The International Steam Pages

The Benguela Railway 2012, Part 1

The railways of Angola are undergoing a remarkable revival, being reconstructed by the Chinese funded largely by an oil boom. The Luanda Railway in the north is effectively complete, the Mocamedes Railway in the south is making good progress and will open in mid-2012, but the most spectacular progress is being made on the Benguela Railway which will once again be a through international route in 2012/2013. 

For the record. the railway reopened from the coast to Huambo (formerly Nova Lisboa) at the end of August 2011. Reports on the web indicate that the next section to Cuito/Kuito (Silva Porto) was opened in February 2012, (paywall applied by 12th April 2018) reports that a Kuito - Huambo service would restart on 4th April 2012 and other reports claimed that the section on to Luena would be ready at the end of April 2012. This seems a big ask in terms of what has gone before as it represents the best part of half the remaining section to the DRC. There is currently very little freight traffic and the passenger train is lightly loaded.

Jose da Palma is based in the country and has sent me some pictures of the 'new' railway and some of the steam survivors. This is Part 1, click below for the other parts:

Benguela Station and the twice weekly train to/from Huambo:

Cubal - this appears to be the original station restored

Huambo (Nova Lisboa)

Cunje - Kuito (Silva Porto)

Anyone who has been to China will recognise the 'over the top' provision of facilities. I cannot believe the ridership of what is, after all, an international freight carrying railway will ever amount to much.

Rob Dickinson