Arrived at Harare approx. 8.45am following overnight flight from London via Frankfurt. Weather increasingly overcast with
heavy rain at Kadoma and again en route from Kadoma to Bulawayo.
The three locomotives preserved besides the main Harare - Bulawayo road at Kadoma :
Class 14 2-6-2 + 2-6-2 No.500 (Works no.6618 of 1929)
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.271 (Works no.2936 of 1940) - later No.350
Peckett 0-4-2 â€˜Ivyâ€™ (Works no.1705 of 1926)
Locomotives are inside an 8 foot wire mesh fence, preventing close inspection and/or photography. Access was arranged by
visiting the Town Planning Department at the Council Offices in Kadoma. Directions - turn right past the Kadoma Ranch
Hotel and continue over the level crossing. After 200 yards go straight across the traffic lights and the council offices are on
the right hand side of the main square.
Arrived at Travellers Guest House, Banff Road, Bulawayo approx.6.00pm. Room US$30 per night. Visited Bulawayo steam
shed - 7 Garratts in steam.
BULAWAYO 20,21 & 22 AUGUST
20/8/98 - weather unsettled in morning improving throughout day.
Locos in steam as follows:
Class 14A Nos. 510, 519 & 525
Class 15A Nos. 406, 422 & 424
Class 16A No. 610
In repair shops:
Class 14A No. 515
Class 15A No. 394 & 395
Class 19 4-8-2 No. 330
Wankie Colliery No.12
Out of use:
Class 14A Nos. 518 & 521
Class 15A Nos. 371, 382, 411 & 417
Class 16A Nos. 604 & 611
Class 14A Nos. 501, 517, 522 & 524
Class 15A Nos. 376, 385, 386, 388, 391, 400, 402, 416 & 420
Class 16A Nos. 601, 602, 603, 608, 612, 613 & 614
Class 20A Nos. 742 & 749
Several other dumped locomotives not noted.
Shunts: Ash Spur, Cold Store, Belmont, New Grain, Westgate (x2) & Shuttle
21/8/99- clear morning with increasing cloud early afternoon - later clearing.
Arrived at shed at approx. 6.00am - sunrise about 6.30am
Locos in steam - No.395 (Westgate), No.424 (Shuttle), No.519 (Belmont)
No. 525 (Ash Spur) & No.601 (New Grain)
Visited Bulawayo Railway Museum p.m. - for loco details see guidebook.
With an entry charge equivalent to 8p, a visit to the museum must be the best value for money in Zimbabwe. Recent open
days for 'Friends Of The Museum' have been well supported with the next one planned for October 31st. The curator, Dave
Putnam, expressed a particular interest in 46229 'Duchess of Hamilton' and would welcome photographs and any other
information about this locomotive (c/o PO Box 2536, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
Arrived at Cement at c.4.30pm. Unicem No.1 (Henschell 4-8-2, built 1938) on shunting duties.
22/8/99 - weather clear a.m. with increasing cloud p.m.
Locos in steam - No.395 (Belmont), No.406 (Spare) No.424 (see below), No.514 (Westgate), No.519 (in light steam), No.
525 (Ash Spur) & No.601 (New Grain)
No.424 was booked to work a train to Cement, following a diesel failure. The (white) driver was reluctant to take the loco
off shed due to problems with the whistle but was authorised to do so by the Running Shed Foreman. The engine ran light to
Mpopoma Yard where the train was cancelled in mysterious circumstances and the engine returned to the shed.
Left Bulawayo at 11.00am and drove north to Dett. Photographed Class 15A No.421 on southbound 'Train de Luxe' approx
10km north of Dett, accessed from railway service road. Returned to Dett to photograph locomotive taking coal and water.
Arrived Baobab Hotel, Hwange. Rooms Z$1235 per night (c. £20.75)
WANKIE COLLIERY 23/8/99
Weather - totally clear sky all day - very warm
Ex-S.A.R 4-6-0 Class 16D photographed on plinth by the Victoria Falls - Bulawayo road at Hwange. Went to Wankie Colliery
Company main office in Hwange to introduce ourselves and were referred on to colliery Main Office.
