Railroads Of Central And Southern Africa
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by Don Strack
This article was originally done as a research paper entitled "HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE RAILROADS OF CENTRAL AFRICA" for Geography 591 (Individual Projects), University of Utah, Professor James W. King, August 1984. The paper was completed as the final paper of my senior year, and I received an 'A'.
In the subject of understanding world history, railroads have always been an integral part. Whether the subject is the economic history, the political history, or the social history of any one particular country or region, one must also have at least a small understanding of the role that railroads played.
All of the major, global colonial powers each soon found out in their own way just how important the development of a viable railroad system is to the development of their nation or colony. The one major feature that railroads shared all over the world was that they represented the presence of that government in its territories, whether the rail line was built by the government or by private interests at a government's urging. The railroad became the "permanent way"; it was possibly the fastest and best way to show your presence either to a region's citizenry or to other nations. This was especially true for the European colonial powers. Great Britain, France, Germany, and The Netherlands all built railways to consolidate their interests in their colonies worldwide. Most of the colonial rail lines were built in Africa during the "scramble for Africa" that took place after the Berlin Conference of 1885. This conference was held among the European powers to settle the "ownership" of Africa. Great Britain came away from the conference holding most of Central and Southern Africa. And if it hadn't been for Cecil J. Rhodes, Britain's hold on these regions would not have become as strong as it did. Rhodes became the "Empire Builder" of Southern Africa.
Railways ranked high in Cecil Rhodes' vision for opening up and developing the interior of the African continent. After his success at Kimberly with the diamond mines, his attention was turned to expansion into the north. Rhodes' dream of a Cape-to-Cairo railway was always on his mind, along with his desire to link Africa with Europe; and to connect the ports along the west and east coasts with the interior. He knew that a railway was the only way to develop the trade routes to the interior.
Rhodes received a Royal Charter incorporating his British South Africa Company (the Chartered Company) on October 29,1889. The line of railway was to be the single greatest bequest of the Chartered Company to Central Africa. The British South Africa Company (BSAC), within four days of receiving the charter, began the construction of the rail line north from Kimberly, with the eventual destination being Vryburg, 126 miles away inside British Bechuanaland. In less than a year the line was completed.
The Cape Government Railway had reached Kimberly in 1885, as an extension of the Cape Town-to-De Aar line. This had been done at Rhodes' urging and with further pressure from him, because of his recent organization of the British South Africa Company to develop Bechuanaland, Matabeleland, and Mashonaland to the north, the line was extended in 1889 into British Bechuanaland. The construction reached Vryburg, then located within Bechuanaland, in December 1890. BSAC built the line and it was purchased by the Cape Government Railway upon completion.
Rhodes pushed his railway out of South Africa, from Kimberly, into Rhodesia in an effort to both seal the British/white presence and to begin the economic development in the region. This line was completed to Bulawayo in 1897. In 1903 the rail line was pushed further north, crossing the Zambesi River at Victoria Falls, and on to Broken Hill in what was to become Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. Still later, in 1909, with agreements between the Belgians and the British, the line was completed into the Copper Belt. The copper resources of this area were developed beginning in the late 1920s' and soon became the most important traffic generating point for the Rhodesia Railways' route to the south; with copper and other minerals going out and general supplies and fuel, mostly coal from Wankie, coming in.
To occupy the region of land that was set aside for him in his Royal Charter, Rhodes organized a quasi-military "Pioneer Column" to forge into Mashonaland. This force reached what is now the region around Salisbury (Harare) in September 1890. Within a couple years the settlement patterns had reached a level that the settlers themselves were demanding a reliable transportation network. As a partial solution to the problem of transportation, the Beira Railway was formed, in London, on July 12, 1892, to build a railway from the Portuguese coastal village of Beira, across Portuguese territory, and into Mashonaland.
It was decided to build the line using 2 foot gauge because of this gauge's less expensive cost of construction. Work was begun on the initial 75 miles of the route in September of 1892. In June 1894 work was also begun at the western end of the line, at the "75 mile Peg", to have the two construction crews meet each other at the middle; this meeting was accomplished at Chimoio, with the completion of this seventy-five mile stretch in November 1894. Unfortunately, due to financial problems, this was to be the terminal of the line for the next two years.
The original intentions were to build a new port at Fontesvilla on the Pugwe River. However it was soon found that the area surrounding this location was infested with fever and it decided to relocate the new port at the mouth of the river at Beira. In 1895 the Beira Junction Railway was formed by both BSAC and Portugese interests to extend the line from Fontesvilla thirty-five miles down the river to Beira. This extension was completed in October 1896.
