The International Steam Pages

A Crime against Preservation?

In case, you might think that this was the end of the story, there was a happy ending...

Paul Ash reports

Seem that CFM-Norte, in their infinite wisdom [read" greed] have lifted Atlantic 813's boiler and frame of its wheels and rented it to the local Coke factory in Nampula as a stationary boiler. As with most things in Moz, once something like this is done, it's very hard to reverse the process. And while Coke might not totally fuckup the boiler, there is a good chance that 813's wheels and rods and tender will disappear in CFM's current scraphunt. And to think I saw it just two months ago, ready for a bit of fire ...

A first-hand report follows:

"To make a long story short, from the attached picture it is evident that the Atlantic is in no condition to haul anything. The water heating apparatus at the Coca Cola plant in Nampula failed to the extent that it is either not repairable or will take a long time to do so. CFM was approached for or offered the Atlantic as a
means to heat the water. Hence wheels, rods and anything not serving an immediate purpose in a giant coffee kettle was removed and the remains placed on a
low bed and hauled to the Coco Cola plant. Whether or not there are any plans to return it to the station is not known. What is known is that it was a major and costly exercise to get it to where it is now and once the boiler at Coco Cola is fixed there will not be the same pressure to return it as there was to get it there in the 1st place. All that is left at the station is the coal box [tender] and all the other bits and pieces removed to get it onto the low bed. CFM is currently busy with a major drive to collect all unused metal resources and shipping it off to Nacala for export as scrap metal. The aforementioned bits may well become part of this." 

The Atlantic is the last operable survivor of its type in the world. It was something of a miracle that 813 survived first a vicious 17-year civil war which wrecked much of Mocambique's rolling stock, and lately the attention of scrap metal hunters who have otherwise dispatched most of the rest of the country's superb collection of steam locomotives. How desperate, then, that 813 might end its days in the bowels of a Coke factory. This move by CFM would seem to sully the national railway operator's recent good intentions to promote steam tourism. CFM has set aside a number of locomotives, ostensibly for steam tourism. There are 2-8-2s, 2-10-2s, two Garratts, narrow gauge Baldwins and Alcos, and a Henschel Pacific. But the little green Atlantic, which once used to hustle local trains down to the Indian Ocean port at Lumbo, is the jewel in the crown. It will be difficult to reverse 813's fate, although pressure from outside may help. The Coca Cola deal is a one-off, while steam tourism - properly managed - is a repeat performance, with economic benefits that extend further than just the railway.

Rob Dickinson