The first and only railway in Mauritania is the 704km line from the mining region north and east Zouérate to the Atlantic coast port of Nouadhibou. It opened in 1963. The principal traffic is iron ore, with some trains conveying mixed freight. There are a few passenger services intended for SNIM employees and occasional tourists, but it is understood that local people often ride unofficially on the freight trains.
In 1991, a short diversion of the central portion of the railway was opened, bypassing a steeply graded section with a tunnel. About 5km of the new line passes through the territory of Sahrawi.
In 2014, an agreement was signed with mining company Glencore for the carriage of iron ore by the SNIM railway to the coast from Glencore’s projected mines in the Askaf area. However, the project was shelved and with it the prospect of the construction of new lines.
Photo image by Emesik from Wikimedia Commons