The International Steam Pages

Sandstone secures future of Mocambiquan sugar locomotives

Geoff Pethick reports:

(Click here for pictures of the locos in store from Alex Smith and don't forget that there are pictures of these locomotives at work on our CD-ROM Safari Steam   - South).

Sandstone Heritage Trust, based in the Eastern Free State of South Africa, has secured much of the remaining rail equipment belonging to Sena Sugar at the old Marromeu and Luabo mills.

Despite attempts from overseas buyers and scrap dealers, Sandstone Heritage Trust has committed substantial resources to purchase this equipment for preservation where it belongs - in Africa. A few less important items have been purchased by an American collector and are destined for the USA.

Important historical items acquired are three narrow gauge Peckett saddle tank locomotives, one of which is the penultimate steam locomotive built by the Bristol, UK, based company before it creased trading. These three locomotives have had all their brass fittings stolen but are otherwise in relatively good condition having been kept under cover until recently.

A small tank locomotive, thought to be a Henschel was found on its side in a scrap yard and rescued just in time - cutting was imminent.

There are a number of six wheeled Baguley Drewry diesel locomotives in the 90 to 140 hp range, the majority of which are in good condition although they need some mechanical work - not surprising as they have not been used for at least 20 years.

A veritable treasure trove of parts, Wickham trolleys, stationary steam engines, cane trucks, a wheel lathe, traction engines, etc have also been acquired.

A very important acquisition on the 3ft 6in gauge is the very last steam locomotive built by Peckett in 1958, no. 2165. This locomotive has been with Sena since new and is also in fair external condition although missing its brass fittings. A sister locomotive, no. 2141, built in 1954 has also been acquired. A small Hunslet diesel shunter built in 1955 is also included in the list.

For far too long Africa has been seen by the rest of the world as a source of narrow gauge railway equipment and much has been exported around the world to such places as the UK, US, Australia and Europe. Although unfortunately a few of the Sena items will leave Africa for the US, by far the majority will stay on the continent, to be restored and see further use at the Sandstone Heritage Trust and at other railways in South Africa who will be able to lease them for tourist operations.

Further news:

The first of the ex Sena Pecketts purchased by Sandstone has arrived in Beira.

It was loaded onto a Sena Sugar Co. barge with on board crane, with hundreds of large sacks of bulk refined sugar and towed down the Zambesi to the coast by Sena's sea going tug. From the Zambesi mouth it was towed about 200 kms down the coast to Beira. It should be noted that we had great co-operation from Sena in getting the locomotive loaded and transported, a road move being a very expensive and not very practical alternative.

Next step is a coastal freighter to Durban from where it will be collected by one of Sandstone's fleet of road trucks.

Locomotive concerned is 2ft gauge 0-6-0ST Sena No. 14, Peckett 2161 of 1957, the penultimate steam locomotive built by Peckett of Bristol. It appears to be in relatively good condition although minus its brass fittings, which will have to be sourced from overseas or manufactured locally.

Rob Dickinson