Eritrea 2018 - 2: Dusk till Dawn (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
By Double Bod to Double Rod - 1 (50 p.)

Video for this series:

October 21 2018

We start with a wide-angle view of the 4-arch viaduct, only to return here at the end of this part.

The landscape had gone through massive changes the past century. The terraces you see originate from plantations during Italian colonial times. Nowadays, almost nothing is grown on the mountainsides. Most of the trees had been cut down during the 1970s and 80s war, that's why felling of trees is strictly forbidden today.

Observed by the ubiquitous group of children, we boarded a covered goods wagon. We sat on some benches standing on quite dubious floor planks.

Next stop: the wedding society we already had spotted upon arrival.


The train had to return to Devil's Gate to quickly take water, then a donkey was pushed out of the way.

Spotlight thanks to donkey-delay.

We steamed uphill to the next spot with a view.


A second run-past at one of the few forested places along the mountain line.

Mountain and cloud backdrop had to fit into the picture, so this became a 3x2 panorama.

The class 440 climbed over the summit. At 5:20 p.m., we had reached the kilometre 115 crossing above Asmara which also served as base for the sunset run-pasts.

We waited for the sunset around 6 o'clock, it already was windy and cool.

Bovine meeting.

Rain showers could be seen in the distance - luckily, we did not feel a drop the whole trip. From Tuesday, the weather forecast would be better.

Pan shot - with long shutter time for this high-speed train.

Finally, at 5:55 p.m., the sunlight lit the cloud layer from below.

Seven minutes and several express-runs later the spectacle had come to an end.

We boarded the busses at dark Asmara station and drove to our Savanna International Hotel. I still had to check into my room, then an international buffet followed as dinner in the dining hall.

October 22 2018

I went to bed early, departure next morning was at 5:30 a.m. The same composition as the day before stood ready at the platform.

Our train left the station shortly before six o'clock.

The loco ran around the wagons at the already known crossing station. But what was that light? Had the engine crew found a switch for a previously hidden end-of-train device?


Shunting was quick, but out of some reasons the tarpaulins on the flat cars had been removed overnight - it was going to take a while to put them up again.

Across the summit, we immediately stopped at the sunrise spot. Quickly up the hill, the sun was just shining through the cloud layers!

The first run-past, and the sun had risen behind the upper layer.

The engine did not get far on these steep, slippery rails. By the end of the week we had learned to sand the rails ourselves, nobody from the railway staff moved a finger to do it.

Train between the clouds.

From the opposite side.

Until now, no run-past had been completed. The train manager himself spurred on the crew trackside.

It still did not work.

A short discussion.

Yeah, finally made it!
The tries on video:

As the timing had not been perfect, we would go for the sunrise again by the end of the week.

We rolled downhill to the 4-arch viaduct. Electric lines to the mountainside hamlets had been installed five years ago, water still must be carried by donkey. This would be an ideal regular job for the railway...

Meeting of donkey caravans.

What starts with a "K", and you can wear it over your shoulder?

View into the mountains, weather unknown. We would continue downhill past Arbaroba in the afternoon.

A first run-past across the viaduct, some photographer colleagues have been replaced by donkeys... ;-)

Next time: more donkey-viaduct-images, after the morning session we will visit Asmara depot.
Roni, As always, this set of photos is outstanding. Thank you for taking the time to post them. Wonderful scenery and nice railroad subjects. And there is that human touch. I can't wait to see some more. Dan Simmering 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.