The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Zimbabwe, Part 3
Thomson Junction 1984/6

Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.

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The Baobab Hotel had a lookout giving an elevated view of TJ and the hills around it. Trains could be viewed climbing from TJ to the tunnel and then passing beneath the hotel. On an overcast morning I watched a 15th struggling with a coal train, despite having just left TJ the engine was not steaming well and the driver just let it plod to a stop alongside a coal scarred hill where it brewed up. I watched and listened to the slow but steady restart on the grade. I then had ample time to reach a position in the Lukosi Gorge by which time loco 400 had hit its stride and the sun had made an appearance, happy days!

7/11/86 a midday view of 15th 376 passing the hill near the Baobab Hotel. The sky was beginning to darken as a prelude to a late afternoon thunderstorm, which seemed common at this time of year.
In addition to the the curves beneath the Baobab Hotel there were some fine spots earlier in the climb from TJ In 1986 I really gave my new video a workout here and the climb away from the Deka River Bridge on the other side of TJ

The section from New Hwange to the Lukosi Gorge was also a favourite. I met a ganger here who was walking the line by himself. I hoped he was not as nervous about the big pussy cats that might have been prowling in the surrounding areas as I was!

Following another overcast morning I finally scored sunshine on 6th November 1986! 15th 376 is seen approaching New Hwange on a southbound freight..

On the same day, 15th 391 passes through the Lukosi Gorge shortly after leaving New Hwange.

On 4th November 1986, 20th 736 is pouring on the power as it heads for Lukosi.

On the same day, 15th 423 is in fine form as it steams out of the Gorge heading to Lukosi.

The climb continued all the way to Lukosi where trains would stop for water, this was 3rd November 1986..

The 2pm freight to Victoria Falls crosses the Deka River Bridge on 7th November 1986.

On 17th September 1984, a 20th heads a late afternoon freight for Victoria Falls and crosses the almost dry Deka River as drought sets in.

Hire cars were not only expensive in Zimbabwe, but also in bad shape. Nothing to do with railfans getting them to perform as though they were rally cars? When I returned mine to Victoria Falls I had made a long list of defects, which was probably promptly round filed!

Rob Dickinson