Fianarantsoa-Côte Est railway

The Fianarantsoa-Côte Est (FCE) railway is a colonial-built railway in southeast Madagascar that connects the high plateau city of Fianarantsoa to the port-city of Manakara. It is 163 kilometers long and was built by the French between 1926 and 1936 using the forced-labor program SMOTIG. The French used rails and ties taken from Germany as World War I reparations to build the line. Many of the railways still have the date of manufacturing on them dating back to 1893.[1]

Fianarantsoa–Côte Est
An FCE train at Manampatrana.
An FCE train at Manampatrana.
OwnerFianarantsoa–Côte Est
LocaleHaute Matsiatra / Vatovavy-Fitovinany, Madagascar
TypeHeavy rail
Line length162.8 km (101.2 mi)
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) metre gauge
Maximum incline3.5%

This line traverses some of the most threatened habitat in the world.[citation needed] In 2000, back-to-back cyclones caused 280 landslides and 4 major washouts cut service for months until a rehabilitation project was launched with help from USAID, Swiss Railways and others. A study conducted by the Project d'Appui à la Gestion de l'Environnement (PAGE) in 2000 concluded that keeping the train operational helps prevent deforestation to the tune of 97,400 hectares over 20 years.[citation needed] Interviews conducted with villagers during the temporary closure found that they would have no choice but to cut-down their tree-based crops that they shipped to market on the railway and plant rice or cassava instead.[1]

The FCE is currently running, but its aging infrastructure makes it vulnerable to service disruptions caused by broken rails, old rolling stock and landslides caused by cyclones.[citation needed]

The railway crosses the runway of Manakara Airport, one of only three places in the world where a railway crosses a runway at grade.[citation needed]


Rolling materialEdit

  • 3 locomotives Alsthom BB 242, 243 and 245 [2]
  • 2 draisines YC 048 et 051
  • 1 Micheline ZM
  • 6 station wagons
  • 22 freight wagons

In 2020 the FCE received 3 Spanish second hand locomotives[3] Serie_1500_de_Renfe built in 1964.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Freudenberger, Karen. 2003. The Fianarantsoa-East Coast Railroad and its role in eastern forest conservation. The Natural History of Madagascar. Steven M. Goodman and Jonathan P. Benstead (eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  2. ^ Le rail sur la Grande Ile...
  3. ^ Locomotives 2nd hand FCE
  • Schoonmaker Freudenberger, Karen (2005). The FCE: Fianarantsoa - Côte Est Railway Madagascar: A Traveler's Guide (2nd ed.). Madagascar.
  • "Reisen in Madagaskar - Eisenbahn" [Travelling in Madagascar - Railway]. Priori website (in German). Priori. Retrieved 9 June 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Fianarantsoa Côte-Est at Wikimedia Commons