Photographer Pierre-Yves Babelon captures life along the railways of Madagascar.
The railway line connecting Fianarantsoa to the East Coast was inaugurated in 1936. The records speak of eight million cubic meters of material and 225,000 cubic meters of masonry for a journey of less than 170 km. The length of the strands of explosive used had reached 1,730 km, and the huge number of cartridges 3,470,000! With his career often cliff, its 56 tunnels dug by hand, four major viaducts that of Ankeba 40 meters above a valley, its forty other structures, the FCE train is vital for the economy of the region and is by itself an exceptional human adventure. Among its numerous curious features, one can highlight the crossing of the airport before reaching the Irondro road.
Leaving Ambila marshes marks the frontier between the Antemoro and Tanala regions, in a lush vegetation featuring the outstanding Ravinala, the “traveller’s tree”. From Manapatrana, there comes an impressive succession of structures, and when the line is straight, which is rare, you can sometimes see 3 to 4 tunnels in a row. Mandriampotsy falls which are nearly crossed in the middle by the railway line is another curious sight, together with the more than one kilometre long Ankarampotsy tunnel , not forgetting Sahambavy tea plantations which the old train traverses jauntily, as if hurrying to recover from its emotions in Fianarantsoa.