Moroccan Railways

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by 45022, 22 Apr 2015.

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  1. 45022

    45022 Member

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    Hi All:
    I am travelling to Marrakech in October of this year for a week's holiday and planning to sample the railway travel in this country. Please can anyone advise the following:

    Is it worth booking First Class - the prices seem dirt cheap?
    Has anyone travelled out of Marrakech - any suggestions as to where to go?
    Are the trains loco hauled (Electrics) or Units?
    Any other tips?

    Thanks in advance of someone with the 'gen'
     
  2. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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  3. 158801

    158801 Member

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    We did Morocco a couple of years ago.

    Rabat to Marrakesh was about £15 in First Class - for a four hour journey. The train was (electric) loco hauled - although some local trains were EMU's.

    First Class tends to be corridor compartment stock and you get a seat reservation. Most 2nd Class travel was in "open" coaches (that is without a corridor rather than without a roof :D) and you can't reserve.

    If you are starting from an originating station (like Marrakesh) I would get there a little early and travel 2nd (just my aversion to corridors). If you board part way through a trains journey (like we did at Rabat) then definately do 1st class (for the reservation).

    I assume you are looking for a day trip from Marrakesh ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ONCF has a network map.
     
  4. stut

    stut Established Member

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    The thing I find with Moroccan railways was how sociable it was (you need some basic French or Arabic). Take some food to share onboard and expect to come across local mannerisms (any offer is refused twice before accepting - basic politeness in both directions).

    1st class is more comfortable (wider seats) bit far less sociable.
     
  5. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    You may want to look at the recent Griff Rhys Jones ITV Tv programmes about his recent rail travel travel in Africa, which only in the past few days included Moroccan Trains.
     
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Fascinating to see in this that they were using left hand running.
    No doubt because they were built by the French, who use left hand running because their first railways were built by us!
    Looked quite modern and efficient, certainly compared to Algeria and Tunisia, though originally they were all part of the same French colonial development.
     
    Last edited: 23 Apr 2015
  7. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Except in Alsace, where they still run on the right, as they were built by the Germans...
     
  8. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Pedantically, taken over by the Prussians. :)'
     
  9. dutchflyer

    dutchflyer Member

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    There is just 1 line-dead end- from MRK. You can continue further south by railways bus. The gare there is some distrance from the old town, in of course the ''new town''.
    TRain coaches are FR Corail style clones.
    A new Hi-speed (TGV clone) is being built between Tangier (Tanjah) and the main cities of Casa/Rabat. These 2 also have FR built tramways.
     
  10. 45022

    45022 Member

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    Thanks all for the responses to my query - looks like I should be in for some Loco Hauled travel, and will probably look to travel First Class at that!

    Cheers
     
  11. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    I had a very enjoyable few days travelling by train between short stays in various Moroccan cities a few years ago. I concur the trains were reliable, comfortable, clean and cheap, and locals met on board very sociable, especially if you can speak a little French. One problem we had in Marrakesh was getting to the rail station. We had arrived by air so hadn't seen the station or it's surroundings before. On the morning of our departure to Fes I made it clear (I thought) to my taxi driver that I wanted the rail station (gare, chemin de fer, locomotive, train etc), yet he still left me outside the main long distance coach station, which is closer to the city centre, assuring me on checking again with him ( 'le train, chemin de fer') that it was the correct place. I read in a guide subsequently that taxi drivers may receive some kind of incentive from the private coach companies to drop tourists there rather than take them to the railway station. After discovering my mistake I had to find another taxi rather quickly to get us to the real station in time for our train. After visiting Fes and nearby Meknes we returned by train to Marrakesh to catch the railway bus out to Essaouira for a relaxing week by the seaside to finish our holiday, stopping for a night at Casablanca on the way to look at the Hassan II Mosque. Unfortunately I sprained my ankle stepping into a massive unseen hole in a poorly lit back street in Casablanca later that night and then succumbed to food poisoning. With my consequent badly swollen painful ankle and shall we say irregular bodily functions, I was thus unable to venture far from the lovely little riad we stayed in by the sea, but don't let that put anybody off!

    I attach a couple of locomotive pictures taken at Marrakesh station. I'm afraid that was the limit of my railway photography for that holiday.

    The highlight of the holiday was Fes, which is a really remarkable place as featured in the recent tv documentary. Despite the claim you easily get lost in the maze of the medina, there are gateways and 'main roads' and I soon got used to navigating around. The medina is much bigger than that of Marrakesh but quieter and less overtly commercial I found.
     

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    Last edited: 25 Apr 2015
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