The International Steam Pages


Stationary Steam in Africa

Africa

Central African Republic
(8th Dec 07)

Congo (DR)
(1st Oct 16)

Ethiopia
(15th May 07)

Ghana
(28th Dec 13)

Madagascar
(15th Mar 12)

Mauritius
(19th May 12)

Mayotte
(13th Jan 15)

Mocambique
(21st Jan 08)

Réunion
(23rd Feb 12)

São Tomé
(17th Mar 09)

Senegal
(20th Dec 16)

Sierra Leone
(5th Apr 12)

Sudan
(20th Mar 11)

Tanzania
(12th Jun 11)

Uganda
(25th Aug 11)

Zimbabwe
(1st Oct 16)

     

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Click here for the Surviving Steam Road Engine Index


Central African Republic

Tim Dray found this Robey compound stored in good condition in an abandoned cotton processing mill in Bouar, in November 2006. Click here for more pictures including a smaller Robey engine.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

The sugar mill at Kwilu-Ngongo keeps this Stork drop valve engine (3084/1928) as a historical monument, thanks to Scott Jesser for this one (1st October 2016) .

Ethiopia

I have been told by David Wood that the Wonji sugar mill (located near the large town of Nazareth, about 100 km south east from Addis Ababa) has/had a second hand mill engine from Java, installed by a Dutch company. Almost immediately I posted this I had an email from an old HVA employee, René van Slooten, who stated that the Stork engines at Wonji and Shoa had been replaced by turbines quite recently. And now he tells me (15th May 2007) "I was wrong. A Dutch journalist who was there last month told me that one of the original Stork engines from 1953 in the Wonji sugar mill is still in operation, the other two have been replaced by turbines. Here is a photo of this Stork that I scanned from the magazine."

Ghana

Thomas Kautzor has sent me three pictures of steam survivors at AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s (formerly Ashanti Goldfields Co. - AGC) Obuasi Mine, taken on 28th April 2007. Officially preserved they show a Babcock and Wilcox boiler, a duplex stationary engine and two other pieces of equipment (28th December 2013)

Madagascar

Some time back, Manfred Schoeler told  me that he saw a short sequence on German TV about a steam powered sugar mill on the island of Nosy Be (12 km from the northwest coast of Madagascar). Apparently the equipment is 1923 vintage state-of-the-art including the distillery for producing rum. Finally Thomas Kautzor got here in February 2012 but it was too late to see it working - read his report (15th March 2012). 

Later (30th June 2007) I located a picture dating from October 2006 by Andre Costelli on the web which shows part of one engine which is preserved outside one of the 'ylang-ylang' distilleries which can be visited by tourists near the capital of the island at Hellville. Thomas Kautzor was also here in February 2012 and filled in the details - read his report (15th March 2012).

Mauritius

James Waite reported on his visit that month: "I think you're asking if any of the sugar mills are steam driven! We glimpsed St. Felix, in the south west of the island, from outside and which describes itself as the oldest surviving mill on the island, and Mon Desert Alma at Moka, about 6 miles south east of Port Louis, and both were very obviously steam driven and going flat out! I'm afraid we didn't go in - this was, after all, a family holiday! We did go round Beau Champ which was very modern and all-electric, and also Mon Tresor Mon Desert which was much more ancient but still electric. We also went past Mon Loisir and La Barraque, Savannah, which both looked to be electric, as did Highlands. That leaves four other mills on the island which we didn't see at all."

Torsten Schneider has revisited the island (report, 24th January 2007, pictures 25th January 2007) and has found some preserved stationary steam and at least one engine still in use - unfortunately it seems to have been outside the season which presumably will be June to September or thereabouts as the island is in the southern hemisphere. Thomas Kautzor's February 2012 visit surveyed a large number of preserved items but no sign of working or workable stationary steam (23rd February 2012). Both these reports now have additional information supplied by Andre Roulllard (19th May 2012).

Mayotte

Not much chance of this turning up in a video clip, but fascinating remains of old sugar mill equipment are shown here http://usines-sucrieres-de-mayotte2.over-blog.com. If like me, you didn't know where Mayotte was, then it is one of the Comoros islands in the Mozambique channel and remained a French territory when the other islands became independent. In fact as Laurent Lachery points out this is only the tip of the iceberg, check out http://usines-sucrieres-de-mayotte.over-blog.com/ for links to a massive archive of other industrial relics (23rd October 2007).

