Guinea’s “Conakry Express” train service resumed service this week after a 10-month hiatus, according to the national rail firm, to the joy of commuters in the congested West African city.

GUINEA’S TRAIN SERVICE 

Thousands of people boarded air-conditioned carriages in a suburb of Conakry, an AFP journalist saw, heading towards the centre of the ramshackle seaside capital, which is often plagued by monster traffic jams.

“All Guineans are happy, because we suffered from the train no longer running,” said passenger Mariama Bangoura, 22. 

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GUINEA’S TRAIN ABSENCE FELT

She added that she had “suffered a lot” in the train’s absence. “Cabs are expensive, and traffic jams are everywhere,” Bangoura said.

‘WISDOM’ TO THANK 

Naby Badra Souare, the director of the National Railway Company of Guinea, told AFP that the train service had resumed Monday because of the “wisdom” of Guinea’s strongman Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who ousted elected president Alpha Conde in a coup last month. 

Launched in 2010, the commuter train runs on the same tracks used by Russian aluminium giant Rusal to transport bauxite from its inland mines.

EXPRESS PERIODIC BREAKDOWNS 

The Express shuttles about 3 000 commuters a day between the suburbs and the city centre, but the train has suffered from periodic breakdowns in service.

HELLISH TRAFFIC 

No trains have run since January in order to prioritise bauxite shipments.  Abou Keita, a train technician, said the decision to restart the service was made because of Conakry’s hellish traffic.

Guinea, a poor former French colony of 13 million people, has huge largest reserves of bauxite, the primary source of aluminium. Mining is the driver of the economy.

© Agence France-Presse