 27. The engine crew did not want to go further back a second time.
Half an hour later, the train departed again.

Wide angle with upper level and African mountain village. Steam hid the locomotive at the spot in front, so I chose this picture.

The air was swarming with birds of prey, interestingly different species at each side of the mountain. I got hit by bird droppings from high altitude, and twice again at Asmara - this had to mean an incredibly auspicious trip! ;-)

We took up position at a farmstead.

View to bridge and main road on the other side of the valley.

The sky had darkened as the train approached an hour later.

No pumpkins being transported by pickup truck, just the good old yellow canisters.
However, donkeys had not been replaced - see video here:

Panoramic view.

Next, we moved to Devil's Gate. I comfortably took a seat closer to the tracks than usual. After one hour, already at almost 4 p.m., the engine steamed past us.

Notice the landslide in front of the bridge.

We spent the remaining hour of daylight bringing the train home. Some of us were busy during pressure build-up breaks and sanded the rails.

Next time, the grand finale will be starting! :)

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Spectacular. Even with the excellent photos and map, it is hard to get the proper perspective of the geography, elevation, different levels and 3.3% grade. I think one can truly say, "You had to be there." 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.