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Mali's sole passenger train resumes service after a 5-year hiatus

Passengers arrive at the train door in Kayes, Mali, on June 9, 2023. The SOPAFER-Mali locomative was set toarrive in Bamako after a 400-km trip.   -  
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Mali's passenger train service, linking Bamako with the west of the country, resumed commercial operations on June 9 after a five-year break, the transport ministry said.Passengers rushed to buy tickets after news that the service had resumed, according to pictures posted by the ministry on Twitter.

The Governor of Kayes, Colonel Moussa Soumare, overjoyed residents and numerous passengers witnessed the inaugural trip of locomotive CC2207 for SOPAFER-Mali.

Ticket sales operations for the first train journey began this Thursday in Kayes The enthusiasm of the population is perceptible at the counters. The SOPAFER locomotive CC2207 will make the Bamako-Kayes journey tomorrow, with stops at all the stations.

Kayes, which is not fromthe border with Senegal, is a key trading hub.

After a 400-kilometre trip, the train was expected to arrive in Bamako early on Saturday.

The rehbilitation of the line has suffered delays for more than 15 years.

Service on the line was eventually halted in May 2018 due to poor maintenance, adding to transport problems in the country.

The economy and finance ministry said that rehabilitation had cost some $10 million, which would be recouped over the first two years of operation.

The service resumption comes after several test trips on the Malian section of the Dakar-Bamako line. The Bamako-Kayes line is part of a track completed in 1924 under French colonial rule linking Bamako with the Senegalese capital, 1,286 kilometres away.

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