From Toronto to Chicago, Istanbul and Mexico city, modern metro lines are a major component of commuters’ means of moving from one end to another. Meanwhile, Africa until recently has not had much investment in modern rail infrastructure but that is slowly changing.
A major component of a progressive, urban city in today’s world is the availability of fast and modern rail lines popularly referred to as the Metro line (short for metropolitan) along with other means of public transportation like road and water. In fact, commuters in many western counties are known to prefer taking the metro lines since they are fast, on time and cheap.
In this piece, we take a look at five cities in Africa with modern rail lines.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital
Launched in Dec. 2016, Addis Ababa’s Metro is the first modern light rail system in Africa. With a population of about four million people of which 3.5 million are minibus taxi users, the train is expected to transport the remaining 1.5 million people.
It runs from Addis Ababa’s main industrial area on its southern fringe, through the trading district of Merkato, to the popular and historic centre of Piazza.
Morocco’s 183km Tangiers – Kenitra line was commissioned in November 2019 and is said to be Africa’s first ‘high-speed’ line. Initially billed for completion in December 2015, the project suffered a number of setbacks. It is a regional inter-city train that transports about 3 to 6 million passengers a year and operates at speeds of up to 320km/h.
The Algiers Metro is a rapid transit system that serves Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It was originally designed in the 1970s but opened in 2011 after several delays and postponements. The first section of the metro line in Algiers runs mainly underground, is 9.5 km long and has ten stations.
Line 1 which has three extensions and starts from Haï el Badr, is located in the southeast of Tafourah Grande Poste. The line runs north and curves to the west, running parallel to Algeria’s coastline.
Extension B connects Hai El Badr with El Harrach. It passes through Bachdjarah Tennis, Bachdjarah, El Harrach Gare and El Harrach centre stations. Extension C is yet to be completed. The 1.4km-long third extension will run from Emir Abdelkader to Place des Martyrs.
Tunis is the capital city of Tunisia as well as its largest. With a population of 2.7 million, the greater metropolitan area of Tunis is the region’s fourth-largest and sixteenth-largest in the Arab world.
The Tunis Metro started in 1985 but has gone through different upgrades at different points through the years. It runs a light rail system with tracks at surface level but goes underground at some points.
With an estimated 20 million population, Cairo is easily one of the most densely populated cities. The Cairo Metro as of August 2020 has 74 stations, with a total length of 89.4 kilometres (55.6 mi). It is reported to have transported up to 3.5 million passengers per day in 2019. The system consists of operational lines numbered 1 to 4 with 3 and 4 yet to be operational.
Completed in 1989, Line 1 is 43km-long with 4.5km underground section. It has 35 stations and covers the Egyptian capital from the north to the south.
Line 2 was built in two phases, one in 1997 and the other in 2004. It is 22km-long and serves 20 stations from the north to the south-west, covering the district of Shoubra El Kheima to Cairo University and the pyramids of Giza.
So there you have them.
A quick addition here is the Lagos Red Line, scheduled to be completed this year.
Lagos Red Line
The Lagos Red Line is a metro line with 37 km track with 11 stations and will be the first operational metro system in West Africa when completed and will join the list of metro lines in Africa.