By early 1898 the construction of the Beira Railway had resumed and in February the line was completed to Umtali; the first regular freight service began on February 16. Upon its completion to Umtali, the Beira Railway was leased for operation to Pauling & Co., its constructors. The construction of the line had covered 222 miles between Beira and Umtali.
The question of track gauge soon arose. The planners in London felt that a colony should not have standard (4'8-1/2") gauge track. So when the rail line was built into the South African hinterland, to Kimberly, through Bechuanaland and into Bulawayo in 1897, it was built using 3'6" gauge. This gauge had been chosen as the "standard" for railways that were to be built in Africa, so that when the Mashonaland Railway was completed from Umtali to Salisbury in May 1899 it was necessary to have a transfer point at Umtali for the transfer of freight from the 3'6"gauge cars to the 2' gauge cars. As common sense would tell you it soon became obvious that this type of operation just was not going to work. It was decided to re-gauge the entire Beira Railway to the standard of 3'6" gauge and this work was begun at Umtali in late summer of 1899. By November of that year the conversion work had reached a point about forty miles east of Umtali. The re-gauging of the remainder of the line was completed to the port of Beira by August of 1900 and turned over to the Mashonaland Railway for operation. On the morning of August 1 the inaugural train for the newly re-gauged line steamed into Beira from Umtali. The last sixty miles of the 2' gauge had been converted by a large force of men spaced along the track during the previous four days. As a side note, the wooden bridges of the entire line were also rebuilt using steel because they were neither strong enough nor wide enough for the new 3'6" gauge line.
Between March and July 1900, because of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, the combined 2' and 3'6" gauge system was used to transport Carrington's force into the Highveldt. This military force consisted of 5,000 men, 10,000 horses, and 14,000 tons of military stores, guns and ammunition. The combined British, Canadian, and Australian force, led by General Carrington, was bound for Marandellas to bring the war to the Transvaal region of South Africa.
As part of the agreements between the Portuguese government and the British South Africa Company, and its interests, for the construction and operation of the Beira Railway, the Portuguese government retained its right to purchase the entire line at some time in the future. In 1949 it exercised this right and purchased the line from Rhodesia Railways, just prior to that company itself being purchased by the government of Southern Rhodesia. The purchase was completed on April 6, 1949 with a transition period, for training of personnel, lasting until October 1. At that time the long alliance between Beira Railways and Rhodesia Railways came to an end. The line is today operated as the Beira Division of Mozambique Harbours, Railways and Transport.
This company was organized in April 1897 to built the rail line between Salisbury and the Beira Railway at Umtali. Work began in January 1898 at Umtali using material that was shipped over the 2' gauge Beira Railway from Beira. Tracklaying was completed to Salisbury in May 1899. Upon completion the line was turned over to Pauling & Co. for operation; they did so in addition to their operation of the connecting Beira Railway. It may have been the fact that one company was operating both railways that the gauge-break at Umtali was done away with and the Beira Railway was changed to the "South African standard" gauge of 3'6". Pauling & Co. operated the two lines as the combined Mashonaland and Beira Railway (MBR). Due to the conversion of gauge in 1900, the length of the line from Beira to Salisbury was shortened from 374 miles to 356 miles.
A 2' gauge line was built (using second-hand materials and equipment from the Beira Railway) between Salisbury and the Ayrshire Gold Mine by the Aryshire Gold Mine and Lomgunda Railway. It was begun in early 1902 and finished by August of the same year. The line was constructed by the Pauling & Co. and was operated with the second-hand equipment from the Beira Railway.
By 1908 the gold ore at the Ayrshire mine was just about gone and the line between Banket and Ayrshire fell into disuse. Other gold mines had opened in the Lomagunda region; enough to support the line from Salisbury and Banket. Additional mines were developed in the area and they generated sufficient traffic to justify construction of 3'6" gauge lines to Shamva and the conversion of the 2' gauge Salisbury-Banket line to the "standard" 3'6". By June 1913 all of this work was completed so that all rail service north of Salisbury was modern and able to handle any present and future needs, including the growing agricultural development of the region.
Bechuanaland Railway (later Rhodesia Railways)
In 1885 after the Cape Government Railways had reached the diamond mining town of Kimberly, at the urging of Cecil Rhodes, there was further pressure from him and others to continue the construction of the line north into Bechuanaland. The distance between Kimberly and Vryburg (then just inside of Bechuanaland) was 127 miles and the construction of the rail line was completed in December 1890. The line was built by Rhodes'British South Africa Company and was purchased by the Cape Government Railways upon its completion.
