Some years ago, I was inspired by some digital nomads that did a railway map about South East Asia. They showed that with a few tricks, you can make a comprehensive map of a region or a continent in a metro style. It took me a few attempts till I finally created something that can be displayed and used for everyone to inspire travels and a look at a vast continent from a railway’s perspective.
Our limited view
When looking at railways nowadays, we always focus on China and the triad countries, the by far largest and growing markets. When thinking about Africa and railways, we often have images of plantation railway lines and rolling stock, built during the colonial era and used to export the natural resources and produce from these regions.
This image is not fully incorrect, a majority of the network was built some times ago, but over the time, the purpose of many lines has evolved and is undergoing constant changes. As Europeans, it is an opportunity to support our African counterparts in developing a strong and sustainable transport network in their respective regions. It is a cornerstone of a competitive economy, helping the countries to find their own development path.
In drawing this map, I attempted to also include some known plans or projects under construction. This can help to better grasp the potential for the future transport network in Africa and includes for instance projects from the master plan in Ethiopia but also the vision of the Dakar-Port Sudan land-bridge.
In some countries, for instance in Nigeria. I tried to focus on the projects that are currently discussed and appear to be the most relevant to me. In countries such as Egypt or South Africa, I did not display all relevant lines due to space.
Have fun with the map and tell me what you liked/disliked!