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an audio adventure through africa

Geotag Icon “The world’s longest train”

audio, soundscapes posted by on Jul 27th, 2009

The iron ore trainMauritania’s 2.5 kilometre long iron ore train is usually described as the world’s longest train. We recorded this – our first attempt to record in stereo – by the train tracks in the outskirts of Nouadhibou on a very windy day, and getting very strange looks from the women walking past to collect their water.

Recorded on: 24th July 2009, 15:30 local time.
Location: Nouadhibou, Mauritania (view on map)
Copyright: Listen to Africa
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  1. What an incredible sound – I find the ongoing background sound quite haunting, like muffled church bells wailing as they fall away down the track.
    Love what you guys are doing, so unique. Stereo sounds good to me :)

  2. Very, very impressive!

  3. Aw thanks, very glad you both like it and yes, Dan, I know what you mean about the eeriness / church bells. We were quite pleased it had a couple of more rickety carriages :)

  4. [...] and am hoping you will enjoy the tune I selected for you today. I also invite you to listen to a recording of the world’s longest train: its captivating melody leaves me speechless every time I turn it on. Rumour has it that Bex and Huw [...]

  5. That is truly surreal. What mics did you use to capture it in stereo?

  6. Hi Greg, thanks for the comment. First off, it’s not true stereo – we recorded on two tracks simultaneously using our short shotgun (Audio-Technica AT897) and an omni-directional (Beyer Dynamic M58), in a very loose XY type arrangement (for want of a better description!)… Wouldn’t be our first choice of mics for this but we’re carrying pretty limited kit at the moment, and we quite liked the results.

    (Now that we’re nearly through the Sahara and don’t have to carry so much water – and have a better idea of how much we can carry/what we want to record – we’re getting some new kit sent out soon – including a figure of eight mic and a single point XY.)



  7. excellent recording! The sound of the train goes on for ages! Must have been an incredible sight!

  8. Thanks, Cheryl! Yep, it’s astonishingly huge…

  9. properly awesome….. I did some sound recording in a small country town once, tried it again in London…BIG difference.I like the contrasting silence after the last carriage passes… Lol

  10. Cheers Chris – yep, the amount of humanmade noise there is out there is incredible when you start listening. (I’ve been reading a lot on the effect of human noise on various species’ stress levels – terrifying.)

  11. It is greIt at sound. It will not download

  12. It is a great sound but will not download.

  13. Lawrence, thanks – if you right-click on the download link and choose “save target as” it should download? Just tested it here and it worked… If not, just shout!

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