The International Steam Pages


Steam Survivors at Moatize, Mocambique, 2012

Once upon a time, Moatize was, as far as I can tell, a sleepy end of the line town in northern Mocambique, most notable among railway enthusiasts for the presence of two dumped Mallets, similar to those that worked in South Africa. They were already derelict in 1968 when Basil Roberts took this picture, however, amazingly they are still there and ambitious plans exist to send them south and maybe restore (one of) them. This is 2-6-6-0 101 (Alco 50847/1912):

The Moatize area was relatively untouched by the civil war and steam activity of some kind is thought to have continued to the early 1990s, although the line south through Sena to Beira as a whole was not operational. Now this area is seeing a massive mining boom owing to its huge coal deposits. The line to Beira has been reopened and coal is being exported. The arrangement is less than ideal as Beira is not a deep water port, so Vale of Brazil is behind a scheme to build a new railway to connect with Malawi (I am not sure of the route but I have an old map showing a proposed railway between Entroncamento, north-east of Moatize, and Nkaya, north of Blantyre although we b reports suggest it will go to Blantyre) and rehabilitate the line onwards to Nacala, where the port is much more suitable for handling the traffic. This will be significantly shorter and will have the desirable side effect of pumping some money into Malawi's rundown infrastructure. If you want to see these Mallets then there are now daily flights from J'burg to Tete nearby. 


In the meantime, steam slumbers on in and around Moatize shed as Martin Potts found when he visited on 22nd August 2012 as he reports:

The two Mallets are still more or less where they were abandoned in the 1960s, though one has evidently been hit fairly hard as it now straddles an embankment at around 90 degrees to the original running line. This is at the far western end of the old shunt. There was no obvious identity on either of the Mallets, though a detailed look at the many stamped numbers may give some clues (I guess this is 101 above RD.).

The damaged frames under the cab are evident.

The second Mallet (probably 100, Alco 50846/1912, RD) is dumped off the southern end of the loco turning triangle to the south of the shed.

The other four locos are within the old shed area behind a fence. One security guard was keeping an eye on things.

The two Henschels are under cover in the old shed and are basically intact apart from some of the plates which have disappeared. Considering they were last used some 21 years ago they are in remarkable condition. 270 (2-10-2 Hen 29063/1955) still has a full set of plates. 253 is on the right with tender ex 255.

253 ((2-10-2 Hen 29046/1955) also appears to be in good condition though the smokebox number has gone. It is carrying a headlight numbered 413 (413 was a Baldwin 2-8-2 stationed here in the 1970s. RD).

Outside the shed are the remaining two locos. This wreck is apparently 453 (4-8-2 MLW 75470/1947) with 270 in the background.

And finally we have 59 (2-8-2 NBL 27781/1957) missing a lot of parts. (This is a former Trans-Zambesia Railway locomotive, identical to and numbered in series with the Malawi G Class, based on the well known Nigerian River class. Sister locomotive 57 survives in the Livingstone railway museum. RD)


Of those locos shown above, here is Basil Roberts' picture of 253 near Lorenšo Marques (Maputo) circa 1970:

453 was one of twelve locomotives built for the Rhodesian Railway (class 11A) but later sold to Mocambique.in 1961 where they were employed for a while on the Swaziland Railway, hence sister locomotive 459 was captured by Basol Roberts at Sidvokodvo shed in 1970.

This is Basil Roberts' picture of a fellow member of the Trans Zambersia / Malawi Railways G class at Beira in 1968. 46 was actually built by Henschel (28975/1956), others nominally by Vulcan Foundry although they were assembled by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns:


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk