Addis light rail enters final phase

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Addis Ababa, 11 April 2014 (WIC) – The construction of the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) project entered traction works, a final phase in the construction of the electrified rail system.


Power traction works includes the installation of electric poles and overhead wires to power the light rail vehicles. It also includes the construction of 18 traction sub stations, nine on each of the east-west and north-south directions of the 34 km light rail transit.


“This is the final phase of the project before commissioning,” Debo Tunka, Ethiopian Railways Corporation Deputy CEO and head of ERC’s infrastructure division, said. “All equipments needed for this work have arrived in Djibouti and we are bringing them to Addis in portions as required for the work.”


China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), the company undertaking the construction, began the power traction works in CMC and Ayat areas. The milestone is expected to be made official on Sunday 13 April 2014 in the presence of government officials.


The Addis light rail tramcars will rely on 15kvs of power supplied mainly from overhead wires. According to Debo power cuts will not be a concern for the smooth operation of the transit as the LRT will have a dedicated power supply through a grid system.
“We are finalizing design works in cooperation with the newly restructured Ethiopian Electric Utility and Ethiopian Electric Power,” Debo told WIC.


The Chinese train corporation CNR will supply the 41 light rail vehicles (LRVs), also known as tramcars. ERC expects the vehicles to arrive in Addis in five months time. The corporation has selected two types of colors - white trams with blue patterns and the other with green patterns.


“We decided to pick two colors one for east-west directions and the other for the north-south directions so that people who can’t read can easily identify the vehicles by colors,” he said.


AA-LRT, whose construction officially started on 31 March 2012, is nearly 60 percent complete; according to CEO of ERC Dr. Getachew Betru (Eng.).  The overall project progress includes the laying of about 17 km tracks.


“By this time next year we hope to start three months of commissioning,” Dr. Getachew Betru (Eng.), CEO of ERC, said.

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