rogerfarnworth

Uganda Railways

29 posts in this topic

My wife and I are in Uganda at the moment (9th May 2018), I have been here a number of times before. The national railway system is metre-gauge. I hope this first post is of interest to members of this forum. I think that this post is on topic provided you think Continental can refer to the African Continent!

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/09/uganda-railways-part-1

Other posts about the trip, but not railway related, can be found on this link:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/category/uganda

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The next two posts cover the length of the old Uganda Railway to Kisumu and Butere. Originally, this line was of significant strategic importance. Trains along the line provided access to Lake Victoria and the inland steamers that then provided access to the Great Lakes region and to Kampala via Port Bell.
 
The construction of the line from Nakuru to Kampala and beyond changed thing significantly and the old main line became a branch-line and has seen little traffic over recent years.
 

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We really are now almost in Uganda!   The is the last post focussing on the Uganda Railway in Kenya. It takes us from Eldoret to the border with Uganda at Malaba.
 
Sadly, in this post there is little evidence of locomotives. The line has seen little use over the years. I was very fortunate to be able to travel 1st Class all the way from Mombasa to Kampala in 1994. I had no idea at the time how fragile that service was.
 

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With this post we have crossed the border between Kenya and Uganda. Just across the border in Tororo the mainline divides to give a Kampala/Kasese route via Jinja, and a Pakwach and Aria route via Soroti. The more northerly route through Soroti was perceived as the branch but it has been the route which has been refurbished first (in 2013).
 
We will follow the branch first.
 

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We have now returned to the mainline at Tororo and are heading on toward Kampala.
 
The story continues .... "We leave Tororo is a north-westerly direction following the contours on the north side of the Nagongera Road as far as Achilet (about 5 kilometres outside of Tororo). For the next 10 kilometres the railway stays north of the road until reaching Nagongera, or Nagongora, .............."
 
 
Of interest is the number of railway lines on the map between Tororo and Jinja. There is by far the greatest density of lines in Uganda.

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The journey continues from Jinja to Kampala .......

“The Nile River Bridge at Jinja was built in the late 1920s. It is perhaps the iconic structure for the whole of the metre-gauge railway system from Mombasa to Kasese.

The first railway in Uganda ran from Jinja to Namasagali on the Victoria Nile where a steamer service ran on to Masindi Port. From there passengers travelled by road through Masindi to Butiaba on Lake Albert. From there they could travel on by steamer to the Belgian Congo or north to Juba in the Sudan.

Train passengers from Kenya reached Uganda by steamer from the railhead at Kisumu and across Lake Victoria to Entebbe or Port Bell. In the mid 1920s the main line in Kenya was extended from Nakuru through Eldoret, and Tororo to Mbulamuti where it met up with the original Jinja to Namasagali line. The new line to Kampala then crossed the Nile at Jinja by a bridge carrying both the railway and a roadway underneath.”

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/uganda-railways-part-19-jinja-to-kampala

The last part of my own journey to Kampala by train in 1994 commenced once a derailed freight train had been rerailed ahead of us and the passenger train was ‘given the road'. We had waited for over 6 hours at Jinja Railway Station. Travelling by rail was unreliable but really enjoyable!!

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We are now in Kampala and preparing to travel on to Kasese.
 
In 1994, I attempted to travel to Kasese and I might have been able to do so if I was prepared to wait in Kampala for the possiblity that a train migth run. In the end my trip to the South West of Uganda was much better served by a road journey via Masaka, Mbarara and Kabale.
 
Before we take one of those intermittent passenger services from the last century, we take a good look round Kampala Railway Station.
 
This post (below) is the penultimate post on the direct route from Mombasa to Kasese. After this there will be three further posts. One to complete the line to Kasese, one to review an old and defunct branch line running north from Jinja and a final post which will seek to cover the locomotives and rolling stock on the Uganda Railway .....
 

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This next post relates to the western extension of the Uganda Railway through to Kasese and the Kilembe Mines. (I am expecting to post twice more about the Uganda Railway. There is one branchline which I have to follow and then I plan to write about the locomotives and rolling stock on the line.)
 
The Western Extension, as it was known, was built and opened in the mid-1950s, its main target was to reach the Kilembe Copper Mines in the west of Uganda. Kasese was built alongside the Mines and has grown since then into a reasonable size town with industry and tourism building its economy.
 
