Congo-Ocean Railway

Congo-Ocean Railway

The Congo-Ocean Railway (COR, or CFCO) links the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noire (now in the Republic of Congo) with Brazzaville, a distance of 502 kilometres. It bypasses the rapids on the lower Congo River; from Brazzaville river boats are able to ascend the Congo River and its major tributaries, including the Oubangui River to Bangui.


The railway was constructed, starting in 1921, using forced labour, by the French colonial administration between 1924 and 1934, at a heavy cost in human lives. It has been estimated that 17000 of the construction workers, who were mainly recruited from what is now southern Chad and the Central African Republic, died during the construction of the railway. Other estimates were higher.

In 1962, a branch was constructed to Mbinda near the border with Gabon, to connect with the COMILOG Cableway and thus carry manganese ore to Pointe-Noire. The Cableway closed in 1986 when neighbouring Gabon built its own railway to haul this traffic. The branch line remains active nonetheless.

The Congo-Ocean Railway was a user of the Golwé locomotive. Motive power is now provided by diesel locomotives.

From the start of the civil war in 1997, the line was closed for six years. In 2007 the BBC reported it to be in a "decrepit state with the majority of trains now broken". UNICEF organised a train in August 2007 to distribute malaria nets vital in the prevention of the disease. [ ["In pictures: Malaria train." "BBC News website"] , retrieved August 2007.]


In 2007, a Korean led consortium CMKC Group‎ signed a deal to build railway extensions to Ouessa and Djambala mainly for timber traffic. [ [ Consortium] ]

Stations served

See also

* Matadi-Kinshasa Railway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


* Albert Londres, "Terre d'Ébène" (1929)
* André Gide, "Voyage au Congo" (1926)

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