- published: 25 Nov 2017
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Possibly our best charter of our recent visit to Zimbabwe was that of 14th July, when the Class 15A Garratt number 414 had a run out with every bit of spare rolling stock we could beg for!! There were a few times when the powerful Garratt actually seemed to be having to work hard, although I doubt that the loco was really stretched very much, as most of the wagons were empty. Anyway, with the help of some typical African scenery, we captured some really nice sequences. Here's Part One .... Part Two will follow very soon. Enjoy !
The beautiful NZR 14A Garratt number 525 put on a great show for us on a chartered freight train in July 2017. Here we see Part 2 of the excellent show that the loco crew put on for us. The charter ran from Bulawayo to Cement, where the 14A was connected to a rather rusty water tank to be filled for the return run (which we didn't follow). Please try to find Part 1 for the fabulous sunrise sequences. The day finished with a rare use of the turntable - although the 360 degree turn does seem a little pointless !
This is Part Two of what was possibly our best charter of our recent visit to Zimbabwe was that of 14th July, when the Class 15A Garratt number 414 had a run out with every bit of spare rolling stock we could beg for!! There were a few times when the powerful Garratt actually seemed to be having to work hard, although I doubt that the loco was really stretched very much, as most of the wagons were empty. Anyway, with the help of some typical African scenery, we captured some really nice sequences.
The beautiful NZR 14A Garratt number 525 put on a great show for us on a chartered freight train in July 2017. We were up early to see the Garratt off shed before sunrise, so that we could film its departure from Bulawayo station just after sunrise, with the sun reflecting on the loco's polished paintwork. The loco crew then put on a superb show for us with some fast runpasts at various points along its route. More of this charter follows in Part 2.
We borrowed the last genuine working Garratt for a day, from the coal mine at Hwange, so that we could get some line shots of this, the last working Class 16A Garratt in the world. This is an example of the largest of the African Garratts, with its 2-8-2+2-8-2 wheel arrangement. In all probability, this Garratt is now in its last few months of operation, especially with the impending change of management in Zimbabwe (November 2017). A 1966 built GE diesel hauled the Garratt (and us) out to the desired location, where the Garratt performed well for us. I'm certain the Garratt could have got itself to the spot without the diesel .... but I guess it all keeps workers in employment ! You can see from the last scene, the awful conditions we were filming in, with flies actually landing on the le...
4-6-4+4-6-4 Garratt 15A-414 works a chartered freight through typical Zimbabwean scenery for the FarRail Tour of July 2017. The Garratt makes a beautiful sight as it winds its way through the African landscape, along routes which rarely see steam these days.
"Flying Fifteen" Garratt 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 Class 15A number 414 heads a chartered freight out on the mainline from Thomson Junction. We see the Garratt passing through the one tunnel on the system and going over an elegant steel girder bridge. These 15A's were the fastest of the African Garratts, designed primarily for passenger work. Part 1 can be viewed at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HYVLXwgPoU
Two magnificent Garratts take us from Bulawayo to Cement, Mbalabala to Bulawayo and Bulawayo to Victoria Falls via Thomson Junction and Hwange. This video, captured in May 2015, shows NRZ Garrratts 14A class No. 519 and 15A class No. 414 hauling freight and passenger trains. A tour by www.TANAGO.de and Geoff's Trains and Tours.
During a visit to Zimbabwe in July 2017, our chartered 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 15A Garratt makes a struggled departure from Thomson Junction with a very heavy demonstration mixed freight. Before the Garratt can leave the yard, we have to wait for the early morning timetabled arrival from Bulawayo, with a mix of freight and passengers aboard.
NRZ Garratt 15A-414 (4-6-4+4-6-4, Beyer Peacock (Franco-Belge), 1952) heads the FarRail Tour steam freight charter from Thomson Junction into the wilderness of classic Zimbabwe landscape towards Victoria Falls. At the view from Hotel Baobab of the curve round the hill near Hwange, my mini video camera had difficulty in finding some thing to focus on (01:08). However, I have managed to edit out 99.9% of everybody else's camera noise so you can not only hear the sound of the locomotive clearly, but the bird singing in the tree as well.
Garratt 4-6-4+4-6-4 number 416 heads a chartered mixed freight from Bulawayo to Sawmills in August 2005. Water is taken at Nymandelova. Locals show a remarkably casual attitude to an approaching train on the climb to the bridge here. I apologise for the incorrect start title which says the charter is to Cement - it's actually to Sawmills ! Filmed by Tony Hollins.