Met at Wankie Colliery by Mr Ignatius Dizumba, Locomotives Manager and given free access to site and workshops.
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.410 (on hire from NRZ) in steam together with Class 19 NBL 4-8-2 W.C.C. No.4 (Works no.
27560). Both engines engaged in shunting duties with No. 410 on trip workings to and from Thompson Junction.
With No.3 Colliery closed only 4 loaded trains left the colliery with 3 loads of empties being worked back up the grade (the
last after dark)
Class 19 NBL 4-8-2 W.C.C. No.2 - in workshops out of service
Class 19 NBL 4-8-2 W.C.C. No.3 - returned unrepaired from Bulawayo due to lack of spares
Class 19 Henschell 4-8-2 W.C.C.No.5 - dumped in front of the shed
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.8 - believed to have been scrapped
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.9 - dumped in yard near workshops
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.10 - in running shed awaiting repairs to bearings
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.11 - awaiting spare parts (& has been for 2 years!)
Class 15 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 No.12 - at Bulawayo shed under contract repair
Narrow gauge 0-4-0WT 'Popeye' remains outside the shed awaiting repair.
The locomotive manager reported that No.12 is unlikely to be restored to working order at Bulawayo despite confidence of
NRZ staff. The general concensus amongst operating and management staff was that steam is likely to be replaced by
diesels within 12 - 18 months and already Thompson Junction diesels have been used to work trains to and from the
Driver of No.410 - Mr Cliff Gota, 15 Rhino Road, Hwange, Zimbabwe
Overnight at Baobab Hotel
TRAIN DE LUXE 24/8/99
Departing Dett at 11.30am - weather clear all day
Morning reconnaissance between Thompson Junction and Matatsi revealed that lineside photographers face a serious
problem at Zanguja. The whole area has been surrounded by an 8 foot high electrified fence with all access gates padlocked.
The land is owned by Ingwe Safari Lodge which is directly off the Hwange - Victoria Falls road. Access to Zanguja bank was
eventually arranged after an appeal to the owner who agreed to leave the gate at Km 364 unlocked (however during the day
a ˜Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted' sign was added to the gate! It remains to be seen whether similar access will be granted
in the future!)
Returned to Train Control at Thompson Junction to watch progress of special on display board before heading south to take
Locations: a) 404 Curve
b) Tajintuna Loop
c) Thompson Junction station
d) Deka River Bridge
e) Near Deka Sidings
f) Zanguja Bank
g) Victoria Falls Station
Consist: 15A Class No. 406 + 6 coaches, 2 cabooses and watertank.
Overnight at Villa Victoria, Courtney Selous Crescent, Victoria Falls â€“ US$30 per night (breakfast excluded)
25/8/99 Weather clear throughout day. All Victoria Falls to Dett and return services cancelled for the week due to lack of
Victoria Falls Safari Express services advertised as follows:
a) ˜The Royal Tea Run' to Livingstone, departing at 9.00am and returning at 12.30pm (US$80 - minimum 10 persons)
b) 'Victoria Falls Bridge Run' departing 2.00pm as far as the bridge, returning at 3.00pm (US$40 - minimum 10 persons)
c) 'The Moonlight Diner' departing 5.30pm and returning at 9.30pm (US$110 - minimum 20 persons).
None of these trains ran on 29/8/99 although ZR 12th Class 4-8-0 No.204 was photographed in steam at about 8.00am in the
private compound rented to the company.
Decided to visit Livingstone Railway Museum. Entry visa to Zambia cost US$10, payable at the border post. Taxi to and
from the museum cost Z$200 each way and entry to museum Z$70. Offered and accepted personal guided tour by curator's
assistant. Despite the recent fire (alleged to have been the result of sparks from a fire in the adjoining village) which
destroyed five coaches and damaged paintwork on locomotives nos. 96, 955 and 1126. there was much of interest. No
guidebook is presently available but most locomotives had detailed notices attached giving a history of the engine.
