ADDIS ABABA, The Ethiopia-Djibouti electric railway service has launched its trial run with the first train departing from Furi-Lebu in Addis Ababa on Wednesday for Dire Dawa, the country’s second largest city in eastern Ethiopia.

The train has a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The new standard gauge railway line with state-of-art technology is expected to play a pivotal role in enhancing Ethiopia’s exports and exports, said Ethiopian Railway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Dr. Getachew Betru.

According to him, the railway will contribute to advancing the integration between landlocked Ethiopia and its eastern neighbour Djibouti and its port on the Red Sea by further enhancing bilateral economic ties.

The railway started a trial service for cargo operations in October 2016 by transporting relief food aid from Djibouti to Ethiopia.

The electric railway linking Addis Ababa with the Port of Djibouti provides Ethiopia with railroad access to the sea. More than 95 per cent of Ethiopia’s foreign trade transactions pass through Djibouti.

The standard-gauge railway, which was constructed by the China Railway Group and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, replaces the former Ethiopia-Djibouti line that was powered by coal and diesel-powered locomotives which was built by French companies between 1894 and 1917.