The International Steam Pages

Steam in Zimbabwe 1999 - 2001

After Zimfest 2001, there was to be another event in 2002 which got postponed to 2003 and then never happened. On a more positive note, a locally promoted steam train ran to Plumtree for the solar eclipse in November 2002 with Class 16A No 613, although it was poorly supported. There was also a better supported special train to Khami with 12th No 190 on 24th November 2002.

The proposals for Zimfest 2001 are now history but I am leaving them up as this will give you a guide as to what can be attempted. In the event. Zimfest 2001 got mixed notices, it all depended on your expectations I suppose. I have had several reports which you can read (updated 23rd August 2001). I have also appended a brief report of Hwange Colliery in July 2001 which is now using mainly ex-mainline Garratts (27th September 2001) but Trevor Heath adds (13th January 2002) "On a recent visit to Wankie Colliery, I was told that only 27% of NRZ wagons are useable and the Colliery is suffering an acute shortage of rail wagons. On the day in question, there were no empties available at the Colliery and the two 15th class Garratts 11 and 12 were simmering in the shed yard with no work to do. The failure of NRZ to move the coal traffic was evident in the endless procession of road trucks moving coal from Hwange to Bulawayo and beyond. It seems that every road haulier in the country has vehicles on this run and there is another run into Zambia where the Zambian haulier has established a large depot adjacent to Tajintunda siding." Chas Rickwood (added 26th February 2005) called in at Hwange Colliery on 17th February 2005 ) and found the following:
15th Class:- # 12 (in steam) # 11 (spare loco in shed) # 10 (under repair in Workshops). Wrecked 15th class (#?) still outside Works fence.
19th Class: # 5 (torpedo tender) - dumped in Yard. # 2 (complete in Workshops) # 3 (minus driving wheels) 
2' gauge "POPEYE" (O&K) standing besides loco shed - said to be "buggered"." In other words almost the same as Trevor Heath found 4 years earlier, 'no change' being good news in 2005.

The Friends of Rail page now contained a report of a February 2000 visit, the Garratts were still active, but I guess not many tourists are going to Zimbabwe at the moment (20th April 2000).  Dave Longman was here in August 1999 - read his report, which includes (14th December 1999) Colin Lake's account of his ride on the Vic Falls tourist train.  Trevor Staats spent a weekend in Zimbabawe in April 1999 - the illustrated report (added 9th July 1999) originally appeared on his own pages, but if you missed it here's your chance....  Peter-H. Patt spent 3 weeks in the area in May 1997 and reports on a surprising amount of activity in Bulawayo, Hwange and elsewhere! Now (3rd Feb 1998) you can read about a new international tourist train. If you like articulated locos then check out the Beyer-Garratt page.

Rob Dickinson