Steam train in the old harbour town on the Red Sea. Construction of the 70km train line between the Eritrean capital and the Red Sea began in the late 19th century, shortly after the country became an Italian colony. With dozens of bridges, tunnels and viaducts, and an elevation of over 2000m, the railroad was a magnificent feat of engineering. But Eritrea's long war of independence left the track, which at times marked the front line, in a state of disrepair. In 2003 the railway was finally reopened.