2.4 Cote d'Ivoire Railway Assessment


Côte d'Ivoire Railways

Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso jointly own SITARAIL, a transnational railway. The line was one of the first in Africa to be awarded as a concession to the private sector in 1995 and is a key conduit for transport of bulk freight to and from landlocked Burkina Faso. Between 2000 and 2005, Sitarail and the other West African railway concession—Transrail—were by far the strongest performing concessions on a wide range of operational indicators, including productivity of labor, locomotives, and rolling stock. Traffic density on Sitarail was close to 500,000 tonne-kilometers per route-kilometer, which was by far the highest in the region (although still low in absolute terms). Between 1995 and 2000, during the first five years of the concession, the volume of freight almost tripled from 300 million to 800 million tonnes annually.

For information on Cote d'Ivoire Railway Company Contact details, please see the following link: 4.2.10 Cote d'Ivoire Railway Company Contact List 

Travel Distance Matrix

Country Freight/Passenger Railway station Distance from Abidjan (km)
Côte d’Ivoire Abidjan - Treichville -
Côte d’Ivoire Dimbokro 186
Côte d’Ivoire Bouaké 335
Côte d’Ivoire Katiola 381
Côte d’Ivoire Ferkessédougou 556
Côte d’Ivoire Ouangolodougou 606
Burkina Faso Niangoloko 660
Burkina Faso Banfora 706
Burkina Faso Bobo-dioulasso 806
Burkina Faso Koudougou 1.055
Burkina Faso Ouagadougou 1.055

Note: The information provided in the above table has been taken from the old DLCA and amended to match the structure of the new LCA.

Railway Companies and Consortia

SITARAIL is a consortium jointly owned by the governments of CI and Burkina Faso, each 15%, the Railway Employees Trust Fund 3% and a French/Danish business group (freight operators SDV, SAGA and MAERSK, consultancy bureaux SYSTRA and TRANSURB ) for 67%. The initial concession, which operates both passenger and freight services, was awarded in March 1983, became effective in August 1995 and has a duration of 15 years.

Capacity Table

Rail Operator Capacity


Operates on (lines)

Abidjan – Ouagadougou

Max train length and/or pulling capacity


Locomotives (electric/diesel/steam)

23 mainline locomotives capacity 1.250 tons. 13 shunting locomotives. 4 new GM 2500  (capacity 2500 tons) will be delivered between July 2008 and June 2009

Freight Wagons (covered) / size

350 covered wagons (capacity 37 to 47 MT)

Freight Wagons (flat bed) / size

300 flatbed wagons (capacity 35 to 40 MT) most are fitted with twist locks and are suitable for the carriage of containers.

Order has been placed for 100 flatbed wagons for 2 x 20’ or 1 x 40’ containers.

Freight wagons with gravity discharge

100 (capacity 35 MT)

Tank Wagons

80 ( capacity 35 MT) for lubricating oil or palm oil.

Note: The information provided in the above table has been taken from the old DLCA and amended to match the structure of the new LCA.

Key Route Information

Standard Route Information

Abidjan – Ouagadougou

Track gauge

1 meter – rails of 26 and 30 kg. There are no immediate plans to switch to 40 or even 60 kg rails

Ruling gradient


Total track distance (single and/or double)

1261 km Abidjan – Ouagadougou

Type of rail (weight and if welded or not)

The maximum axle load is 17 MT per axle.

Type of sleeper and fastenings

The rails are supported by concrete sleepers (no timber nor steel sleepers) The passing loops are modified so as to accommodate trains of up to 90 wagons.

Total track travel time

Average speed freight trains: 40 km/hour   - Passenger trains: 60 km/hour

Maintenance (Good, marginal, bad)

Rail track is properly maintained. 3 rail track ballast rippers are operational. Maintenance of the track is programmed with dedicated gangs for each 75 km. long track section.

Companies-consortiums operating on line


Traffic frequency (monthly/weekly/daily)

Annual carrying capacity of 960.000 MT both ways. Three freight trains a day in both directions with 40 to 45 wagons (cap. 1.250 MT). If need be the size of the trains can be increased with 2 locomotives or capacity 2.000 to 2.500 MT. Two passenger trains a week in both directions between Abidjan and Ouagadougou.

Security (Good, marginal, bad)

Security guards of GARVAN, a private company, escort all freight trains.

Main stations (Add details below)

See Below

Key Stations

Bouake railway station:

Bouake was before 2002 an important railway station. All local factories and warehouses had their own private railway siding. With the disappearance of trade and industry the railway sidings are not served anymore and totally overgrown. Transit  (loading/unloading) must therefore be done at the Bouake railway station. There is a special siding with loading/discharging quay, which can accommodate 8 wagons simultaneously. No shunting locomotive is stationed in Bouake.

Small locomotive and wagon maintenance works are carried out. A recovery wagon mounted with a 20 MT capacity crane is available. The railway grid has 6 tracks of 900 meters.

Ferkessédougou railway station:

This railway station is being developed as a fully equipped dry port and transit point for goods destined for the cities of Korhogo, Boundiali , Odienné and the northern part of the country but also as a  very promising interface for import and export goods into and from Mali. The freight station is operated by SAGA – SDV.  A 40 MT container reach stacker and a 12 MT capacity forklift are permanently stationed in Ferkessédougou. There is a container yard – 200 m x 60 m. The container yard needs resurfacing. Various shipping lines offer export reefer transport (export of mangoes in the season). A generator with 6 plugs and 4 Gensets are readily available. Two very large covered warehouses are being refurbished in order to accommodate large import and export consignments (1 warehouse with 7 x 350 m² compartments - 1 warehouse with 5 x 350 m² compartments) Estimated storage capacity: 10 to 12.000 MT bagged cargo)


Destination Distances Rate (excl. taxes) Gross Ton
BANFORA 775 kms 36.600 F CFA
BOBODIOULASSO 870 kms 37.700 F CFA
OUAGADOUGOU 1250 kms 40.700 F CFA
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