The railway Fianarantsoa-East Coast (FCE) is a colonial building railway in the southeast of Madagascar which connects the city of the high plateau of Fianarantsoa in the port city of Manakara. Long de 163 km, it was built by the French between 1926 and 1936 through the forced labor program SMOTIG. The French have used rails and sleepers taken from Germany as reparations for the First World War to build the line. Many of the railways still carry the date of manufacture dating back to 1893.
In 2000, successive cyclones caused 280 landslides and 4 significant service cuts for months, until a rehabilitation project to be launched with the help of USAID, Swiss Railways and others. A study by the Project to Support the Environmental Management (PAGE) in 2000 concluded that maintaining the process helps prevent deforestation up to 97 400 hectares 20 years. Interviews with villagers during the temporary closure revealed that they would have no choice but to cut their tree crops they sent the market on the rail and instead plant rice or cassava.
FCE is currently in service, but its aging infrastructure makes it vulnerable to outages caused by broken rails, the old rolling stock and landslides caused by cyclones.
The railway crosses the track Manakara Airport, one of only three places in the world where a railway crosses a sloping track.
touristically, this is one of the 'must' of this region of Fianarantsoa in the south-east coast. On the few 170 kilometers of track, not one crosses under 17 stations and a multitude of small stops during the harvesting campaign products, bananas, letchis, cinnamon-apple and other exotic fruits that could come out that in this way oh so vital to this mainly rural population.
The frequency is three departures every week, in one direction or the other. To say that the departures are scheduled would be an understatement, if the train starts to 07.00 the morning to reach the other end to 170 km, it will take longer 10 hours doing all the way. When all goes well. If not, he will sleep in his seat and wait for it to reboot. The entire infrastructure is old nearly a century and nature does not help the situation with the slope failures that occur even in dry weather.
Apart from this, this line is very popular with travelers because it can cross the entire eastern side of the island while taking the time to see and enjoy the scenery, meeting with local people on board and at stops. Usually, the first class is assigned for foreign travelers but at the end of the journey, many ends in the second class, where there is more to see and experience for one who can contact local, which are also very welcoming.
The only downside of the FCE would be its randomness, you never know if the train is leaving, it will happen in the station but somewhere it's his little longer, not for the development of tourism but to keep her quiet and picturesque soul as the Malagasy way : "Mora Mora".