Metre-Gauge Railways in East Africa - The Uganda Railway and it Successors

Roger Farnworth Dec 31, 2018

  1. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    My wife and I were in Uganda in April/ May 2018, I have been there a number of times before.

    The national railway system is metre-gauge. I hope this first post is of interest to members of this forum. The history of the l;ine from Mombasa through Kenya and Uganda to Kampala and then on to Kasese is intriguing.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/09/uganda-railways-part-1

    Other posts about the trip, but not railway related, can be found on this link:

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/category/uganda

    This second post provides some more information about the history of what is often called 'The LunaticLine'.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/uganda-railways-part-2

    This third post in the series starts the journey along the 'Lunatic Line'.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/uganda-railways-part-3
     
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Fascinating from quick scans. Will return to read in depth later today. Thank you, and Happy New Year.
     
  3. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you. I hope you enjoy them when you return to them. Happy New Year!
     
  4. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    More from Kenya and Uganda! ....

    The 4th post in a series about Uganda Railways. This post covers the journey along the original Uganda Railway from Mazeras to Voi.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/uganda-railways-part-4-mazeras-to-voi

    This is the 5th part of the story of the Uganda Railway. It covers the length from Voi to Ulu in Kenya.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/uganda-railways-part-5-voi-to-ulu

    Our journey along the 'Uganda Railway' continues. In this post we travel from Ulu into Nairobi and notice two branch-lines on the way.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/uganda-railways-part-6-ulu-to-nairobi

    This next post focusses on the station at Nairobi and its immediate environment.

    https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/05/22/uganda-railways-part-7-nairobi-railway-station-good-yard-mpd-and-railway-museum
     
  5. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    We are gradually getting closer to the eastern border of Uganda! This is the next post in the series and covers the stretch of the line from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha .....

    https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/05/24/uganda-railways-part-8-west-of-nairobi-nairobi-to-naivasha

    Another leg of the journey on the Uganda Railway.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/naivasha_to_nakuru

    The next two posts cover the length of the old Uganda Railway to Kisumu and Butere. Originally, this line was of significant strategic importance. Trains along the line provided access to Lake Victoria and the inland steamers that then provided access to the Great Lakes region and to Kampala via Port Bell.

    The construction of the line from Nakuru to Kampala and beyond changed thing significantly and the old main line became a branch-line and has seen little traffic over recent years.

    https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/05/25/uganda-railways-part-10-west-of-nakuru-the-line-to-kisumu/

    Before we return to Nakuru to follow the main line towards Kampala, one further post about the Kisumu line. There was a short branch which left the Kisumu to Nakuru line within the confines of Kisumu city. This post focusses on that line.

    https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/05/25/uganda-railways-part-11-the-branch-from-kisumu-to-butere

    Back at Nakuru, we prepare ourselves to travel on to Kampala. This post takes us to Eldoret.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/uganda-railways-part-12-nakuru-to-eldoret

    Eldoret is a junction station. The branch-line service to Kitale set off from Eldoret. We follow its route.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/uganda-railways-part-13-eldoret-to-kitale

    We really are now almost in Uganda! The is the last post focussing on the Uganda Railway in Kenya. It takes us from Eldoret to the border with Uganda at Malaba.

    Sadly, in this post there is little evidence of locomotives. The line has seen little use over the years. I was very fortunate to be able to travel 1st Class all the way from Mombasa to Kampala in 1994. I had no idea at the time how fragile that service was.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/uganda-railways-part-14-eldoret-to-malaba
     
  6. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    With this post we have crossed the border between Kenya and Uganda. Just across the border in Tororo the mainline divides to give a Kampala/Kasese route via Jinja, and a Pakwach and Aria route via Soroti. The more northerly route through Soroti was perceived as the branch but it has been the route which has been refurbished first (in 2013).

    We will follow the branch first.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/uganda-railways-part-15-malaba-to-soroti.

    Two more posts about the branch-line to Gulu and Arua. The first takes us from Soroti to Gulu.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/03/uganda-railways-part-16-soroti-to-gulu

    The second covers the length to the end of the branch-line.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/03/uganda-railways-part-17-gulu-to-arua
     
  7. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    We have now returned to the mainline at Tororo and are heading on toward Kampala.

