Ethiopian SGR the worst SGR experience ever.BBC news.9th september

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Letter from Africa: 'I gave up on catching the train in Ethiopia'
  • 9 September 2019

Image copyrightAFP
In our series of letters from African journalists, Ismail Einashe writes about his failed attempt to catch a train in Ethiopia despite the hype around a new Chinese-built railway.
In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, it is hard to miss the large advertising boards along the traffic-clogged streets that promise "new railway, new life".
The signs are for the $4.5bn (£3.6bn) Chinese-built Addis-Djibouti standard gauge railway (SGR) connecting landlocked Ethiopia's 100 million people with tiny Djibouti on the Red Sea.
The 750km (465 mile) railway line began operations in January 2018 and is Africa's first electrified cross-border railway.
Trains hit camels
For Ethiopia this is more than just a railway project, it is the crown jewel in the development ambitions of Africa's fastest-growing economy, which aspires to reach middle-income status by the mid-2020s.
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionChina has become a major investor in Ethiopia
But since the SGR opened it has experienced financial and operational difficulties.
In January train services were halted for a while over security concerns in the Afar region, following protests against the government and ethnic clashes between Somalis and Afars.
And last year a stoppage was caused by trains colliding with camels, leading to pastoralists demanding the government compensate them for the loss of their precious livestock.
Visiting the old French-built station
Yet ever since I heard the SGR had opened in Ethiopia I was desperate to take the train, which departs every other day at 0800 local time.
I had planned to travel from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa, a city in Ethiopia I had not seen in over 25 years.
Image copyrightANADOLU AGENCYImage captionA new station built with China's help opened in Addis Ababa in 2016
But my excitement soon turned to frustration when I realised how difficult it would be to buy a ticket - in neighbouring Kenya you go on the SGR website, buy your ticket and pay via the money mobile service, M-Pesa, but in Ethiopia things were a little more difficult.
I went on its SGR website and only found a number for a ticket office at the old French-built Addis Terminus in the heart of the city.
I kept calling, but no-one picked up. In the end, I braved the torrential rain to go to the grand old station.
Image copyrightART IN ALL OF USImage captionEthiopia's rail network was neglected for decades
Once there, however, trying to find the ticket office also proved difficult. The guards looked bemused by my inquiry.
When I did find it on the first floor, the woman behind the wooden desk seemed equally bemused by my request for a return ticket.
She told me to wait for her manager. He in turn said they did not sell the train tickets - but if I wanted bus tickets, I could buy those.
If it was the train I really wanted, he said I should go to the new Chinese-built station outside Addis Ababa and buy my ticket there.

Ismail Einashe
The building, which looked like it had been parachuted directly from China to Ethiopia, was completely deserted.
Ismail Einashe
Journalist

The manager assured me the SGR was working, but advised I arrive early - by 06:30.
I felt reassured, until the next problem - finding the location of this new station.
It is not as easy as you may imagine, first of all the station is not yet on Google Maps and locals seemed clueless.
Forced to fly
At last a hotel receptionist found me a taxi driver in the know, who said it was a 90-minute drive away - and would cost $18, almost as expensive as the train ticket.
So we set off on a cold, wet, dark Tuesday at 05:00.
We drove past the changing landscape of Bole district in Addis Ababa, where I used to live - but it's now very different: full of huge, newly built hotels and malls.
We drove along a newly built road for several kilometres before the large Furi-Labu railway station appeared from nowhere.
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThe new station is supposed to be a source of pride for Ethiopians
The building, which looked like it had been parachuted directly from China to Ethiopia, was completely deserted - only a soldier stood guard, with a few Chinese workers roaming around.
It felt eerie, as if abandoned. I walked up the huge concrete steps and spoke to the soldier who told me the station had been closed for at least "two weeks" as there were technical issues with track near Dire Dawa.

There would be no trains that morning.
I returned to the hotel - again covered in mud after torrential rain - left with no choice but to fly.
But the internet was down - not an unusual situation in Ethiopia these days - so I had to book my flight by phone.
And by the time I should have been arriving at Dire Dawa's new station at 15.50 that day, I was instead in the departure lounge at Addis Ababa airport waiting for my gate to be announced.
 
