The cableway was built by the Italian engineering firm "Ceretti and Tanfani" in Eritrea. It connected the port of Massawa with the city of Asmara and ran a distance of some 75 kilometres. It moved food, supplies and war materials for the Imperial Italian Army then conquering Ethiopia.
The Eritrean Ropeway, completed in 1937, ran 71.8 km from near Massawa to the south end of Asmara. This was the longest cableway ever. It covered a distance which was over twice the current one longest in the world which has less than 35 km in Lapland. It was rendered non-operational by the British removing the engines shortly after their victory at Keren in World War II. The assemblage stood for over twenty years and was still in very good condition in 1962 Ralph Reinhold
With the capacity to transport 30 tons of material every hour in each direction from the seaport of Massawa to 2326 meters above sea level in Asmara, the cableway was the longest of its kind in the world when was inaugurated in 1938. It had 13 sections, was powered by diesel engines, and carried freight in small transport gondolas. In southern Eritrea there was another small ropeway.
During their eleven-year occupation of the former Italian colony as a result of World War II, the British salvaged the diesel engines and removed other equipment. Of the dismantled by the British ropeway, only the towers remained on place until they were scrapped in the 1980s.
- Extensive article by Mike Metras
- Facsimile of La Teleferica Massaua-Asmara cableway brochure, translated by Mike Metras, Dave Engstrom, and Renato Guadino
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