The International Steam Pages

Case Notes - Steam in Zimbabwe, Part 8
The Southern line
Esigodini & Bushtick

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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Esigodini (Essexvale) was often used as a crossing point and whilst there was a climb out of there the heavy lifting was in the vicinity of Tank and Bushtick and onward to Heaney Junction. I had been hoping to see a 14A on a freight, supposedly a rare occurrence, but over the few days I was here I saw at least one in use in each direction.

By the time trains reached Bushtick the mornings were hot and humid. Clag was the order of the day as trains made the ascent from Tank usually with a vertical column of smoke looking as if a mechanical stoker was in use. Some trains were able to gain speed racing around the S curves at Bushtick, but more often it was ongoing slog with the firehole door opening and closing as the fireman sweated to keep up steam. It made for good video. Some engines passed with a clear stack, but the racket they made was evidence of the sustained hard work required at this remote location.

Generally a couple of shots could be obtained between Bushtick and the summit, but I was warned by a crew that the road was in poor condition. They had rescued an injured fan whose car had overturned on the corrugations, they told me it took a long time to get him to hospital.

I could see how suited the 16As were for hauling heavy trains on this steeply graded branch line. The firemen had a tough time feeding the fire and producing some memorable stack-talk. This ends my brief review of Zimbabwe, I had enjoyed my time there thanks to the friendly crews.

14A 516 departs Esigodini for Bushtick. Jacaranda trees are in bloom in the background, 24th October 1986

14A 515 works the return pick-up from Mbala Mbala out of Esigodini, 24th October 1986

14A 519 is working hard as it lifts its train out of Esigodini. 25/10/86

16A 601 equipped with a rounded bunker seen hard pressed on 24th October 1986.

16A 605 climbs through Bushtick, 17th October 1986 

16A 605 seen near the summit as it heads for Heaney Junction. 17th October 1986 

Another 16A toils through Bushtick.17th October 1986 

A final view of a 16A passing Bushtick.

Rob Dickinson