The Hwange Colliery in Zimbabwe offers one of the very last regular steam operations in the world in 2017. Up until recently the coal mine had two Garratts operating but, on my recent visit in July this year, they appear to be down to the last steamable example. The colliery has numerous other Garratts (and other types) scattered around the depot, but none are in a working condition. Number 611 is a Class 16, 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 .... a truly magnificent machine .... way overpowered for the shunting and short trip working asked of it. On Monday, 17th July 2017, the Garratt takes a loaded train of coal the short distance from the colliery to Thomson Junction, on the mainline. She returns soon after with a few empty wagons. Quite how long it will be before the diesels at TJ are allowed up to the c...
This interesting trip in the cab of a 1966 built Co-Co General Electric Class DE6 loco starts at Thomson Junction. The diesel was hauling passenger coaches plus a Class 15A Garratt with its freight train from there to an assortment of photo spots for steam run pasts. Part way through this sequence, we can see the Garratt from the diesel loco cab. The cab ride ends with the train stopping at the first steam run past location.
Garratt 2-8-2+2-8-2 number 612 heads a lengthy chartered freight from Bulawayo to Cement in August 2005. The Garratt has to work relatively hard but nevertheless maintains a respectable speed over much of the journey. The locals show little regard for lineside safety and it seems that in one village, the local school is turned out to watch both the Garratt and the strange foreigners chasing it ! Filmed by Tony Hollins.
On my recent visit to Zimbabwe, I jumped at the opportunity to take a short trip in the cab of a Class 15A 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 Garratt locomotive. These 15A's, known as the "Flying Fifteens", were fast (82mph) and capable of handling both freight and passenger work. Sadly, number 414, featured here, is far from being in its best condition .... although it was the best one of the few Garratts that we had in steam during our visit in July 2017. This particular example was one of only ten that were built in France for Rhodesian Railways in 1952, despite its classic British design ! How long these giants of the railway will be steamable is uncertain. I would encourage any enthusiasts and groups to make a visit to the country and pay money to see them working. The longer that the Garratts bring forei...
NRZ 14A-525 (2-6-2+2-6-2, Bayer Peacock, 7606 / 1954) departs Bulawayo Station with it's whistle echoing at sunrise. It then steams through misty cuttings with glint on its side before eventually arriving at Cement. Bulawayo shed has a number of Garratts, which if finance was made available could be made serviceable. But, .... NRZ 14A-525 may actually be 521, with 525's plates, as they mislaid the plates for 521 and swapping the plates was better than painting the numbers on. A Far Rail Tour charter from 10th July 2017. Bernd gets very excited at the end of the video.
Garratt 4-6-4-4-6-4 number 12 hauls a coal train out of Hwange colliery and then Garratt 2-6-2-2-6-2 number 512 shunts passenger stock in preparation for our group's charter train the following day. We have a brief glimpse of our organiser, Bernd Seiler of FarRail Tours attempting to get things moving. August 2005.
Tuesday 3 March 2015, the mixed train from Bulawayo has arrived and is shunted while a red SNCC (Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo) locomotive waits for clearance, and a pilot, to cross the Zambezi gorge into Zambia with a freight train. We look over the Beyer-Garratt locomotive and vintage carriages stored nearby before being invited into the cab of the Congolese loco by the South African driver.
On 16th July 2017, Class 15A Garratt number 414 headed a chartered freight over the world famous Victoria Falls bridge over the Zambezi river between Zimbabwe and Zambia (formerly Southern and Northern Rhodesia). The Victoria Falls themselves are one of the wonders of the world and are quite breath taking to view. The walk across the bridge is an experience never to forget too. I was lucky to have a beautiful rainbow, courtesy of the falls, and a cheeky monkey briefly considered making a grab for my video equipment before the Garratt made its appearance !
“I’m pulling now”, says the man with the trip wire, after much delay. He is finally about to pull the total production of coal for the day - one wagon - onto the weigh bridge. After weighing, it is then fly shunted into a siding to be collected by the last commercially operated steam locomotive in Africa - NRZ 16A-611. However, were are problems… NRZ 16A-611 Garratt 2-8-2+2-8-2, Beyer Peacock, 7516/1953