The International Steam Pages

Steam in Surinam

On Thomas Kautzor's advice I have amended the details for "Maabo" and added "Kadjoe" in the roster near the bottom of the page (2nd April 2013). RD

Click here for Thomas Kautzor's 2014 visit which updates what appears below, essentially the railway has been wiped off the map and most equipment scrapped:

Ton Mulder sent me the pictures below which were taken by Pim van der Jagt in Onverwacht on 8th February 2000. To these I have added (20th February 2000) some pictures of the rolling stock and Dave Warner's 1975 pictures (courtesy of James Hefner). Geoff Todd was there in November 1967 and has sent a copy of the then roster (added 1st May 2000)

First though some background information on this little known former colonial railway provided by Chris Walker.


Opened 1904-5 from Paramaribo to Dam - 107 miles, including a cable ferry crossing near Macami of the Surinam River whose course it broadly follows. Metre gauge. Closed c1988. At its height c1922 [after delivery of last loco] it only had one through train per week each way, but had 11 locos, 19 passenger cars, 54 freight wagons and employed 74 people! Supplies for the gold fields and return shipments of ore were the main freight. Obviously there may well be equipment left at both ends as Dam is not connected. Reports indicate Geoff Todd went there in 1967, a Peter Wickenden of Thailand went there in March 1979 and his visit is recorded in the "Continental Modeller" magazine of Feb 1987.


Nos 1-6 were 0-4-0 trams with enclosed bodies and three windows at one end. ["Toby" type] Borsig 5339-5344 of 1904.

Borsig tram locos

Borsig tram locos

Unnumbered were:

Two 0-4-0T with outside cylinders: Krauss 6074 "Gege", & 6075 "Dam" both built 1908, this will be Dam.

Krauss Loco

One 0-4-0T unidentified - possibly built by "Dusselwerk" [?] named "Maabo".

Finally Backer & Rueb inside cylinder 0-4-0 skirt tank construction number 300 of 1916 and named 'Para', but may not have been delivered until after the war, as put in service in 1919.




These extra pictures show some of the rolling stock and close-ups which suggest to me that Para (at least) is still in fair condirion:

Loco detail

Loco detail

Loco detail

Rolling stock

Rolling stock

There are  two pictures of Surinam in Chris Walker's  book on Railways of Latin America in Historic Postcards. One shows a pair of Borsigs on a passenger train, the other a Du Croo & Brauns 0-4-0T in a sugar plantation. (These were of the unusual gauge of 1280mm as described in the DB book - SF Mariënburg)

Chris suggests there is no published English material on Surinam - Geoff Todd says 'there was a long article in "Op de Rails" in 1961' - in Dutch of course!

Geoff Todd made one of the few recorded visits way. He adds - "I visited Surinam in November 1967, and the skirt tank is indeed the Breda 0-4-0T named "Para" (it had no railway number) which was the regular main-line loco when I visited. At that time, there was one steam working a week, out one day and back the next, and I happened to arrive on the day of the outward trip. The railway runs right past the end of the runway at Zanderij airport (which is about 30km out of Paramaribo, and was at that time the end of any road worthy of the name). Hence the survival of the railway to reach up-country villages. So next morning, around mid-day, I was waiting for the return train hauled by Para to chug past with a massive USAF transport jet in the background. A couple of taxis were also waiting; passengers commonly left the train here and took a collectivo to town. The train terminated at the depot at Onverwacht and the last 20km or so to Paramaribo, including all the street running, had been abandoned. After more than half an hour we learned from a passer by that the train had long gone; it had passed about an hour early, presumably having had less shunting to do than usual. So photos were confined to a few runs past near Onverwacht; the staff could not have been more helpful."

Number Type Builder Remarks
1 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5339/1904 Serviceable
2 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5340/1904 Serviceable
3 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5341/1904 Serviceable
4 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5342/1904 In steam for trip working to Onverswacht
5 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5343/1904 Serviceable
6 0-4-0Tr Borsig 5344/1904 Scrapped
Maabo 0-4-0T Jung
Being prepared for preservation in Amsterdam. No date or number on worksplate. No sign of second loco of this type
Kadjoe 0-4-0T Jung
Dam 0-4-0T Krauss 6074/1908  
Gege 0-4-0T Krauss 6075/1908 Scrapped and being cannibalised
Para 0-4-0T Breda 300/1916 Regular main line locomotive

Maabo carried a plate "Dusselwerk, Ew Schulze Vellinghausen, Oberkassel bei Dusseldorf." but these were agents.

All locos were wood burning. Three diesel railcar sets (Büssing, 1954), each comprising one power car and two trailers. Only one set was seen in service.

These picture show Dam, Para and a tram loco in 1975.



One of the tram locos

Rob Dickinson