Most trains on Addis Ababa’s light rail system grounded for want of spare parts

The Chinese-built and funded light rail system, shown here operating near Lideta station, is eight years old (A. Savin/Creative Commons/Free Art Licence)
Some $60m is required to repair 23 of 40 trains operating on Addis Ababa’s Chinese-built light rail system, a city transport official told Ethiopian news site The Reporter.

Mitku Asmare, head of the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau, said the trains are inoperable owing to a lack of spare parts.

The 32km system was built by China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group (CREEC) and 85% of its $475m cost was financed by a loan from China Export-Import bank.

It became operational eight years ago, but according to The Reporter, officials “dragged their feet for years” before acknowledging that the project did not proceed according to plan, despite the fact that a performance assessment conducted by the Federal Auditor General showed that a majority of the trains were inactive.

Today, the system transports 56,000 people with 17 trains, but if all of the units were functioning, it could transport more than double that number, according to The Reporter.

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