Addis Ababa’s welcomes over the opening of its Light Railway
Sub-Sahara’s first ever Light Railway began operations in Addis Ababa on Sunday (September 20).The Addis Ababa Rail Transit Project covers a total length of 34.25 kilometers, running east-west and north-south across the city. The north-south section is the part that opened on Sunday; the east-west line will start next month. Its development has been one of the major projects of the just finished Growth and Transformation Plan 1. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Transport, hailed the AA-LRT project as a historic achievement for the modernization of Addis Ababa city and a vital element in addressing the city’s transport problems. The railway is not for commercial purposes; it is solely for individual transport. Tickets are very cheap and will allow everybody to use it. The trains will have the capacity to carry 80,000 passengers across the capital of the continent’s second most populous nation. It is said to be a major step to deal with Addis Ababa’s traffic jams and will provide an indirect boost to an already booming economic development. 85% of the $475 million cost of the Addis Ababa Rail Transit project, which began construction of the double track electrified light rail transit project in December 2011, is covered by the Chinese Exim Bank.