The International Steam Pages


Narrow Gauge Railway Relics in Mauritius, 2012 

Thomas Kautzor reports on his visit from 4th to 7th February 2012. For earlier visits, please see Jame Waite's report and Torsten Schneider's report. Thomas also reported on Mauritius Governement Railway Remains.

Later additions (3rd September 2013) are pictures of two preserved diesels at the old Labourdonnais sugar mill.


Sugar Plantation Railways:

All of the previously recorded preserved locomotives (11 steam & 2 diesel) except for one were seen. They are:

“L’Aventure du Sucre” (open daily 09.00-17.00, http://www.aventuredusucre.com/) at the Beau Plan S.E. west of Pamplemousses (north) is a sugar museum created by three sugar companies. On display outside is Deep River Beau Champ S.E. O&K 0-6-0T N°. 12183/1930 “Sir William” (930mm gauge) together with a W.G. Allen & Sons, Tipton, cane wagon donated by Mon Loisir S.E. Inside the factory Mon Loisir O&K 0-6-0T N°. 12388/1932 (600mm gauge, new to Beau Séjour S.E., 762mm gauge) is on display. Its wheels can be made to move by answering correctly to a computer quiz.

Beau Séjour S.E. 0-4-2T N°. 1, 2 or 3 (762mm gauge, Kerr Stuart & Co. “Skylark” class 813/1903, 814/1903 or 1360/1915) is plinthed with a cane wagon at the old mill at Piton (north). There are some track remains outside the mill.

At Bel Air S.E. (BASE) (formerly Bel Air Saint-Felix S.E.) south of Rivière des Anguilles (south), while the security guard at the gate confirmed that 0-6-0T N°. 1058 (750mm gauge, O&K 12774/1936, new to La Barraque S.E.) was still plinthed inside the closed mill together with a tip wagon, access was denied with no possibility to ask management, this being a public holiday.

At Britannia Sugar Estate (south), there are 762mm gauge track remains.

Médine S.E. O&K 0-6-0T N°. 12791/1936 (800mm gauge) sits in the children’s playground at Casela Nature & Leisure Park (open daily 09.00-18.00 Oct.-Apr., 09.00-17.00 May-Sep., http://www.caselayemen.mu/ dead by late March 2012) in Cascavelle near Flic en Flac (west coast). The park is owned by nearby Médine S.E.

At Deep River S.E., southwest of Bel Air (east), Ruhrthaler 0-6-0DM N°. 3570/1958 (800mm gauge, type D120Z, delivered new to Belle Vue Harel S.E. as N°. 2 for 750mm gauge through N.V. Locospoor, Den Haag (NL)) is on display.

Deep River Beau Champ S.E. (DRBC), in Grande Rivière Sud Est (east coast), is an operating mill. On the grounds are Fletcher Jennings & Co., Whitehaven, 0-4-2T N°. 190L/1883 “Harriette”, inside the old loco shed, and Lowca Eng. Co. Ltd. N°. 204/1889 “Regina”, plinthed in between some bushes outside the factory with a cane wagon (all 914mm gauge). N°. 204 has a smaller replacement boiler and carries the works plates from N°. 190L. Prior authorization is required to visit the locos (http://www.cielgroup.com/agro/sugar_mauritius.aspx - link dead by 26th April 2014). Another DRBC loco, O&K 0-6-0T N°. 12184/1930 “Henry” was sold to Mr. Larcher of Mauritius in 03/1969. It is not known if this loco survives to this day.

A third DRBC 0-4-2T, Lowca Eng. Co. Ltd., Whitehaven, N°. 207L/1890 is on display inside the Marine & Tar Products compound on the west side of the M1 Motorway between Pailles and Port Louis. (A January 2016 visitor found it 'missing', probably moved for road improvements, but could not find out where it now was. I would appreciate news on its current location. RD) 

Highlands S.E. O&K 0-6-0T 11717/1928 (delivered new to the Anglo-Ceylon Estate as 762mm gauge), with a fake boiler, is plinthed together with two cane wagons next to a roundabout (1st one after exciting the M1) at Ebène Cybercity in Quatre Borne (centre). It was moved to its present location from closed Highland S.E. in early 2006.

Flacq United Estate Ltd. (FUEL) (formerly Union Flacq S.E.) near Centre de Flacq (east) is a modern mill operating mill opened in 1947 and owned by Groupe Mon Loisir. No remnants from the railway, but after it closed Hunslet Eng. 6wDM N°. 4505/1953 (800mm gauge, 101 h.p.), was sold to SWK Nr 50/30027, Bothaville Silos, Free State, South Africa, where it was converted to 1067mm gauge.

