According to one report, the diesels didn't arrive until the Krupp units
(above) 1957. However, others show diesels from the '30s. As
a matter of fact, FIAT claims on their Centeniary Site that in 1924, they
delivered the first diesel locomotives with an electric transmission ever
built to Eritrea. It had a 450 hp engine. Also, it went to
the New York suburban system and the Italian State Railway.
Two of the above diesels were built by FIAT-TIBB in 1929 for the Italian Somaliland railway. When the British dismanteled that in 1942 they were shipped from Mogadiscio to Massawa.
Photo courtesy Renato Gaudio
Renato tells me that some units of this version of FIAT locomotive was supplied to Eritrean Railways in 1940 to 1941. This has a 12 cylinder enginer with 550 Hp@900 RPM. According to Le Ferrovie Coloniali Italiane, and other sources, there were four built and were shipped to Libya to help Britian in the war effort. They were never returned, but operated until that line was scrapped out in 1965.
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