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Volume 8 Number 3. January 2007
On behalf of the Committee, may I wish you a healthy, happy and train filled New Year.
The Committee has not had an easy time recently. Both Juliet Rickwood and Mike Taylor have resigned, and Robin Doust has been taken ill whilst visiting England. With an ever reducing number of Bulawayo members willing to become active on the Committee, it is becoming essential that overseas members play a bigger role. If you are willing to give a bit of time to help, wherever you live, there could be no better time to let that be known.
On a more positive note, steam still reigns in Bulawayo. Latest news is that 20th Class number 740 will be returned to steam, and there is a chance that number 730 will also be joining the working fleet. Two of these giants in steam in 2007 would surely be a highlight of the enthusiast year!
Derek Radtke has taken over the task of distributing books. If you order through the website, you will be linked to his email.
Some members have had difficulty receiving these email newsletters. To resolve this, I have placed them on the website. This should allow you to retrieve Volume 8, Issued 1 and 2. When time permits, I will look at posting older issues there as well.
An finally - remember that Subs are due! The international rate remains £13.00. Zimbabwean, South African and Australian members should receive details from their local membership secretaries, for their contact details, click here.
Geoff Cooke. Hon Editor.
A view from the Capital City by Robin Taylor
19 October 2006. I called at Harare Station this morning. Three DE 9s were on the various shunts and the yard appeared to be fairly busy. The overnight Bulawayo train which should have arrived at 8.30hrs was only due in at 12.00hrs. The Mutare day train which was due to depart at 9.00hrs was still without a loco when I left at 11.30hrs. The day trains run on Sunday,Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It had a good number of economy class passengers considering its mid week and mid month. One needs a good supply of patience and rations to travel by train. The single standard class fare to Mutare is now less than the price of a pack of six pork sausages or three loaves of bread as I discovered later when I went shopping!
10 November 2006. I visited Harare station this morning. The Bulawayo train had arrived on time at 08.30 hrs and the day train to Mutare had left at 09.30. Five DE9s were shunting the various yards and the whole place appeared to be much more active than I have seen it for a long time.
Action from the garratt capital of the world by Mike Taylor and Chas Rickwood
03 October 2006. Coal supplies to NRZ have improved slightly. Steam locos rostered today: 416 Belmont. 424 West End. 525 on Shed in steam. 611 in steam moving to P15 for boiler washout. 395 and 519 in P15. 414 has joined 613 in refurbishment. Steam crane has completed its task of recovering large granite blocks from the Machipanda derailment, and is returning to Byo. Museum loco 386 Umayelane (Spring Hare) has been condemned and is scheduled to be returned to the Museum. Museum loco 20th Class 740 has been used as a stationary boiler for NRZ Mechanical Workshops for several years. A new replacement boiler has been fitted, and some repairs made. Could be made available as a runner.
From the NRZ Museum. Small Class 0-6-0T Number ! "Rhodesia" has been fitted with a replacement cab roof in Mukwa timber and is looking very smart. But paintwork does require renewing. Cab floor has been replaced in Teak. Committee may attempt to cover cab roof with a protective covering to improve durability. Ideally, loco should have some shading from being out in all weathers! Regret refurbished Dining Car 644 and Observation Car 754 are still not under cover and are being subject to harsh Spring and Summer climate. Two refurbished steam locos destined for New Zealand are still under cover after eighteen months. Perhaps the FBRM should rename themselves "The Friends of the New Zealand Steam Locomotive Preservation Society"!!!
14 November 2006. With a slight improvement in coal supplies, Management are attempting to have four steam locos operational each day. Unfortunately, two locos proceeding to the coaling tower were derailed last Friday. 611 and 395 were derailed when old wooden sleepers allowed the track to spread apart. The weekend was spent getting the locos back onto repaired track. Three locos rostered Monday 13th. 416 Belmont. 525 New Grain. 395 Westend. Unfortunately when 395 started its duty and the regulator was opened, steam shot into the firebox. 395 will go into P15 for a pressure test after suspected superheater element or joint leakage. 611 being put into steam to replace 395. 424 in P15 for boiler washout. 519 in P15. 414 and 613 in refurbishment. Steam crane and breakdown crew back in Byo after much good work in Machipanda. Museum loco 20th Class 730 has been taken to NRZ workshops.