Official sanction for building the railway to Mityana was given in 1951, and for the continuation to Kasese in 1952. The decision rested upon a guaranteed source of traffic at Kilembe, and was prompted by the fact that mining development was dependent on some positive step to improve communications. There seemed little doubt that the line would attract some Congo traffic, which would provide new revenue for E.A.R. & H., while the Uganda Government was much encouraged by the very favourable report of an Economic Survey Committee. The concluding sentence of the report reflects the tone of the whole: ‘The committee desires to record its firm conviction that this project will prove eminently successful. and contribute materially to the welfare and prosperity of the people of Uganda”. The capital cost of the extension was £5.25 million, and the Uganda Government provided the Railway Administration with a loan to cover this.
 

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This is the last post relating directly to the lines of the Uganda Railway and covers the first railway built in Uganda. The last post on the Uganda Railway will cover the locomotives and rolling stock on the network.

"There were two very early railway lines in Uganda. Port Bell to Kampala was one. The other was an earlier line from Jinja to Namasagali via Mbulamuti. We encountered this line as we travelled from Tororo to Jinja earlier in this series of posts. Indeed the original line from Tororo travelled to Mbulamuti to meet the older line from Jinja to Namasagali. At that time there was a good justification for this. Namagali was a significant point on an 'overland' journey from Mombasa to Cairo! Meeting the line from Jinja to Namasagali at its mid-pint allowed easy access to both significant destinations and beyond them to the Nile and to Lake Victoria."

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/uganda-railways-part-22-jinja-via-mbulamuti-to-namasagali

There is much to explore in the Great Lakes region in Africa! This series of posts relates only to the railways providing access to Uganda but there were a whole variety of different transport services in the area which would warrant further study!

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My original plan was to provide details of locomotives and rolling stock on the Railway in a single post. This has become a little unwieldy so further posts will follow this one ...
 
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It was my intention, before starting this exercise to cover all locomotives and rolling stock in a single blog post. As I began to review the available information in books and on the internet, it seemed that there was enough material to justify more than one post. This and the following posts will not be fully comprehensive in nature but I hope that they provide some insights that are valuable.
 
Probably, along with many other people, my attention is primarily drawn to the Garratt locomotives on these lines. However, I will attempt to reflect the full range of motive power and rolling stock on the line, references are given where ever possible. Everything in this first post predates the arrival of the Garratt locomotives.
 
Early Locomotives on the Uganda Railway (1896-1926)
 
At first, all locomotives were ....
 

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The first of these posts about locomotives and rolling stock on the railways of Uganda and Kenya covered locomotives used by the Uganda Railway. This second post primarily covers locomotives introduced by the Kenya Uganda Railway up until it handed over to the East African Railways Corporation in 1948.

 

Locomotives on the Kenya and Uganda Railway and Harbours Lines (1927- 1948)

 

In 1926/27 the Uganda Railway was replaced first by the Kenya and Uganda Railways in 1926 and then by the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours (KURH) Corporation in 1927, when the powers-that-be placed Mombasa Harbour into the same company as the railways.

 

Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours (KURH) ran harbours, railways and lake and river ferries in Kenya Colony and the UgandaProtectorate until 1948. It included the Uganda Railway, which it extended from Nakuru to Kampala in 1931. In the same year it built a branch line to Mount Kenya. [1]

 

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/uganda-railways-part-24-locomotives-and-rolling-stock-part-b-1927-to-19/

 

The Kenya Uganda Railway introduced Beyer Garratt locomotives to the network. These were massive machines with huge pulling power which suited the lightly constructed lines on which they ran.

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One of the small snippets of information I have encountered while writing the series of posts on the Uganda Railway and its successors is an almost passing comment made in a number of texts about the Kenya Uganda Railway Beyer-Garratts numbered 41-44, 51 and 53. These comments refer to these locomotives being sold to Indo-China.
 
Someone asked me whether there was any information about what happened to these locos in any of the main texts about the metre-gauge lines in East Africa. The only specific reference appears to relate to the locos going to the 'Yunnan Railway'.
 
It might be that others can shed more light on this, but I thought that it was worth following up. The post below is the result of this.
 
 
Research suggests that there are two possible locations for these locos operations after leaving East Africa. The first, initially seeming the most likely, is the Burma-Yunnan Railway which was a British project. The second was a French project. We spend a little time focussing on each project before some final observations are made at the end of this post  

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