Feature: New batch of Ethiopians embark on training to master train operations

ADDIS ABABA — A new batch of young Ethiopian trainees have embarked on practical and theoretical railway technology operation trainings as they aspire to master train operations at the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway.

Some 30 Ethiopian railway civil maintenance trainees earlier this week attended an opening ceremony of the 2019 Overseas Training Course on Ethiopian Railway Operation Technology at the Lebu Station on the outskirts of Addis Ababa — marking the first phase of training by Beijing Jiaotong University on railway technologies that are set to enable the future local employees to effectively takeover Africa’s first fully-electrified transnational railway.

Tilahun Sarka, General Director of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway Share Company (EDR), also told trainees during the opening event to tap into the training as it signifies a new chapter in Ethiopia’s modern transportation history.

“Railway is a new technology to our country. As Ethiopia’s first railway technology operators, you have to consider the greater responsibility that the country puts on you,” Tilahun told the 30 trainees.

Tilahun also told the Ethiopian Informer that the Ethiopian government has given huge importance on knowledge transfer as it would help the country to successfully take over all railway operation activities in the following years.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, which was jointly built by the China Railway Group Limited and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is presently managed by experts drawn from the two Chinese companies for a period of six years.

Sarka, noting that experts drawn from the two Chinese companies are currently undertaking all the maintenance, rail captaincy and control operations, said that efforts are smoothly progressing so as to make local engineers qualify for those operations.

Zhu Xiaoning, Deputy Director of National Research Center of Rail Transit Training and Accreditation in Beijing Jiaotong University, also told the Ethiopian Informer that the training will offer basic and advanced knowledge on three major areas for the trainees that are railway civil maintenance, telecommunication and signaling, and operation activities.

“After 40 days, the training will lay a solid foundation for the trainees’ basic knowledge on railway civil maintenance , telecommunication and signaling as well as railway operations,” Zhu said, adding that the training will enable them to better serve the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway in the years to come.

Meanwhile, EDR had also recently bid farewell ceremony to 65 electrical locomotive train driver trainees that are to be sent to China in two batches for a training program.

The 65 locomotive train driver trainees had already received one-year training from Chinese professionals inside Ethiopia, and the first batch of 35 Ethiopian trainees are set to be given six months of training in Zhengzhou Railway Vocational and Technical College. The second batch of 30 driver trainees (15 Ethiopians and 15 Djibouti) will travel to China recently.

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