The International Steam Pages


Railway Museums in Africa

Within my chosen geographical area which excludes North America, most of Europe and Japan, the occurrence of genuine railway museums as opposed to the odd preserved steam locomotive or tourist railway is quite rare. Here you will find a list of known links which describe those I either know about through personal experience or through submissions to my website or which have been located by web searches. Some are no more than (steam) locomotive parks, others have barely a steam locomotive to be seen. It will be a useful quick check list for readers making short visits. I have also included a note of known steam tourist operations where appropriate for Africa, Asia and parts of South America, the latter are covered in more detail in the relevant continent page. By and large the links are to pages which are in English, although these days a web-based automatic translation will normally produce something good enough to get started during a visit.... Please email me with additions and corrections to the address at the end, include a sensible and appropriate subject line to help avoid vanishing into the spam filter.


There are certain umbrella organisations whose sites may be helpful, particularly IATM (International Association of Transport and communications Museums) - see http://www.iatm.ws/ - railways are necessarily a small sub group. Others are regional and are noted as appropriate.

Another recommended link - http://www.innvista.com/culture/travel/rail/mindex.htm - as of September 2007 it was last updated in February 2007 and less complete than this site for non-mainstream areas, but necessarily it may be updated, but it will be a good source for the USA, Canada, Australasia and Western Europe.

As always Wikipedia is worth a look but when I checked this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_railway_museums it had far fewer entries in my areas than are on these pages.


This page covers railway museums in Africa, either scroll down the page or click on a continent for a further menu.

Africa
(22nd May 23)
Americas
(14th Aug 20)
Asia
(29th Feb 24)
Australasia
(12th Apr 13)
Europe
(19th Jul 19)

Egypt
Ethiopia
(22nd Dec 19)
Kenya
(22nd May 23)
Mocambique
(14th May 10)
Namibia
Nigeria
(1st June 10)
Reunion
(3rd Dec 08)
Sierra Leone
(1st Feb 11)
South Africa
Tanzania
Uganda
(22nd May 23)
Zambia
(2nd Nov 11)
Zimbabwe

Africa

This South Africa based link is worth consulting - http://www.railserve.com/Tourist/World/Africa/ (added 26th April 2014)

Egypt

There is a long established museum in Cairo, see http://www.touregypt.net/railmuseum.htm. There are four steam pictures on this page - http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/ne/Egypt/pix.html

Ethiopia

There appears to be a railway museum in Addis Adaba, http://www.steamlocomotive.info suggests a derelict steam locomotive is here, but I have not been able to trace any proper web resources. I doubt it was ever more than the bits referred to in the reports on my Africa page but those are lone gone. It seems the museum was for the memorial train. That has now closed but Thomas Kautzor got there just in time and recorded what he found (22nd December 2019).

Kenya

Geoff Warren writes to correct the previously published information here (22nd May 2023):

"The Nairobi Railway Museum has not closed, and will not close. Most locomotives remain in the museum. Refurbishment of the main hall has been completed, there is a security fence on all sides, and (best of all for car drivers) there is road access directly off the Uhuru Highway in the southbound direction. Therefore, if driving there is no need to pass through the city centre. This has been a wish ever since before my first visit (1992) and should be a significant benefit to visitor numbers.

Locos 2401 and 5930 have moved to the new Uhuru Gardens park to the south east on Langata Road. The Magadi loco, has moved to a plinth directly outside Nairobi (now Nairobi Central) station, and displayed attractively. It has been painted in a livery that I am pretty sure gricers will not like! Beware – having photographed it, a security jobsworth and a policeman arrived to tell me that photographing it is prohibited!

Now that there is some more space for large exhibits, I and John Ashworth and I have been pressing the need for a main line diesel to make the Museum collection properly representative. The last remaining class 87 (8723) is now out of service and resting in the workshops. As it happens, it was on the same track as the three steam locos. 2409, 3030 and 5918 which are still inside shop 09. They were sharing it with ex-Majorca dmus under repair. It has been repainted, but they forgot to cover up the steam locos, which now have additional decoration with drips of white paint. Nothing more seemed to be missing from the locos since our last visit in 2019, when it was noted that 2409 was missing injectors and some pipework.

