The International Steam Pages

Garratts in East Africa

This page illustrates examples of articulated steam locomotives - click here for the introduction to Garratt locomotives.


When the country was taken over by Italy, the railway ordered six 2-8-2 + 2-8-2 Garratts from Ansaldo in 1939, but only three actually arrived and were put into use after the Second World War. They had a very short working life and only 503 (out of use) remained intact at the time of Charles Small's visit.


The Kenya Uganda Railway and its successor bodies were heavy users of the Garratt locomotive and there is a representative collection in the Nairobi Railway Museum - unofficial website, (link broken by December 2021) being representatives of classes 55, 57, 59 and 60.

This is Terry Bagworth's picture of 5711 on Nairobi shed on 15th January 1971, it lasted another two years before being withdrawn for preservation.

This is 5505 on 17th November 1979, it has recently been repainted in EAR maroon - this is KUR grey:

The next two pictures of 5930 and 6006 were taken by Graham Roberts in 2004 after they had received a much needed repainting:

Pride and joy of the preserved Garratts, however, is restored 5918 which has made occasional sorties in recent years although it is currently sidelined following privatisation of Kenya Railways. Chris Lewis was on a 2005 safari:


Sudan had a very brief flirtation with Garratts, its ten 4-6-4 + 4-6-4 locomotives supplied before World War 2 were rapidly sold on after it to Rhodesia where they became the 17th class. In turn they were sold to Mocambique some fifteen years later becoming 921 - 930, although in this case their operating area was not greatly unchanged.

Basil Roberts photographed one of them outside the shed at Beira in August 1968 and 921 on a passenger train between Beira and Gondola in July 1969, these images are taken from our CD-ROM Safari Steam


There are no confirmed sightings of surviving Garratts here (just rumours). Here are some delicious memories from the Basil Roberts' collection, all taken in 1967/8 and all from our CD-ROM Safari Steam. The 52 class 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 pre-Second World War Garratts were unusually built by North British. 5204 was the last survivor and was photographed on the triangle at Morogoro in 1967 en route to Dar for scrapping 

The 53 class 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 Beyer Peacock Garratts were contemporaries of the 52 class, the former built for the Kenya-Uganda section, the latter for Tanzania. Despite its apparently good condition, 5302 in the yard at Dar had been out of use for some time.

5605 preparing to depart from the docks area in Dar.

6012 is at Moshi in Tanzania with a train for across the border to Voi in Kenya. Behind is Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.


All the remaining steam locomotives were scrapped around 2000. Hence we have to rely on Cliff Schoff's classic picture of 5813 on a Kampala to Nairobi train taking water at Kampala in February 1967. This also appears on our CD-ROM Safari Steam.

Rob Dickinson