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ya Tanzania itakua tu hivo hivo
 
Tony254

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Afadhali ya Kenya ina elevations na bridges kibao kuhakikisha mambo ya kugonga ng'ombe haipo. Pia imewekwa fence kuzuia wanyama pori kuingia pasipokuwa na njia. Ya Tanzania haina grade elevations kama ya Kenya. Ngoja uone ng'ombe zikianza kugongwa na kufanya derailment kila siku. Cheap is expensive in the long run
 
babayao255

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babayao255

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Mnakuwaga na akili fupi sana hadi aibu,
Kwani SGR ya Tz imeshamalizika kujengwa?
Mnateseka sana wajuba.
Afadhali ya Kenya ina elevations na bridges kibao kuhakikisha mambo ya kugonga ng'ombe haipo. Pia imewekwa fence kuzuia wanyama pori kuingia pasipokuwa na njia. Ya Tanzania haina grade elevations kama ya Kenya. Ngoja uone ng'ombe zikianza kugongwa na kufanya derailment kila siku. Cheap is expensive in the long run
 
MOTOCHINI

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Afadhali ya Kenya ina elevations na bridges kibao kuhakikisha mambo ya kugonga ng'ombe haipo. Pia imewekwa fence kuzuia wanyama pori kuingia pasipokuwa na njia. Ya Tanzania haina grade elevations kama ya Kenya. Ngoja uone ng'ombe zikianza kugongwa na kufanya derailment kila siku. Cheap is expensive in the long run
Mada ni Ethiopia
Ulivyo Kilaza Mada umeigeuzia SGR ya Tanzania
Huwa mnatumia Makalio Kufikiria au!!!
 
Venus Star

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Tulia uone the best of them all,,, yenu ndo itakua hvyo coz hatuwapi project zetu wachina wachina, ile daraja ndo ilikua the last
Hawa jamaa wako ka ushamba fulani. Hawana amani kabisa wakiona majirani wanaendelea. Natatafuta tu negative thing ili kufurahisha mioyo yao.
 
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Hawa jamaa wako ka ushamba fulani. Hawana amani kabisa wakiona majirani wanaendelea. Natatafuta tu negative thing ili kufurahisha mioyo yao.
Nyani haoni kundule ...

Wewe Venus Star ,Joto la Mwitu,Babayao228,Motochini ,Giza Ulale ,Redeemer nyie wote ni watanzania wanaopenda sana kuona na kutafuta negative things about Kenya ili kufurahisha mioyo yenu chafu.
 
babayao255

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babayao255

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Ushawahi ona nikileta negative bila kuchokozwa? ukinichokoza kweli nakuletea negative hadi utalogout au utegee ulogin usiku watu wakiwa wamelala,
Usipo tuchokoza sina muda na nyie, ila ukijaribu nakupa tu moja kubwa.
Nyani haoni kundule ...

Wewe Venus Star ,Joto la Mwitu,Babayao228,Motochini ,Giza Ulale ,Redeemer nyie wote ni watanzania wanaopenda sana kuona na kutafuta negative things about Kenya ili kufurahisha mioyo yenu chafu.
 
Venus Star

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Nyani haoni kundule ...

Wewe Venus Star ,Joto la Mwitu,Babayao228,Motochini ,Giza Ulale ,Redeemer nyie wote ni watanzania wanaopenda sana kuona na kutafuta negative things about Kenya ili kufurahisha mioyo yenu chafu.
Unadhani hii ilitokana na nini!? Ni baada ya kuchoshwa na inferiority complex ya wakenya. Kutafuta kijilinganisha kwa kila kitu na nchi zingine. Huo ni utoto.
 
Teargass

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Teargass

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Albino eater is lying in broad daylight like their demigod President Maku-Fool.
Ushawahi ona nikileta negative bila kuchokozwa? ukinichokoza kweli nakuletea negative hadi utalogout au utegee ulogin usiku watu wakiwa wamelala,
Usipo tuchokoza sina muda na nyie, ila ukijaribu nakupa tu moja kubwa.
 
Teargass

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Teargass

Teargass

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Ni super bana,ebu kula albino pole pole
Unadhani hii ilitokana na nini!? Ni baada ya kuchoshwa na inferiority complex ya wakenya. Kutafuta kijilinganisha kwa kila kitu na nchi zingine. Huo ni utoto.
 
babayao255

babayao255

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babayao255

babayao255

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Njaa imewapunguzia uwezo wa kufikiri kichwa kinawaza chuki na ukabila muda wowote,
Failed state ninyi.

Albino eater is lying in broad daylight like their demigod President Maku-Fool.
 

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