Principal exhibits were as follows:
7th Class 4-8-0 No.70 - built Neilson, Reid & Co., Glasgow (No.5792 of 1900) - ex Rhodesian Railways and Zambesi Sawmills
10th Class 4-8-2 No.156 - built NBL (No.22799 0f 1922-4) - ex Rhodesian Railways. This locomotive is steamable but is
confined to museum
2-6-2T No.1 - built Hunslett (No.? of 1924) - Bwana Mkubwa, Nkama and Nchanga mines. Locomotive in original yellow
Class 16A 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratt No.623 - ex Rhodesian Railways transferred to Zambian Railways in 1973
7th Class 4-8-0 No.955 - built Neilson, Reid & Co., Glasgow (No.4447 of 1892) - ex Rhodesian Railways and Zambesi Sawmills
8th Class 4-8-0 No.1126 - built Sharp Stewart (No.19822 of 1912) - ex Central South African Railways and Zambesi Sawmills
9th Class 4-8-0 No.96 - built NBL (No.19822 of 1912) - ex Rhodesian Railways and Zambesi Sawmills
12th Class 4-8-2 No.181 - built NBL (No.23380 of 1926) - ex Rhodesian Railways
Class15A 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 Garratt No.401 (No.7353 of 1950) - ex Rhodesian Railways
Class 20A 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 Garratt No.708 (No.7693 of 1954/5) - ex Rhodesian Railways
7th Class 4-8-0 No.69 - built Neilson, Reid & Co., Glasgow (No.5791 of 1900) - ex Rhodesian Railways and Zambesi Sawmills
G Class 2-8-2 No.57 - built NBL (No.27779 of 1957/8) with Stephenson Hawthorn boiler. Ex Nyasaland Railways - nicknamed -
˜Jubilee" - and Zambesi Sawmills
No.91 0-6-0 - details not known - sectioned boiler and cylinders
Four further locomotives (details unknown) also observed on site. An interesting selection of early photographs and small
exhibits were on show in the main shed.
Afternoon - took ˜Southern Cross Airlines" flight in light aircraft over Victoria Falls. Cost US$50 for 25 minute flight
(actually considerably longer)
VICTORIA FALLS TO HWANGE 26/8/99
Weather - early morning cloud gradually breaking up to give clear skies by late morning. Increasing cloud further south
Photographed ex-NRZ 14A Class No.512 (now privately owned by Miss Alexandra Bell) plus two coaches on Victoria Falls
Bridge on outward journey of ˜The Royal Tea Run' from grounds of Victoria Falls Hotel and on the inward journey from the
grounds of the rainforest park (entry US$20) The train stopped on the bridge for about 10 minutes during the return
journey. The loco is in black with a dark green water tank.
15A Class No.406 left Victoria Falls at about 12.30pm with the 2 cabooses and watertank to work back to Thompson
Junction shed for re-coaling. Photographed locomotive under coaler at Thompson Junction shed - crew waited patiently for
45 minutes waiting for full-bore sunshine! The engine and stock were then stabled overnight on Thompson Junction shed.
Drove up to Wankie Colliery - loaded train worked down to TJ but no empties available to be worked back. W.C.C. No.4 on
shed in steam but due boiler washout on 27/8/99.
Overnight at Baobab Hotel
WANKIE COLLIERY 27/8/99
Weather - wall to wall sunshine
Arrived at engine shed to find that W.C.C. No.4 had fire dropped during night, leaving only No.410 in steam. Early morning
photographs on No.410 pulling loaded wagons out from loading point near top end of yard.
Returned to Baobab Hotel at approx 10.30am and remained there until approx. 2.00pm when we returned to colliery. Plant
closed for essential maintenance and No.410 back on shed!
