Algeria - General Information
National railway system
La Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviaires (SNTF)
SNTF (In Arabic and French)
Arabic and French. The first language is Arabic, but French is widely spoken in major towns and cities. Away from the coast some Berber dialects are sometimes used.
Algerian Dinar, symbol DZD.
Numeric 92; alpha DZ
A good official SNTF app with timetable and train type is available for android mobile phones
There do not appear to be any downloadable SNTF timetables available on the main SNTF website. The Fahrplancenter website does provide some timetable information, but it has not been updated recently.
There is no currently available published map of Algerian Railways
A system map is available on the ANESRIF website.
Note that this map includes all lines (passenger and freight) including those which are under construction but not yet opened for traffic, and projected lines. Refer to the map key carefully for details. The ANESRIF website also features maps for each individual project (see “Recent and Future Changes” section below).
The Seat61 website > Travelling by train in Algeria gives useful information on travelling in Algeria.
Agence National d’Etudes et de Suivi de la Réalisation des Investissements Ferroviaires (ANESRIF)
Standard. Also 1055mm, which is being either converted to Standard or closed.
25 kV 50 Hz AC.
The Annaba – Tebessa line in the East of Algeria was originally electrified at 3000V DC for the transport of minerals from the regional mines to the port of Annaba. The locomotives purchased from Alsthom for this route in 1996 were 3000V DC but prepared for 25kV AC operation. It is unclear to what extent the re-electrification has proceeded to date.
Rule of the road
The Algiers Metro is operated by the Entreprise Métro d'Alger (EMA). The first part opened in 2011. Two further lines are currently planned / under construction. Further metros are planned nationally – see links below.
The UrbanRail map
The EMA Map and List of Metro Projects also includes cable cars.
Tram systems are operated by SETRAM, with networks in Algiers, Constantine, Oran, Sidi Bel Abbès, Ouargla, and Sétif.
Recent and future changes
A thrice-weekly daytime service was reintroduced between Algiers and Annaba in early 2021, having been withdrawn in 2007.
Recent years have seen considerable investment in the extension, electrification, resignalling, double-tracking and modernisation of the Algerian rail network. New DMU / EMU rolling stock has been purchased for regional and inter-regional services. Ongoing projects include:
- Rocade Nord: Northern route and its connections: modernisation of the main East – West line traversing the coastal plain across the north of Algeria, 1250 km from Annaba to Akid Abbes, plus 572 km of connecting branches
- High Plateaux Line: New East – West line parallel to but far south of the Northern route, designed for 160 kph operation. 1160 km total length, 532km in operation, 628 km under construction. Links some 20% of the Algerian population.
- East Mineral Line: Modernised and re-electrified North – South line (and branches) running broadly parallel with the Tunisian border from Annaba to Tebessa and Djebel Onk (388 km). Planned extension from Djebel Onk to El Oued (200 km).
- Pénétrante Ouest: The Oran – Bechar line opened in 2010 and is now being upgraded for higher line speeds (160 kph). An extension from Bechar to Tindouf and beyond is under examination.
- Pénétrante Est: Modernisation of the (Constantine) – El Gourzi – Batna – Biskra – Touggourt line for 160 kph line speed, and extension to Hassi Messaoud Nouvelle Ville and Petroleum wells at 200 kph.
- Pénétrante Centre: A new line is planned from Blida (the western end of the Algiers suburban network) due south to Kasr el Boukhari. From there due south to Laghouat via Djelfa (290 km) a new line is under construction with a line speed of 220 kph.
- Boucle Sud Est: 425 km of new lines planned for 220 kph linking Laghouat and Hassi Messaoud Nouvelle Ville via Ghardaia and Ouargla. Also Touggourt and Still via El Oued.
- Boucle Sud Ouest: 1500(!) km of new lines being planned. Bechar – Adrar – El Ménéa – Ain Salah / Ghardaia. Line speed 220 kph.
The ISO code for Algeria is “dz” e.g. as a website suffix.
Visas for Algeria are difficult to obtain, and require advance written confirmation of accommodation, and personal attendance at the Algerian Consulate of the passport holder’s home country. The FCO Travel Advice Website contains much useful information about travel to Algeria. In certain areas there is a real risk of robbery or kidnap.
Algeria is divided into administrative districts known as Wilayas.
Freight services operate from Algeria to Tunisia via the Souk Ahras – Ghardimaou border crossing. There are currently no cross-border passenger services as of December 2020. The border between Algeria and Morocco is closed – travellers should avoid the border area.
The main station at Algiers (Alger) is Agha, with the railway workshops one station further south at Les Ateliers. Long-distance trains may start from Agha in preference to the terminus at Alger, which is nowadays mostly served by suburban trains.