The Museum has a new curator, Grace Jematia. Maurice Barasa has moved to an administrative role in the Railway Training Institute, but continues to be involved in railway history, advising on the Uhuru Gardens project and, interestingly, has been collecting railway oral history by interviewing and video recording memories of retired railway staff."

The long established museum in Nairobi, has no official website but see http://www.greywall.demon.co.uk/rail/Kenya/nrm.html, (link broken by December 2021) more pictures are on http://sa-transport.co.za/trains/museums/nairobi_railway_museum.html (added 7th July 2007)

There have been occasional public and private steam specials - see the Africa section of this site, but little prospect for further events.

Mocambique

Part of the station at Maputo is being transformed into a railway museum, click here for John Middleton's report (14th May 2010).

Namibia

The TransNamib Museum is at Windhoek. It only has one narrow gauge steam locomotive (there are a number of others elsewhere in Namibia), but Thomas Kautzor tells me that the small exhibits inside, including photos and documents, are of great interest to railway enthusiasts. See http://www.namibweb.com/railmuseum.htm and http://sa-transport.co.za/trains/museums/transnamib_railway_museum.html (all this added 7th July 2007).

Nigeria

There is a museum near the Nigerian Railways headquarters at Ebute Metta. After substantial renovation the museum building was commissioned on 13th May 2010 - see the report (1st June 2010). It should be stressed that this is a 'mini museum' with the historic building itself the main exhibit, in particular the steam locomotives which have been set aside continue to gather rust.

Reunion

For an excellent page on the history and remaining relics on the island see http://www.mi-aime-a-ou.com/le_train_de_l_ile_de_la_reunion.htm (link dead by 26th April 2014), the railway museum at Grande Chaloupe (which has a preserved Schneider 0-6-0T and a couple of railcars) must be one of the most remote in the world. James Waite advises that the local tourist office in Saint Denis (otinord@wanadoo.fr) told him that advanced notice of an intended visit is needed - Association ti train lontan Tél : 06 92 85 36 78 (réservation).

Sierra Leone

A museum was established here as part of attempts to rehabilitate the country - click here for my copy of an original official article which is no longer available. The museum now has its own (embryonic) website - http://www.sierraleonerailwaymuseum.com/ (1st February 2011, but link dead by 1st November 2018).

South Africa

There are many steam sites, please consult the Africa section of this site, but arguably most noteworthy are those at Sandstone (http://www.sandstone-estates.com/) and George..

Tanzania

There have been occasional public and private steam specials, but not for some tme - see the Africa section of this site.  

Uganda

Geoff Warren tells me (22nd May 2023) "The Uganda Railway Museum (https://crossculturalfoundation.or.ug/railway-museum/) (Link broken by December 2023. RD) opened on 16th March 2022 in Jinja. It is the Jinja railway station. Although the potential for local visitors (schools etc) is not as great as in Kampala, Jinja does see foreign tourists visiting the “source of the Nile”, and the museum is right next to the main Kampala – Jinja – Tororo road (no horrendous Kampala traffic jam to reach it). Jinja is historically relevant being the starting place of Uganda’s first railway. The only loco is diesel shunter 36U06, the last two steam locos (3109 and 6012, plus a spare boiler) in Kampala having been scrapped sometime in the early 2000s. Although it is small, the displays are of high quality and you will get a personal tour from a staff member. They have published an excellent book “Our Railways. Our History” available at the Museum. For the first time, it presents the story of Uganda’s railways from a Ugandan perspective and includes material that I have not previously seen."

Zambia

There is a museum at Livingstone, there is no official website but see http://www.geoffs-trains.com/Museum/livingstonemuseum.html (link broken, 1st November 2019) and http://www.sa-transport.co.za/trains/zambia/zambia.html (latter two links added 7th July 2007). Elmar Pfannerstal has sent some pictures from his July 2011 visit (added 2nd November 2011). 10th Class 156 and 12th class 204 have worked tourist trains on a stub of the Zambezi Sawmills Railway in recent years,

Zimbabwe

There is a long established museum in Bulawayo, there is no official website but see http://www.geoffs-trains.com/Museum/BulawayoRlyMuseumHome.html (link dead 1st November 2019) and http://sa-transport.co.za/trains/museums/bulawayo_railway_museum/brm.html (latter link added 7th July 2007).

There are occasional public and private steam specials.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk