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Travellers react as Mali's train completes commercial trip after resuming service

Djibril, a passenger on the train that arrived in Bamako from Kayes on June 10, 2023.   -  
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The passenger train line connecting Mali's capital to the country's West arrived in Bamako Saturday (June 10) after the inaugural trip of locomotive CC2207 for SOPAFER-Mali. The train left Kayes the previous day to undergo a 400-kilometre trip.

The line had been closed for 5 years. The train driver was satisfied with the renovations.

"From departure in Kayes to arrival here (in Bamako, editor's note), the route has been perfect, very perfect, for us drivers," Alassane Sissoko says.

"What I can say now is to reassure everyone about the state of the machine and the condition of the train."

Passengers eagerly awaited the transport ministry's confirmation that the green-yellow and red train had resumed service.

The line between Bamako and Kayes is a vital route for the transport of people and goods. When service was halted in May 2018 due to poor maintenance, it added to transport problems in the country. Indeed, it is Mali's sole passenger train. People had to embark on long bus drives with the fear of insecurity.

"From the time we left at 8 a.m. until we arrived at around 3 a.m., the security was top-notch, with the police present from Tintimba to Djamou," Djibril Soumaré says. 

"We'd needed this for a long time. Rumors had been circulating about it. But today, it's a reality, because I went to Kayes by bus and on the way back, I took the train."

The other section of the line goes as far as Dakar.

Mali's economy and finance ministry said the rehabilitation costs would be recouped over the first two years of operation.

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