Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

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rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Yes, I guess that is true. The route that might have some commercial viability would be to take the SGR line through Uganda to Rwanda rather than to the DRC?

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

johnthefireman wrote:Thanks, Roger. I love the Mazeras spiral, although it's twenty years since I've been on it.

The new SGR station at Miritini is coming in for a lot of criticism. A train arrives and disgorges 1,200 passengers and immediately there is a scrum to get road transport to Mombasa. If your hotel has sent its own courtesy bus you might be OK, but all the other buses, matatus (minibuses), taxis, bodabodas (motorbike taxis) and probably even bicycles and pushcarts are up for grabs at whatever price you are willing to pay. Even if you've actually booked a taxi in advance you can't be sure that someone hasn't offered the driver a better price and off he goes without you. Rumour has it that the Chinese are now extending the SGR a few km closer to Mombasa, but who knows.
The old station in Mombasa was convenient for the town. I think I always walked into town from the train, always fortified by an excellent breakfast.

johnthefireman
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by johnthefireman »

rogerfarnworth wrote:Yes, I guess that is true. The route that might have some commercial viability would be to take the SGR line through Uganda to Rwanda rather than to the DRC?
I think there has always been a plan to extend a standard gauge line to Rwanda, but I believe there is still a discussion as to whether it should be the Kenya-Uganda SGR or the Tanzania SGR.

DRC would be a long-term aspiration, I suspect. While the current political and military situation is unfavourable, there is a great deal of mineral wealth in DRC which one day might be seeking a legitimate and large-scale export route (as opposed to the relatively small-scale smuggling of "blood minerals" at the moment).

South Sudan is definitely on the cards, at least as far as Juba. That line would probably carry far more imports than exports, unless they decide to export oil by train rather than using the pipeline through Sudan.

I'm racking my brains to remember the details of the suggested east-west Africa route. I seem to recall that Cameroon might be the western destination, and that it is being seen as a thirty-year plan, certainly not short term. But at least the current adoption of standard gauge at both ends makes joining them up feasible if and when a degree of stability comes to the nations en route. It would depend a lot on the political and security situation in Chad and CAR, one of which I presume would be the route.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

The 4th post in a series about Uganda Railways. This post covers the journey along the original Uganda Railway from Mazeras to Voi.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... ras-to-voi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

I have just returned from a trip to Africa, staying in south-western Uganda. This is the 5th part of my story of the Uganda Railway. It covers the length from Voi to Ulu in Kenya.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... voi-to-ulu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Our journey along the 'Uganda Railway' continues. In this post we travel from Ulu into Nairobi and notice two branch-lines on the way.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... to-nairobi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

This next post focusses on the station at Nairobi and its immediate environment.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... way-museum" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

We are gradually getting closer to the eastern border of Uganda! This is the next post in the series and covers the strech of the line from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha .....

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... o-naivasha" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Another leg of the journey on the Uganda Railway.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... _to_nakuru" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

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.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... -to-kisumu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

rogerfarnworth wrote: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.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... -to-kisumu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
As I worked in Kakamega I used to take the train from Kisumu to Nairobi quite often. I gather the service has ended now. If I was still there that would be a big disappointment for me. Travel on the road has always been dangerous and the train was a great alternative. Kisumu is a growing town - at least in terms of population. The line originally linked with lake steamers to Port Bell (Kampala). One reason for the end of the service may be the hostility between the Nilotic speakers in the Kisumu area and the Bantu of much of the rest of the country. But it might also be the wearing out of the carriages and the failure to replace them. I believe they probably derived from the 1950s and were never replaced with more modern vehicles. In that case the only chance of restoring service would be the conversion of the line to Standard Gauge.
Last edited by george matthews on Sat May 26, 2018 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Hi George
Thank you for your reply. It seems to have only come through partially to me.
Best wishes
Roger

PS. the remainder has now appeared, thank you.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Before we return to Nakuru to follow the main line towards Kampala, one further post about the Kisumu line. There was a short branch which left the Kisumu to Nakuru line within the confines of Kisumu city. This post focusses on that line.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... -to-butere" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

rogerfarnworth wrote:Before we return to Nakuru to follow the main line towards Kampala, one further post about the Kisumu line. There was a short branch which left the Kisumu to Nakuru line within the confines of Kisumu city. This post focusses on that line.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... -to-butere" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I suspect that the Butere line was originally intended to lead to Uganda. It used to have a third class only train and was of use to local people. But the failure to connect with Uganda rendered it less than useful. Probably the intention of going further was abandoned when the mainline was continued via Eldoret and connected to Uganda that way. I assume that at least in colonial days the line was busy enough to keep going, even though the intention of going to Uganda was abandoned.

BTW all your pictures show the steam engines. All these were withdrawn a long time ago and replaced with modern diesels.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

george matthews wrote:
rogerfarnworth wrote:Before we return to Nakuru to follow the main line towards Kampala, one further post about the Kisumu line. There was a short branch which left the Kisumu to Nakuru line within the confines of Kisumu city. This post focusses on that line.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... -to-butere" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I suspect that the Butere line was originally intended to lead to Uganda. It used to have a third class only train and was of use to local people. But the failure to connect with Uganda rendered it less than useful. Probably the intention of going further was abandoned when the mainline was continued via Eldoret and connected to Uganda that way. I assume that at least in colonial days the line was busy enough to keep going, even though the intention of going to Uganda was abandoned.

BTW all your pictures show the steam engines. All these were withdrawn a long time ago and replaced with modern diesels.
Thank you George.

Yes I have seen some maps with a dotted line on them suggesting a possible route north from Butere.

You are right about the diesels as well. I think there are a few shown within the images I have found. Perhaps I should have been a little more balanced in my selection of pictures! :-)

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