Although plans for a railway were mooted as long ago as 1885, work did not start until the 1970s, when Gabon was already a republic. The first section of the line from the port of Owendo (about 10km from the capital, Libreville) to Ndjolé, a distance of 182km, opened in 1978. The line was extended in sections, reaching Franceville (670km from Owendo) in 1986. It is built to standard (1435mm) gauge. Although the primary traffic is manganese ore from Moanda to Owendo (619 km), other freight and passengers trains also operate.
Flag image from CIA World Factbook