Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit is scheduled to commence its official trial operation this coming February. Upon the start of the LRT trial service special traffic police will be deployed.
“In order to make sure that the LRT is up to international standards, the testing of the tracks and cars will be conducted the coming February without passengers on board,” Public Relations Head of the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, Dereje Tefera, told The Reporter. After it is fully tested it will start to serve the public, Dereje added.
The first trial will take place in the compound of the LRT depot, which is located around Kality customs office. After that it will roam around the city.
The Kality LRT station is situated on a 10,000 sqm plot and will serve as the main hub. The Kaliti depot will be the operational headquarters and will mainly oversee the line that stretches from north to south and has installed a pre-programmed automatic controlling machines. The depot, apart from regulating the movement of the LRT, will serve as the main base for the cars.
A similar depot, which is under construction around Ayat area, will oversee the operations of the line that stretches from east to west.
Consortium Organize Metro in collaboration with China Railway will be conducting the trial operation. According to Dereje, Ethiopians, who are being trained in China for the past nine months as rail masters (train drivers), technicians and those who will work on operations, will also be part of this trial process.
More than 250 Ethiopian students are being trained in china and the majority are completing their courses and will be back by mid-January.
Dereje said that the trial period is expected to take some three months. When the service officially starts 41 cars will be ready to serve the public. From these nine of them are already in Addis while the other ten have reached the Port of Djibouti.
Fencing of the lines is still under construction and special traffic police, which will be tasked to keep pedestrians, passengers and vehicles off the track, will also be deployed once the service fully starts.