Rhodes' Pioneer Column, which had been formed to take possession of the Rhodes-Rudd Concession of 1888, had reached Salisbury in Mashonaland in September 1890. The Bechuanaland Railway was formed in London in May 1893 to build a railway line from Vryburg, through Bechuanaland, to the southern border of the Concession, now called "Rhodesia". Cecil Rhodes was the chairman and connecting link between both the British South Africa Company and the Bechuanaland Railway. Work was begun immediately upon organization of the railway company and was completed to Mafeking in October 1894. This particular line was unique for railway lines world-wide at that time--it was operating at a profit from the very beginning.
Work on the extension of the line from Mafeking to the northern border of British Becuanaland was begun in late 1895. The first section of 123 miles was completed by March 1897, with the remaining 359 miles to Bulawayo reaching completion by November 1897. Pauling & Co., the builders, had completed the line with extraordinary energy, at Rhodes'urging, because of the combination of a Rinderpest infestation of the cattle and a rebellion by the Matabele natives. Both these events causing the need for reliable transportation to become an urgent neccessity.
The major bridges over the Tati, Shashi, and Mahalapye Rivers were built either as temporary wooden structutres or as actual level crossings (fords), with the track being laid on the river bed. By late 1898 these river crossings had been replaced with steel girder bridges with fine masonary piers and abutments.
In May 1897, while the line was in the midst of construction, the Bechuanaland Railway reached an agreement with Cape Government Railways for the latter company to operate the line from Vryburg to Bulawayo; the former company had not yet received any equipment of its own.
On June 1, 1899 the name of the Bechuanaland Railway was changed to Rhodesia Railway because it was found that the financial resources of this company would be sufficient for the construction of future railway lines within Rhodesia.
During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 (sometimes called the South African War), the Boer captured the town of Vryburg and laid siege to Mafeking for a period of eight months. They also destroyed the railway bridge over the Metsimasuane River thereby cutting Rhodesia's railway connection with South Africa. Throughout the war Rhodesia Railways operated armoured trains between Mafeking (after being rescued from its seige in May 1900) and Bulawayo. These trains were solely for military purposes because there was a embargo on commercial freight on the line throughout the duration of the war.
With the completion of Bechuanaland Railway's line to Bulawayo, and the settlement of the region between there and Salsbury, Mashonaland Railway began the construction of the extension of its rail line from Salisbury to Bulawayo. The line was completed to Gwelo, in central Rhodesia, during June 1902; with it being completed to Bulawayo by December of the same year.
In 1901 work was started on the extension from Bulawayo north through the Wankie coal district to Victoria Falls. It was along the first 161 miles of this line that the 70 miles of "long straight" was encountered. If one was to stand at the northern station of Dett, one could see the headlight of an approaching train in the distance an hour and a half before its arrival.
The line was opened for general traffic to Wankie in December 1903 with the first train of Wankie coal having been shipped south in October. Wankie coal allowed for the importing of coal into Rhodesia to be stopped and also increased the traffic levels along the railway line to Bulawayo and beyond.
Two branch lines to serve gold mines were opened in August 1903. The first was twenty-three miles between Gwelo and Selukwe and the second was seventeen miles between Bulkawayo and Gwanda.
Extension of the line north from Wankie to Victoria Falls was begun in September 1903. This new rail line was completed in April 1904 with regular service beginning to the Falls in June. A hotel for tourists was built at the end of the rail line--the view from its front porch was the magnificant plunging waters and mists of Victoria Falls.
Work was begun in October 1903 on the construction of a steel arch bridge to span the gorge near the Falls. The bridge was 650 feet long and passed 350 feet above the raging waters of the Zambesi River below. It was sited to fulfill Rhodes' desire that trains using the bridge be touched by the mists of Victoria Falls.
The bridge had been entirely assembled at the ironworks in Darling, England. It was then taken apart and shipped to the construction site and reassembled. The bridge was officially opened for traffic in Sepember 1905. As constructed the bridge had two railway tracks; in 1930 one of these tracks was removed to allow the addition of a roadway across the bridge.
The rail line north of the Zambesi River, to Kalomo, was placed into service in July 1905. Thirty miles of this line had been built using materials that were cabled across the gorge prior to the completion of the steel bridge. