Friday, November 3, 2006 at 11:16 am

The Dakar-Bamako Express

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Via Plep, I stumble across this reader-submitted slideshow, posted on the BBC’s web site last May, of photos from a trip on the weekly train from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to Bamako, the capital of Mali. This piqued my curiosity, and a few minutes with Google generated some more information on this interesting train route.

The train has seen better days. Once a premier service that ran its 1,200 kilometres in 29 hours, it’s now down to once a week, using used American and European equipment (used Indian equipment is apparently in the works), and scheduled for 35 hours (but more likely to take 50). Reports, such as this one (which also has ticket information), this one, and this Independent article from 2004, suggest that the journey may be a little rough for Western travellers, especially with the no running water in the toilets and the heat. (If you can read French — Mali and Senegal were once parts of French West Africa — there are also these pages.) Not a luxury experience in any sense, but you shouldn’t be looking for that here.

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