    We leave Tororo is a north-westerly direction following the contours on the north side of the Nagongera Road as far as Achilet (about 5 kilometres outside of Tororo). For the next 10 kilometres the railway stays north of the road until reaching Nagongera, or Nagongora, ..............

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/uganda-railways-part-18-tororo-to-jinja

    Of interest is the number of railway lines on the map between Tororo and Jinja. There is by far the greatest density of lines in Uganda.
     
  8. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The Nile River Bridge at Jinja was built in the late 1920s. It is perhaps the iconic structure for the whole of the metre-gauge railway system from Mombasa to Kasese.

    The first railway in Uganda ran from Jinja to Namasagali on the Victoria Nile where a steamer service ran on to Masindi Port. From there passengers travelled by road through Masindi to Butiaba on Lake Albert. From there they could travel on by steamer to the Belgian Congo or north to Juba in the Sudan.

    Train passengers from Kenya reached Uganda by steamer from the railhead at Kisumu and across Lake Victoria to Entebbe or Port Bell. In the mid 1920s the main line in Kenya was extended from Nakuru through Eldoret, and Tororo to Mbulamuti where it met up with the original Jinja to Namasagali line. The new line to Kampala then crossed the Nile at Jinja by a bridge carrying both the railway and a roadway underneath.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/uganda-railways-part-19-jinja-to-kampala

    The last part of my own journey to Kampala by train in 1994 commenced once a derailed freight train had been rerailed ahead of us and the passenger train was ‘given the road'. We had waited for over 6 hours at Jinja Railway Station. Travelling by rail was unreliable but really enjoyable!!
     
  9. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    We are now in Kampala and preparing to travel on to Kasese.

    In 1994, I attempted to travel to Kasese and I might have been able to do so if I was prepared to wait in Kampala for the possiblity that a train migth run. In the end my trip to the South West of Uganda was much better served by a road journey via Masaka, Mbarara and Kabale.

    Before we take one of those intermittent passenger services from the last century, we take a good look round Kampala Railway Station.

    This post (below) is the penultimate post on the direct route from Mombasa to Kasese. After this there will be three further posts. One to complete the line to Kasese, one to review an old and defunct branch line running north from Jinja and a final post which will seek to cover the locomotives and rolling stock on the Uganda Railway .....

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/10/uganda-railways-part-20-kampala
     
  10. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    This next post relates to the western extension of the Uganda Railway through to Kasese and the Kilembe Mines. (I am expecting to post twice more about the Uganda Railway. There is one branchline which I have to follow and then I plan to write about the locomotives and rolling stock on the line.)

    The Western Extension, as it was known, was built and opened in the mid-1950s, its main target was to reach the Kilembe Copper Mines in the west of Uganda. Kasese was built alongside the Mines and has grown since then into a reasonable size town with industry and tourism building its economy.

    Official sanction for building the railway to Mityana was given in 1951, and for the continuation to Kasese in 1952. The decision rested upon a guaranteed source of traffic at Kilembe, and was prompted by the fact that mining development was dependent on some positive step to improve communications. There seemed little doubt that the line would attract some Congo traffic, which would provide new revenue for E.A.R. & H., while the Uganda Government was much encouraged by the very favourable report of an Economic Survey Committee. The concluding sentence of the report reflects the tone of the whole: ‘The committee desires to record its firm conviction that this project will prove eminently successful. and contribute materially to the welfare and prosperity of the people of Uganda”. The capital cost of the extension was £5.25 million, and the Uganda Government provided the Railway Administration with a loan to cover this.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/uganda-railways-part-21-kampala-to-kasese
     
  11. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    This is the last post relating directly to the lines of the Uganda Railway and covers the first railway built in Uganda. The last post on the Uganda Railway will cover the locomotives and rolling stock on the network.

