Circular bronze medal on laterally-pierced ball suspension; the face with the crowned head and shoulders portrait of Emperor Menelik II by Jules-Clément Chaplain (1839-1909) facing right within a geometric border; the reverse with a 2-6-0 steam locomotive, circumscribed ‘yemidiri baburi metasebiya’(= Railway Memorial) above in Amharic and ‘Earth Train Commemoration 1895 = AD1903’ below, with Paris Mint cornucopia bronze hallmark, all within a geometric border; on a modern ribbon in the colours usually associated with this medal, though there is some doubt whether it was originally issued with a ribbon.
The Medal was issued in connection with the construction project for the railway from Addis Ababa to the sea at Djibouti and was struck by the Paris Mint.
The project for the railway began in the mid-1890s and from the outset encountered difficulty raising funds and numerous practical and political obstacles. The original Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de Fer Éthiopiens failed in 1906 by which time the line from Djibouti had reached Dire Dawa. A new enterprise was set up in 1908 and the line finally reached Addis Ababa in 1917.
A new standard gauge line, mainly parallel to the original metre-wide track, was opened on 1 January 2018.
An interesting and relatively rare historic medal.