24 November 2006. Rostered: BEL 395. WE 611. 525 was spare engine in steam. NG and YM shunts were both DE9s. Retube: 613 and 414. P15: 416 washout. 519/424 repairs. 510/612/514 inside P15. 330/386 outside P15.
08 December 2006. Rostered: BEL 395, NG 611, WE 525. 416 was spare engine in shed. P15: 424 (washout) 519 repairs. In the absence of regular Senior Foreman (Claudius Yasini), info sketchy re: the 20th class. A fitter reckons that 740 is undergoing repairs in the main workshops including fitting of a new boiler. She will then come to the P15 for mechanical work.
Botswana Train well received
The Chronicle newspaper reports Dateline: 09 November 2006
The NRZ train service from Bulawayo to Francistown which was launched in June, has proved to be popular with an average of 3 000 passengers using it every week. NRZ PRM, Mr Fanuel Masikati said the number of passengers using the train had increased tremendously during the past 4 months. He said that when the service was launched the train was carrying an average of 800 passengers per week but the figure had risen to 3000. During month ends we can carry about 3 500 passengers. He said that most of the regular users of the train were cross-border traders.....the train fare from Bulawayo to Francistown is ZWD 800 and the return journey is Pula 20. The train service is available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It departs at 9.30am and arrives at its destination at 3pm, giving the passengers time to do their business.
A worthwhile success for the FoBRM by Chas Rickwood
Some feedback on school visits to the Museum over the past few months. Except for the nursery school and the Rotary students all the schools concerned have participated in the Quiz sponsored by FOBRM.
Recent visits include:
Face to Face, Harare. 13 Pupils.
Murray Macdougall, Triangle. 37 Pupils.
Rydings Primary, Chinhoyi. 17 Pupils.
Whitestone Primary, Bulawayo. 22 Pupils.
Trenanace Primary, Bulawayo. 35 Pupils.
Peter Pan Nursery, Bulawayo. 16 Pupils.
Rotary Exchange Students (Overseas). 6 Pupils.
Dominican Convent, Bulawayo. 44 Pupils.
That is a total of 190 pupils - a good start.
Robin Doust taken ill
by the Editor
FoBRM Chairman, Robin Doust, has been taken ill whilst visiting England. He has problems with his spine, and expects to be in hospital for about six weeks. Originally hospitalised in Ashtead, but may be transferred to London.
I am sure we all join together in wishing Robin a speedy and full recovery.
Committee membership halved by resignations by the editor
At the November committee meeting, held in Bulawayo, two members resigned. Juliet Rickwood stepped down as membership secretary, and Mike Taylor excused himself as Secretary. Robin Doust remains Chairman, backed up by Chas Rickwood.
Bindura, Chinhoyi to Get Train Services
From The Herald, Harare Dateline: January 6, 2007
NRZ spokesman Mr Fanuel Masikati said in addition to this, plans were underway to run a similar train service along the Bulawayo - Beitbridge line as soon as negotiations were complete. The National Railways of Zimbabwe will introduce trial runs for passenger trains on the Harare - Chinhoyi and Harare - Bindura railway lines with effect from Monday, an official has said.
"A feasibility study carried established that there was need for a train service between Harare - Chinhoyi and Harare - Bindura as there were few buses plying the routes hence the need for an alternative and affordable mode of transport," said Mr Masikati.
The train from Harare to Chinhoyi will depart from Harare station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7am and arrive in Chinhoyi at 11:30am.
The train will be departing from Chinhoyi at 7am hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays arriving in Harare at 11:55am.
"The Harare to Bindura passenger train will also depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays arriving in Bindura at 1130hours the same day. It will also depart from Bindura for Harare at 1330hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays arriving in Harare at 1720hours the same day."
The two services, which will be operated as mixed trains, would have four economy class coaches and one upper class passenger coach, as well as a baggage van for the Chinhoyi service and two economy class coaches, one upper class and a baggage van for the Bindura service. After the trial runs, the service was earmarked to be officially launched on a date to be advised.
In a related matter, Mr Masikati said the NRZ had embarked on a programme to refurbish passenger train coaches to boost both inter-city and commuter train's carrying capacity.
Lighting systems are also being installed, following the acquisition of lighting batteries.