Historical Background

The idea of construction of railroad in Sudan began in the epoch of Mohammed Ali Basha governor of Sudan in the beginning of the 19th . century . The first trial of construction of railroad began in the Khediev Ismail .

The line was constructed from Wadi Halfa and reched Umbacall to a distance of 266 kilometers in April 1875. As a result of the existence of huge rocks in the passage of the line the work was stopped and equipment for cracking of rocks were ordered from abroad. Work had been resumed henceafter in the construction of the line till it reached Saras in the year 1877. The arrival of the line to Saras was completed in the epoch of Grodoon Pasha who for the bad financial situation stopped the construction of the railroad in Saras .

In 1884 the military strategy necessitated continuation in the extension of the railway line which had stopped in Saras . The work began in 1884 and the line reachd Ukasha ( 141 kms ) in August 1885. As a result of the defeat of Godon’s trooprs in Khartoum by the mahdi troops construction work was stopped. The Construction work had been resumed for the third time in 1896. In may 1897 the line reached Karma. The role of the line finished after the end of the war in Dongola Province in 1897.
Once again the military strategy necessitated construction of a new line between Halfa and Khartoum . Construction of the line began in 1897 and reached Abu Hamed in November 1897 and Atbara in July 1898.
The line reached Halfia in 31st Decmber 1899 after the construction of River Atbara Bridge in July 1899.

To Facilitate the transportation of the exports and imports a line between Swakin and Atbara through Sallom station was constructed during the period 1904 to October 1905. Construction of the line began simultaneously from Atbara and Swakin and the two lines met in Saloom Station. salloom / Port Sudan railway line was constructed in 28th January 1906 after the establishment of the new port at Sheikh Bargooth site on the Red Sea in the epoch of lord Kroomer. As a result of the economic non feasibility of the line Halfa/Karma it was closed in 1905. Asubstitute line was constructed from station No.10 to Karima which was completed in 1906.

Extension of the line from Khartoum southwards began in 1909 and reched Medani in 1909 and EL Obeid in 1911.
In 1929 the line Haiya/Sennar ( 802 kms ) was constructed.
Between the year 1956 and 1959 a line from Aradeiba junction to Nyala was constructed ( 986 kms ) .

During the period March 1959 and February 1962 Babanousa/Waw line was completed Sennar/ damazine line ( 227 kms ) was completed in 1958 .
In the year 1962 a line was constructed between Khashm EL Girba and New Halfa ( 70 kms ) .
Total length of the network during the sixties of the 20th. Centary reached 4757 kms, in addition to other two lines which were constructed during the Second World War from Rabak to Jabalien and from Malawia to Tasanieh.
Later the line Rabak/Jabalien was removed and Malawia/ Tasanieh was closed .
The latest extensions for the network include the line Abu Jabra/Mujlad ( 52 kms ) and Obied Station/Obeid Refinery (10 kms) which over constructed to serve the Sudanese Petroleum Exploration and were completed in the years 1995 and 1996.
The latest extensions include also Merui Dam railway line which extends from EL Ban Station to the Dam site near Merwi (16 kms) .

Administrative Development

The railway began as a government department and all the jobs in the head quarters and the outer sections before the independence were held by militaries. In 1902 civilians began to hold jobs of station masters . In the year 1906 the railway head quarters and workshops were moved from Wadi Halfa to Atbara . In the year 1954 the railway was permitted to prepare a separate budget . In the year 1967 the railway was transformed to a public corporation under the management of a General Manager under supervision of a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors was formed of a president and 6 members who were appointed by the Minister of transport and Communications in that time .

May Revolution in 25th May 1969

After the Coming of May Revolution in 25th May 1969 and specifically in 29/11/1971 and in its session no. 69 Revolution Leadership Council decided the following :

Firstly : Solution of the Board of Directors .
Secondly : Transfer of the Board’s responsibilities to the Minister of Transport and Communications.

The railway since that date was administered by a General Manager assisted by two deputies , chief Accountant and three Assistants .
In the year 1973 the president of the Republic issued the Railway Act no. 29 which was on effect since July 1973.
According to this law the port, river transport and catering departments were separated from the railway and became independent departments .
In February 1974 the Minister of Transport formed two committees one for the study of the organizational structure and the second for the study of employees conditions of service.

According to the recommendations of those committees the railway organizational structure became as follows :

a – Board of Directors to be formed as stated in the Railway’s Act .
b – A General manager who is an executive officer responsible for the administration of the corporation according to the policies and directives of the Board .
c – Five regional directorates and General Central Directorates.

In 1981 the president of the Republic issued a republican resolution stating the transfer of the Railway’s headquarters to Khartoum and giving wide powers to the regional managers and transformation of the managers of the general directorates to consultants in the General manager year 1985 the decision was amended and the Directorates were transformed from consultative directorates to General Directorate. As stated in 1973 Act .

General Managers of the railway since the independence till the date and their term of office are shown in the following table:
  • Term Of Office

    28/7/1957 - 6/10/1962
    7/10/1962 - 14/9/1966
    15/9/1966 - 15/11/1966
    16/11/1966 - 7/12/1968
    8/12/1968 - 6/6/1969
    7/6/1969 - 15/4/1973
    17/5/1973 - 9/1/1980
    9/1/1979 - 7/2/1980
    20/4/1980 - 4/5/1981
    4/5/1981 - 28/12/1982
    28/12/1982 - 20/11/1983
    20/11/1983 - 25/10/1984
    25/10/1984 - 10/8/1987
    15/7/1987 - 4/1/1991
    21/1/1991 - 9/2/1995
    28/2/1995 - 17/8/1997
    17/8/1997 - 17/11/2006
    17/11/2006 - To date
The Role Of The railway In Economic And Social Development :

1- the railway since its establishment and till the mid seventies of the 20th century had been the main mode of transport in Sudan and had transported more than 90% of the import and export traffic of the country.
- The following table shows the railway’s import and export traffic compared with the country’s total imports and exports during the period 72/73 – 84/85 :

2 - The railway since its establishment has played a greater role in the transportation of the strategic traffic and in the execution of the huge development projects which include lately the following :

Firstly : Exploration & Exploitation of Sudanese Petroleum :

• All the exploration and refineries equipment and machineries were transported on time by the railway .
• Branch lines were constructed from El Mujlad to Abu Jabra ( 52 kms) and from El Obeid Station to El Obeid Refinery north of the city ( 10 kms ) .
• The railway transported all extracted crude oil since its exploration in the year 1996 till the completion of the construction of the pipeline from the oil fields to Bashair Port on the Red Sea in the year 1999.

Secondly : Merw i Dam :

• The railway met on time all its obligations towards the transportation of the Dams machineries and equipment .

• A branch line was constructed for the transportation of the Dams equipment from El Ban Station on the section No.10/ Karima to the Dam’s site on the river Nile.

3 - The railway has continued to meet all its obligation in transportation of strategic traffic which include the transportation of all food aid to the war-affected areas in the southern region and greater Darfur States .

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