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BBC Travel: The longest train in the world? Mauritania’s 2km-long Train du Desert

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The "mauritanian" railway network is composed just by a single 704Km-long line connecting the Iron ore mines to the ports.


The service operated seems to be just two:

- The multi-kilometer long iron ore train

- The tourist-only "Desert Express"


The rolling stock is composed of:




- EMD SD-70ACS, six ordered in 2012, atleast four in service (classified as CC1XX, one unit numbered CC123, others unknown), liviery is the standard light blue and tan yellow.





https://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/news/single-view/view/high-temperature-locomotives-ordered-from-emd.html (pictured 


- EMD SDL-40/2, delivered starting from 1981, numbers unknown (classified "CC1XX", one unit numbered CC119, others unknown), liviery is either the standard light blue and tan yellow or dark green.








Unidentified EMD-style BB locomotives (GP-38?), numbers, delivery and status unknown, classified BB2XX (two units numbered BB209 and BB210), liviery is the standard light blue and tan yellow.





Class CC01-21, manufactured by Alsthom between 1961 and 1962 (Nos.01-11) and in 1965 (Nos.12-21) and based on the SNCF Class CC65000.

They started to be replaced by the SDL-40/2s in 1981, and by 1997 they were completely transferred to passenger trains.

Their status is unknown, probably they're stored out-of-service.


Passenger Rolling Stock


The mauritania railway carriages are quite varied, each with it's own interesting history, altough little info is known.


Probably the most interesting piece of Mauritania rolling stock is the A2N 001 "CaFiCi" Railcar.

The A2N was manufactured in 1982 by the italian Casaralta works, and based on the Type 1979 "Casaralta" double-decker suburban coaches (manufactured under license of CMIT Lorraine, as they were based on the French VB2N coaches).

The idea was to have an high-capacity diesel railcar to be used on unelectrified suburban railways. It was tested on various third-sector lines, but due to the low power (only one bogie was motored), the results were unsatisfactory.

In 1997 it was sold to Mauritania, de-motored and transformed into a carriage for the "Desert Express" tourist train, where it still operates.


The A2N in Mauritania (including extremely rare interior wiews)






Other coaches include: a French-type UIC-Y coach (built 1963-1976, Ex-SNCF?) and an unidentified coach (possibly an East German OSShd-standard UIC-Y type coach), both absolutely knackered and almost "armored looking", with the original bogeys swapped for american boxcar-style ones.


Also in the A2N video from euronews, you can catch a glimpse of what seemingly is another OSShd-standard UIC-Y-type coach still in it's blue Ceske Drahy (Czech Repubblic Railways) colors.


There are also these, wich you can only describe as "Cabooses on steroids" (they also appear to be built on standard freight flatcars).


Freight rolling stock is obiviously composed mostly of hoppers, with the eventual flatcars and tank cars showing up.


Another interesting fetaure of the Mauritania railway, is that it appears to have no signalling (except for the american-style switch indicators), wich would be redundant on this line anyway.

Edited by Socimi
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Although a long train, not the longest, the BHP iron ore train that derailed in Western Australia last November was 2.86km  long and made up of 268 cars.

But, as the Mauritainian train had a passenger carriage in its consist, it's probably the longest 'mixed train' in the world.





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