A member of Sudan's security forces stands near the tracks as the new Nile Train. Sudanese and Chinese firms have been replacing wooden railway ties with concrete on the Khartoum-Atbara line, while track work has also started between Atbara and the trade centre of Port Sudan, he said. Rehabilitation of the line to Wad Medani, in Sudan's once-thriving agricultural heartland, will follow soon, Hussein said. After that, service by modern coaches like the like the Nile Train can be expanded
Sudan's new Nile Train passes through Khartoum. In a dilapidated, poverty-stricken country where some railway rolling stock is more than 40 years old, Sudan's sleek, sharp-nosed Nile Train is an unusual sight. From a distance it looks like a large white snake gliding past fields of green near the Nile River north of Khartoum.
Chinese workers busy themselves at Shanghai Hui Bo Investment Co’s factory in Khartoum. The plant is charged with manufacturing railway lines for the development of Sudan's network, and is currently producing 1,200 concrete sleepers a day, according to its Sudanese manager Sharaf Nasser. China, Sudan's biggest aid donor and one of its biggest investors, is playing a significant role in renewing the African country's railways.
An employee works inside the control room of Sudan's main railway station in Khartoum, where a daily cargo train has started running to Atbara, some 300 km north of the capital. The development is an initial sign of progress, as officials hope to renew between 1,000 and 2,000 km of track across the country within two years.
South Sudanese families prepare to board one of the still-functioning trains, which will transport them to Wau in South Sudan. Khartoum hopes that modernising the railways will help bolster Sudan’s economy, which has been plunged into crisis by the loss of most of the country's oil production since it split from South Sudan in 2011.
There are just 60 trains left running for the state railway operator, the Sudanese Railway Corp. They cannot travel at more than 40 km an hour because the network's British-designed wooden sleepers and tracks, mostly laid between 1896 and are too weak.
A Sudanese man changes the tracks in the engine room. An efficient rail system would be an asset for the country which has been desperate for hard currency since the loss of about 75 per cent of its oil production when South Sudan separated in 2011. Lack of money played a role in the railway's decline but so did political factors, according to the columnist, who said the government of President Omar al-Bashir, fearing labour unrest, dismissed thousands of skilled railway employees in the…
Sudanese passengers pass through the gates on the platform, in Khartoum. A bus ticket also costs about 50 percent more than the 51-pound ($6) train trip. Hassan Abdulmajid, 52, said he has already used the Nile Train four times and hopes other parts of the country will get a similar service. That is the plan, says Hussein, but the first obstacle to overcome is the track.
A man stands next to Sudan's new Nile Train. Hussein said every Nile Train service is almost full with an average passenger load of around 284. Sudan bought two of the trains from China at a total cost of around $13 million, which is being paid over about four years, he said.
Sudanese passengers stand at a platform of the new Nile Train. The train to Nyala, in war-torn Darfur, goes every two weeks, while another makes a weekly trip north of Atbara to Wadi Halfa near the Egyptian border. Even though track conditions have restricted speeds of the Nile Train, it has proven so popular that in March the railway doubled its frequency to twice daily in the corridor which is already heavily-travelled by buses, transport trucks and private cars.
A man walks down the aisle of Sudan's new Nile Train, in Khartoum. On January 20 the train began daily passenger service - Sudan's first in years - as part of efforts to revive the railway system despite an economic crisis that has left the country ravaged by inflation and starving for hard currency. "This new train is really, really modern," says Ahmed Hussein, the project manager for Sudan Railways Corporation.