OT - Sudan stationary steam engines

Photos of motive and rolling stock, stations, signals and anything else train related in the Sudan! Photos should be 800x600 pixels, maximum size 130K. Very good ones will be moved to the Online Gallery, the rest will be pruned away after 14 days to conserve space.
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John Ashworth
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OT - Sudan stationary steam engines

Post by John Ashworth »

I forgot I had these pictures! They're from around 2002 or 2003 when I took a group of South African journalists to southern Sudan to visit the war zone. I can't remember which journalist took the photos.

These two old steam engines are at Nzara, near Yambio, in the far south western corner of southern Sudan. There's a massive industrial estate in the middle of the rain forest. It was built during Anglo-Egyptian Condominium times in 1953, mainly to process cotton. It's now fairly derelict, as successive northern governments downplayed the cotton industry in the south, and war eventually degraded the economy, but it's still standing and parts of it are in use. The director was an elderly engineer who has been there since it opened in 1953! They have the original visitors book, a huge leather-bound tome which has the signatures of royalty and presidents - and now me.

Of the two engines, one is in operating condition. It was not in steam the day I visited, but there was evidence of recent activity, and people assured me that it's still used to drive a sawmill. They were proud of the repairs they had made, including local manufacture of some parts.

The factory still has all its cotton processing machines in huge sheds. They had been run for a few hours relatively recently as a demonstration for the then southern leader, the late Dr John Garang, but had consumed a vast amount of diesel. In other parts of the factory agricultural tools were being manufactured, using small diesel generators for power.

The main power for the factory used to come from gas generated by burning charcoal. At some point (I think in the 1960s) it was converted to diesel to be "modern". During the 22 year civil war, and at the time of my visit, diesel was scarce - but the factory was surrounded by a rain forest that could have provided endless supplies of charcoal if only the old technology had been left in place.
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John in the foreground with the sawmill visible in the right background
John in the foreground with the sawmill visible in the right background
A working steam engine
A working steam engine
Derelict steam engine
Derelict steam engine
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Kevin Wilson-Smith
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Joined: 23 Jan 2007, 14:15
Location: South Africa

Re: OT - Sudan stationary steam engines

Post by Kevin Wilson-Smith »

Interesting! The sad thing as things return to normal, the operating relics often disappear overnight before anyone can step in....
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Nathan Berelowitz
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Joined: 25 Jan 2007, 14:17
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

Re: OT - Sudan stationary steam engines

Post by Nathan Berelowitz »

Very interesting stuff. Think SIA would be interested?
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