The longest train in the world in Sahara Desert. Amazing Journey!

There’s a nervous and hectic biding among local people. A little later they will get on the longest train in the world. When the 2,5 kms long train comes, sheep herds and belongings are embarked firstly. Then the 600 kms long trek begins.

Train’s primary objective is to carry iron ore from Zouerat city on the northwest part of Mauretania to Nouadhibou city on the southwest. On each wagon, there is 83 tones of in ore entrained in iron mine in Zouerat. The train goes loaded and comes back empty. The round trip journey takes 20 hours going and 15 hours returning back.

Journey is totally free of charge.For the sheep also…

Air temperature reaches up to 45 degrees C during daytime, while it decreases down to 10 degrees C at night. Heavy clothes and headscarfs are protecting people from both heat and cold. But it’s not only the change of temperature which affects them. Sand storms and iron filings make it hard also.

Some passengers are going for visiting their relatives, while some are going for shopping. The sheep will be sold in livestock market. When this trek in the longest train in the world ends, everybody is covered with rust and dust.

The Mauritania Railway

The Mauritania Railway is the national railway of Mauritania. Opened in 1963, it consists of a single, 704-kilometre  railway line linking the iron mining centre of Zouerate with the port of Nouadhibou, via Fderik and Choum. The state agency Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière (National Mining and Industrial Company, SNIM) controls the railway line.

Since the closure of the Choum Tunnel, a 5 km (3.1 mi) section of the railway cuts through the Polisario Front-controlled part of the Western Sahara.

Trains on the railway are up to 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) in length, making them among the longest and heaviest in the world. They consist of 3 or 4 diesel-electric EMD locomotives, 200 to 210 cars each carrying up to 84 tons of iron ore, and 2-3 service cars. The total traffic averages 16.6 million tons per year.

Passengers are also occasionally transported by train; these services are managed by an SNIM subsidiary, the société d’Assainissement, de Travaux, de Transport et de Maintenance (abb. ATTM). Passenger cars are sometimes attached to freight trains, but more often passengers simply ride atop the ore hopper cars freely. Passengers include locals, merchants, and rarely some tourists. Conditions for these passengers are incredibly harsh with daytime temperatures exceeding 40°C and death from falls being common.

In January 2019, the railway resumed tourism after a ten year hiatus; part of the track ran through a forbidden tourist area. One of the stops on the tourist route is an iron mine. The tourist route is typically operated by a locomotive carrying two passenger carriages.