    There were two very early railway lines in Uganda. Port Bell to Kampala was one. The other was an earlier line from Jinja to Namasagali via Mbulamuti. We encountered this line as we travelled from Tororo to Jinja earlier in this series of posts. Indeed the original line from Tororo travelled to Mbulamuti to meet the older line from Jinja to Namasagali. At that time there was a good justification for this. Namagali was a significant point on an 'overland' journey from Mombasa to Cairo! Meeting the line from Jinja to Namasagali at its mid-pint allowed easy access to both significant destinations and beyond them to the Nile and to Lake Victoria.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...ays-part-22-jinja-via-mbulamuti-to-namasagali

    There is much to explore in the Great Lakes region in Africa! This series of posts relates only to the railways providing access to Uganda but there were a whole variety of different transport services in the area which would warrant further study!
     
  12. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    My original plan was to provide details of locomotives and rolling stock on the Railway in a single post. This has become a little unwieldy so further posts will follow this one ...


    It was my intention, before starting this exercise to cover all locomotives and rolling stock in a single blog post. As I began to review the available information in books and on the internet, it seemed that there was enough material to justify more than one post. This and the following posts will not be fully comprehensive in nature but I hope that they provide some insights that are valuable.

    Probably, along with many other people, my attention is primarily drawn to the Garratt locomotives on these lines. However, I will attempt to reflect the full range of motive power and rolling stock on the line, references are given where ever possible. Everything in this first post predates the arrival of the Garratt locomotives.

    Early Locomotives on the Uganda Railway (1896-1926)

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/uganda-railways-part-23-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-a
     
  13. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The first of these posts about locomotives and rolling stock on the railways of Uganda and Kenya covered locomotives used by the Uganda Railway. This second post primarily covers locomotives introduced by the Kenya Uganda Railway up until it handed over to the East African Railways Corporation in 1948.



    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/uganda-railways-part-24-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-b-1927-to-19/


    The Kenya Uganda Railway introduced Beyer Garratt locomotives to the network. These were massive machines with huge pulling power which suited the lightly constructed lines on which they ran.
     
  14. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    One of the small snippets of information I have encountered while writing the series of posts on the Uganda Railway and its successors is an almost passing comment made in a number of texts about the Kenya Uganda Railway Beyer-Garratts numbered 41-44, 51 and 53. These comments refer to these locomotives being sold to Indo-China.

    Someone asked me whether there was any information about what happened to these locos in any of the main texts about the metre-gauge lines in East Africa. The only specific reference appears to relate to the locos going to the 'Yunnan Railway'.

    It might be that others can shed more light on this, but I thought that it was worth following up. The post below is the result of this.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/indo-china-to-yunnan-railway


     
  15. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    This is the third post about Locomotives and Rolling Stock on the network of lines in Uganda and Kenya.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/uganda-railways-part-25-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-c-steam-1948-to-1977


    Very sadly, so very few of these locomotives have survived in any form, let alone in a condition to continue to run on the network.
     
  16. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The East African Railways and Harbours Corporation began to look at replacing its steam locomotives with more modern power units. This next post is part of that story.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/uganda-railways-part-26-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-d-diesel-1948-to-1977


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  17. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    Two posts remain to complete the story of the line. This is the first of these. It brings the story of the line up to date (to 2018).

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/uganda-railways-part-28-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-f-1977-to-2018


    Very sadly, at least from a heritage perspective, the metre-gauge line and its trains have largely been replaced between Nairobi and Mombasa. No doubt the new trains are infinitely better. But their advent has brought to an end the real sense of adventure that travelling the metre-gauge line from Mombasa to Nairobi evoked!
     
  18. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    I anticipate that this is the final post in this series about Uganda Railway and its successors. I trust that you have enjoyed these posts. If you have, then I have been posting about metre-gauge lines in France and you might wish to look at those posts in due course!

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/uganda-railways-part-27-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-e-rolling-stock-1895-to-2018


     
  19. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    Over Christmas 2018, I have taken some time to look through older Railway Magazines which have been waiting for my attention for months. I have enjoyed looking at copies of The Railway Magazine from 1950 and found a complete copy of an article about the Kenya-Uganda Railway in the April 1950 edition of the magazine.

    I thought the full article may be of interest here. Please follow this link:

    https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/12/28/uganda-railways-part-29-the-railway-magazine-1950-april-1950
     
  20. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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