The International Steam Pages


Angola Steam Survivors

Since this report was posted, I have found there is an on-the spot report from Jamie Grieve on Gavin Hamilton's site - http://www.beyergarrattlocos.co.uk/survivors.html  which lists known survivors, both Garratts and conventional locomotives (added 13th April 2008).


Scott Jesser reports (8th November 2007):

Google Earth seems to have improved the resolution of some of its images covering Angola, and it's now possible to see the Benguela Railway's station, yard, locomotive depot and workshops in Huambo in detail.

The view of the loco running shed (12 45' 41.02"S, 15 44' 52.94"E) appears to show seven Garratts and five tender locos. The BBC website has a story on the Benguela Railway in Huambo and one of the small photos on this site shows one 9C 4-8-0 and one oil-burning 10D 4-8-2+2-8-4 among the locos at the running shed. A tall palm tree appears in one of the BBC shots and on the Google Earth image near the western end of the shed building.

The workshops complex (12 45' 25.98"S, 15 45' 36.09"E) further east has a large number of derelict wagons, but near the building in the centre of the workshops appears to be 10D 4-8-2+2-8-4 No.364. There are a couple of photos of this loco on the internet, and I believe it also appeared on the recent Portuguese television documentary on the Benguela Railway in which an employee was interviewed in the cab of this loco, which still had many of its fittings and gauges. Nearby there appears to be another tender loco, possibly a 4-8-0.

Almost six hundred kilometres east of Huambo is Luena, where as many as five Garratts and twelve tender locos can be seen (11 46' 48.52"S, 19 54' 20.31"E) in and around the loco running shed. The Comunidade Luena website (http://www.lusoluena.com/ForumLuena/index.php and, more especially, http://www.lusoluena.com/Galeria/ - you will have to register in Portuguese but it's hardly demanding and you can click the GB flag...) has a large number of historical Benguela Railway images, as well as a series taken in February 2006 within the loco shed. These images show two wood-burning 10C 4-8-2+2-8-4 locos, one 10A or 10B 4-8-2+2-8-4 loco and two 9C 4-8-0 locos within the in and near the building, which like the shed in Huambo no longer has a roof.

I couldn't find any locomotives in Lobito or Benguela (apart from preserved Hunslet 0-4-0ST "General Machado" on the platform side of the Lobito station building), and none appeared in Cubal yard. Google Earth image resolution for Bie, Munhango and Luau (which also had locomotive facilities) is still poor.

"Le Chemin de Fer de Benguela" (a French publication from 1987 by Editorial Vanguarda) listed 69 steam locomotives still on the Benguela Railway in 1987, with one at Lobito, eight at Huambo, four at Bie and three at Luena in working order. Another 53 steam locos were shown as non-operational at Lobito (six), Huambo (fourteen), Bie (three), Munhango (eight), Luena (seventeen) and Luau (five).

It's also possible to identify three Benguela Railway passenger trains on Google Earth. On the short coast section between Lobito and Benguela there is a southbound passenger train (one of six in each direction from Monday to Friday) about three kilometres north of Catumbela with a U20C loco and eleven vehicles (12 24' 14.51"S, 13 32' 23.20"E), and a northbound passenger train about nine kilometres north of Benguela near Damba Maria with a U20C loco and twelve vehicles (12 31' 22.32"S, 13 28' 14.99"E).

Back near Huambo, the Monday to Friday train 102 to Caala is visible with another U20C and fifteen vehicles (12 46' 52.09"S, 15 42' 10.30"E) near Huambo's western outskirts.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk