Flag of Equatorial Guinea

Railways in

Equatorial Guinea

Steam train of the Ferrocarril de San Carlos
A steam train of the Ferrocarril de San Carlos on Fernando Po

There are no railways in Equatorial Guinea today. The railway developments described here took place when the territory was a colony of Spain, known as Spanish Guinea. Spanish Guinea comprised a series of islands, together with a portion of the African continent known as Rio Muni. The largest and most important of islands was Fernando Po (present day Bioko). The territorial capital, Santa Isabel (present day Malabo) was located on Fernando Po.

In the late 19th or early 20th century, several short railways appeared on Fernando Po in connection with the forestry industry. These were 600mm gauge lines using wagons propelled by hand. They were largely supplanted in 1913 by a 600mm gauge steam railway running roughly southwest from the capital, Santa Isabel, for a distance of about 17km to the village of Basupu. A 1km section running north from a station in central Santa Isabel (Plaza de España, present day Plaza de la Independencia) to the harbour included a short, steep section equipped with Abt rack.

This railway, the Ferrocarril de San Carlos, was never extended beyond its rural terminus to reach its eponymous destination, San Carlos (present day Luba), some 40km south of Santa Isabel, nor did it become part of a proposed 160km network covering the whole island. Never very successful, the harbour line with its rack section closed in 1926 and the main line to Basupu in 1931.

In Rio Muni, there were no fewer than 13 forestry railways of 600mm or metre gauge, of between 5km and 60km in length, some of which were steam hauled. The earliest of these opened in 1922, and the last one ceased operation in 1963.

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Flag image from CIA World Factbook
Photo image believed public domain from a photograph in the collection of the National Library of Equatorial Guinea