The 150km long 750mm railway system at Mon Désert Alma S.E. in Moka (centre) was the last to close on Mauritius in 1985. A 2002 visitor found the tracks at the factory still in place and a number of derelict Ruston, Plymouth, Whitcomb, O&K and Hunslet diesels and cane wagons on site. According to a security guard at the gate all of this is now gone, and the locomotives have been “exported”. The mill is still operating and is now owned by ENL Agribusiness (http://www.enl.mu/en/enl_agribusiness/enl_agribusiness.aspx).

Mon Trésor S.E. 0-6-0T N°. 11 (O&K 11194/1926, new to Deep River Beau Champ N°. 204, 800mm gauge, 1972 to Mon Trésor S.E.) with a fake boiler is plinthed at the entrance of Mon Trésor Mon Désert S.E. (formerly Mon Désert Carié) south of Plaine Magnien and the International Airport (south). This is an operating mill owned by Omnicane (http://www.omnicane.com/index.php?tid=67). There are some track remains under the tarred road leading to the mill.

A unidentified O&K 0-6-0T numbered 606 with a fake boiler is plinthed, together with a Allens of Tipton cane wagon at Saint-Felix S.E., west of Souillac (south). Both are 750mm gauge, whereas the track remains at the mill, which closed in 1997, are 600mm gauge.

At Savannah S.E. southwest of L’Escalier (south) there are no railway remains at the closed mill, and no trace of O&K 0-6-0T N°. 12773/1936 (750mm gauge, new to La Barraque S.E.) which was reported here in 2002, but just to the east the large Beauvallon steel bridge survives and can be seen from the road. After closure of the railway Hunslet Eng. 6wDM N°. 6303/1964 (750mm gauge, 101 h.p.) was sold to SWK Nr 51/30028, Koppies Silos, Free State, South Africa, where it was converted to 1067mm gauge and is still used on stand-by today.

Savannah S.E. Ruston & Hornsby four-wheel diesel loco N°. 399643 (Mark 4YBL) is on display inside inside La Vanille Réserve des Mascareignes park (open daily 09.30-17.00, http://www.lavanille-reserve.com/) in Rivière des Anguilles (south). According to the information board it was in use at Savannah until 1981 and then sat in a field in La Barrack until moved to La Vanille in 1986.

No railway remains at Union Vale S.E., south of Plaine Magnien (south), but early Kerr Stuart 6wDM N°. 4415/1928 was in use here from 1934 to 1971 as UVSE N°. 8, after which it was plinthed until 1997 when it was sold to the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales, where it had been tried out before moving to Ireland (1928-34).

Other Railways:

The only operating railway in Mauritius today is the tourist railway at Domaine Les Pailles in Les Guibies, Pailles (south of Port Louis). It operates daily over a loop through the property from 10.00 to 17.00, with departures every 20 minutes if there is demand, departing from Victoria Station next to the entrance of the property, in the southwest corner of the loop. Inside the station building old photos of the MGR from the collection of the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) and the Carnegie Library adorn the walls, while a H. Pooley & Son, Liverpool, baggage scale sits on the platform. Another disused loop disconnects and reconnects from the main track in the northwest corner. At the far corner of this loop is the railway’s small servicing area, with a siding over a inspection pit and a fuel pump. On the main loop, a passenger platform serves the four restaurants on the north side, while on the disused loop another platform (“Dolce Vita Station”) is located next to the complex’s Italian restaurant.

Motive power is a steam-outline four-wheel diesel-hydraulic locomotive named “Lady Alice” (600mm gauge). It was one of four modern-looking locomotives built by Severn Lamb for the 1986 U.K. National Garden Show in Stoke-on-Trent, where it ran as N°. 1 “The Royal Tournament”. In 10/1986, when the festival closed, the locomotives went into storage until 02/1988 when all four were sold to the Burgh Hall Bygone Village, Fleggburgh, Norfolk, U.K., where N°. 1 retained its number and name. In 1992 it was rebuilt to steam-outline by Gentrac Systems Ltd (N°. 8851) and sold to Domaine des Pailles. It runs together with three open-sided bogie coaches (40 seats each), while a fourth partially dismantled coach sits on the inspection pit siding. 


Labourdonnais (between Port Louis and Grand Bay)

Two diesels are preserved at this old sugar mill, the first is a Ruhrtahler and the second a Plymouth with a Caterpillar engine. There are more pictures available here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/47254991@N05/sets/72157635193449795/. They are reproduced with permission courtesy of 'Nohabdiesel'.

 


Rob Dickinson

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