See also this comprehensive and developing survey - http://www.patrimoine-industriel-de-mayotte.fr/ (13th January 2015).

Mocambique

Trevor Heath sent me a link which is now broken, lovely pictures of Sena estates in 1975 with steam locos, steam traction engines and steam powered boats. (added 21st January 2008). If anyone finds the new one please let me know.

Réunion

This is another island with a fascinating industrial history and many ruins of interest. Le Musée de Stella Matutina à Piton St Leu appears well worth a visit -
http://www.isle-bourbon.com/categorie-11046409.html - although the official website states that the museum is closed for reconstruction w.e.f. March 2011, http://www.stellamatutina.fr/ (3rd January 2012, link dead by 26th April 2014).

Thomas Kautzor was here in January 2012 and indeed found the museum above inaccessible but he did manage to visit another museum with preserved stationary steam, La Saga du Rhum, Distillerie Isautier, Chemin Fredelin, St-Pierre - see the pictures (23rd February 2012)

São Tomé

Thomas Kautzor visited here in January 2009, researching the remains of the colonial railways on the island (pictures added 17th March 2009), an absolutely fascinating read which includes observations of some remaining stationary steam.

Senegal

Thomas Kautzor points out that a large horizontal stationary steam engine survives at the former water works at Makhana, (21st June 2016). He has now had the opportunity to visit the location and reports (20th December 2016):

"The small village of Makhana is located 18 km NE of Saint-Louis. During seven months of the year the city of Saint-Louis is surrounded by salt water. Until the middle of the 19th century drinking water was drawn upriver and brought to the city by tanker. In 1859 Governor Faidherbe started the conversion of the Kassak swamps northeast of Saint-Louis into a drinking water reservoir. The project was finally finished by Governor Brière de l’Isle. A first pumping station equipped with two steam pumps was built at Makhana. The steam engines were built by J. Leblanc (Paris) in 1882 and the pumping station put into service in 1885. Water was pumped through a 17 km pipe into the city, crossing the river via a syphon. In 1902 a second pumping plant with a single steam engine was put into service.

Shortly before World War II, in order to improve the water quality a new system developed by engineer Adelbert after 1917 was put in place. The old Makhana pumping station, which worked continuously during eight months out of the year for 67 years, was finally put out of service in 1952. The 1882 steam pumps are thought to be the oldest steam engines to survive in West Africa.

(The first 9 pictures show the original installation. At a guess, the engines have lost their original pumps - ahead of the cylinders - and now have a later vertical pump driven off the crankshaft. The second 6 pictures show the later installation. RD)

Sierra Leone

Older palm oil mills in West Africa will have been powered by stationary steam originally. Now it seems that at least one small mill has yet to be modernised. Read about it and see the pictures, courtesy of Mr. K.P. Ng and Mr. G.J. Ram of Malaysia who are Oil Palm consultants (5th April 2012).

Sudan

Trevor Heath and Thomas Kautzor tipped me off on this one - surviving stationary steam in south-west Sudan seen in 2002/3 (added 23rd April 2008). For an update on this please see John Ashworth's account of his March 2011 revisit (20th March 2011). There are two Robey undertype engines, one of which was active until 2010, there is also an out of use Ruston portable here.

Tanzania

Thomas Kautzor (12th June 2011) found this preserved (former) portable in front of Kingfisher House, just south of Kigombe, which most probably comes from the nearby sisal factory. It dates from a period when the present Tanzania was a German colony, Lanz was a prolific producer of machinery, for a similar complete machine of the same age see http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertfish/5317275083/ and http://www.prestonservices.co.uk/portables.htm. For information on the company, now part of the John Deere Group see http://www.economypoint.org/h/heinrich-lanz-ag.html.

Uganda

Not stationary steam, but definitely active steam age are several boilers from the Cradley Boiler Company, West Midlands, UK, discovered active in cottonseed processing mills by René van Slooten (25th August 2011). See the pictures here - http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Cradley_Boiler_Co. If anyone knows anything about them and their age, please get in touch, a web search got nowhere..

Zimbabwe

Scott Jesser has sent this picture of a preserved A & W Smith vacuum pump at Hippo Valley Estates sugar mill in Zimbabwe taken on 2 October 2013 (added 1st October 2016). 

Rob  Dickinson

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