Spent some time with Locomotive Manager and his assistant discussing future of steam at colliery and steam throughout the
world before Ignatius suddenly remembered that there were some empty wagons still in the sidings at No.3 colliery that
needed recovering! No.410 was therefore dispatched to collect them - an ideal opportunity for some additional
photography. A number of run-pasts were made possible by the very co-operative footplate crew who were duly rewarded
for their efforts.
Overnight at Baobab Hotel
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK 28/8/99
Weather - continuing clear skies
Visited colliery to say our farewells and to express our gratitude to Ignatius in a tangible form before driving to Hwange Main
Camp. Entry into the National Park cost US$20 per person + Z$35 for the car.
Drove to Dopi Pan and then onto Nyemandhiovu observation platform. Saw wide variety of wildlife - antelope, buffalo,
giraffe, baboons, zebra and hippos.
From there to Gavulala observation platform where there were c.40 elephant of various ages and size. Then in large loop via
various pans and back to Nyemandhiovu for the last hour - notable for the two large crocodiles sunning themselves by the
Left Hwange at approx. 5.30pm and drove to Travellers at Bulawayo.
BULAWAYO 29, 30 & 31 AUGUST
29/8/99 Weather - continuing fine.
Locos in steam - No.395 (on shed), No.421 (on shed), No.422 (on shed),
No.424 (on shed), No.510 (Belmont), No.514 (Ash Spur)
and No.610 (New Grain)
No. 510 failed at about 11.00am with injector problems. Fire was dropped at water point and locomotive towed back to
shed by diesel.
Class 20A No.730 was back on shed having blown off its front right hand cylinder cover whilst being towed by diesel to
Victoria Falls to work a TEFS special back to Bulawayo. No work had been undertaken on the cylinders but boiler was being
filled from a hydrant. Shed staff expected an early return to steam but with locomotive going to the museum.
Drove to Cement to take further shots of Unicem No.1. Taken by crew to see Class 14A No.509 which was out of use
awaiting new tubes.
Returned to Bulawayo shed to check on roster for 29/8/99 and to be told that the ˜Train de Luxe' was cancelled for the week
30th August - 6th September due to poor passenger loadings. The operation is well below capacity in terms of passenger
loadings - the train on 23rd August carried only 13 out of a possible 40 passengers to Victoria Falls.
The'˜Bulawayo Chronicle' of 25/8/99 reported that the day train service on the Harare to Bulawayo route is to be suspended
again from September 12th due to low business volumes following its re-introduction last November. Services have been
running on Fridays and Sundays only. NZR claim that they will be introducing a tourist service on Victoria Falls to Bulawayo
line in December and a service from Harare to South Africa in ˜the near future" using "upgraded old coaches". There is no
suggestion in the article that the Victoria Falls service will be steam worked.
30/8/99 - Weather continuing fine and clear
Locos in steam - No.395 (on shed), No.421 (Belmont), No.422 (Cold Store), No.424 (Shuttle), No.514 (Ash Spur) and No.
610 (New Grain)
The 'Train de Luxe' returned to Bulawayo at 10.00am behind diesel haulage, No. 406 having failed at Thompson Junction the
previous evening with injector problems!
Photographed locomotives in various yards, particularly No.610 and No.514 which was taking empty coaching stock out of
Returned to Bulawayo shed after dark to investigate possibility of night shots. Limited opportunities due to sodium lighting
but the atmosphere was totally unforgettable - how many more years can steam survive given lack of spares and poor
BULAWAYO TO HARARE 31/8/99
Photographed engines coming into Bulawayo station, having come off shed, from about 7.00am onwards.
Left Bulawayo just before 9.00am and drove to Harare. Stopped at Kadoma in perfect weather, having previously arranged
for gate to be open, to photograph the locos.
Arrived Harare at 4.30pm and caught 8.00pm flight to Heathrow via Frankfurt, arriving back in London at 8.35am on 1/9/99
|ZIMBABWE TRIP REPORT
19th - 31st AUGUST 1999