Please forgive the pun, but it was just too good to pass up. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I am attempting to clean up my railroad photo and video collection. Today I came across the disk containing my shots from the trip to Livingstone in Zambia. Zambia does have a rudementary rail network and Livingstone has a railroad station. But most exitedly Livingstone has a railroad museum!
Our private guide was a bit perplexed when I inquired about visiting the museum and then expressed a desire to consequently take a look at the train station. After all why would you come to Africa to look at trains? Apparently the museum's existence is not commonly known. As is almost always the case, it is located in an abandoned rail classification yard. Most of it is outside, with engines and other equipment sort of half hazardly placed around the property.
The visitor is on his or her own. There are no plaques with pertinent data, so one has to pretty much rely on finding the builders plates on the pieces to get any information at all. Nevertheless I found it fascinating to wonder through the grounds. A bit sad too. All of the locomotives are in deplorable shape. Parts are missing or broken and the evidence of neglect is everywhere. Obviously somebody had a commendable idea to attempt to save some of these things, but the National Railway Museum in York or the Verkehrsmuseum in Nürnberg it is not. Of course I also realize that Zambia might just have more important things to spend it's scarce funds on.
Here are a few photos from the museum (all photos by Ralf Meier):
By the way if any of my readers know technical details about these engines please be so kind and enter them in the comment section.
Having done the museum off we went to the Livingstone Railway Station. I was happily photographing on the station platform not even noticeing that our guide had disappeared. Not to worry: He had gone to round up the station master to have a chat with these crazy Americans about trains. We were told that Zambian Railways runs on "Cape Gauge" which is 3 feet and 6 inches. Most of the railways built in the British colonies in Africa were of this gauge. There was a daily passenger train from Livingstone to Lusaka and a few daily freight trains. According to the station master most of the motive power were EMD GT36CU-MP diesel electrics which of course I can neither confirm or deny.
After taking a few more photographs and some video we bid the station master a thankful adieu and went on our way.
A short video of a RSZ freight train departing Livingstone, Zambia: