Algeria - NVR : 92 AL-(VKM)
الشركة الوطنية للنقل بالسّكك الحديدية- SNTF - Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviaires
Algerians National Company for Rail Transport in Arabic : الشركة الوطنية للنّقل بالسّكك الحديدية , in French : Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviaires) is Algeria's national railway operator. The SNTF, a state-owned company, currently has a monopoly over Algeria's network of 3,973 km (2,469 mi), even though it is currently exploiting only 3,572 km (2,220 mi). Out of the total railway network, 2,888 km (1,795 mi) are 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge (283 km/176 mi of these are electrified) and 1,085 km (674 mi) are 1,055 mm (3 ft 5 1⁄2 in) narrow gauge (as of 2008 )
The history of the railway in Algeria starts with the colonization of the country by France. On April 8, 1857, a decree orders the creation of 1,357 km (843 mi) of railway, beginning with a standard gauge line going from Algiers to Blida, started on December 12, 1859. The private Compagnie des chemins de fer algériens starts working on that line with the help of the French army on July 11, 1860. At the same time, the company got the permission to create a Oran-Sig line and a Constantine-Skikda line, however, due to economic difficulties, only the Algiers-Blida line was finished, and opened to the public on September 8, 1862. Afterwards, 5 other companies start the creation of new lines. The headquarters of both the P.L.M. railway system serving Algiers, and the Algerian State Railways, are situated at Algiers, the capital of the country. The majority of the routes are single-track, and one terminal in the capital serves both railway undertakings of the land. Flat-bottomed rails, spiked to the sleepers, are utilised. Stations are few and far between, and platforms are as often as not, non-existent. The P.L.M. main line runs from Algiers to Oran, a distance of 264 miles. The State Railways main line goes from Algiers to Constantine and the Tunisian frontier, where connection is afforded with the Tunisian railway system. The locomotive stocks are of extremely varied character. Six-coupled engines with small driving wheels are employed for both passenger and freight train working, and generally coal bricks are employed as engine fuel in place of ordinary coal. Most of the passenger carriages are four or six-wheeled, and three classes of travel are provided, while sleeping cars and restaurant carriages of the International Sleeping Car Company are also employed on the trunk routes. A feature of the passenger carriages is the introduction of a platform at either end of the car, these platforms being exceptionally popular in the hot season. On the narrow-gauge lines of the interior the stations are many miles apart, and, whenever necessary, take the form of blockhouses for military use. At the same time, ambitious plans are under review for the linking up of the Algerian railways with the West Coast of Africa by way of the Sahara Desert. This would be a most difficult engineering task, but such a connection would prove of inestimable value in opening up the fruitful territory of West Africa, and bringing within speedy reach of the European markets the agricultural produce for which this corner of the globe is far-famed.