This 1.8-Mile Train Travels on One of the Most Extreme Railways in the World

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Deep within the Sahara Desert are vast supplies of iron ore, which is extracted and dumped into a train 1.8 miles in length. The train then embarks on a 437-mile journey to the Mauritanian coast, a trek captured in spectacular fashion on film recently by National Geographic.

The railway in question is the the Mauritania Railway, which has been transporting iron ore—in addition to humans—across the Sahara since 1963. It’s captured here in dazzling, often meditative detail.

Look at that train! It carries enough iron to rebuild the Eiffel Tower, though I don’t imagine anyone is actually planning to do that. In real terms, that’s over 22,000 tons of iron ore per trip, with free rides for any humans along the route, which can take up to a day to complete.


The film was directed by the mononymously-named director Macgregor, as part of a series of short films spotlighted by Nat Geo. More giant trains, please.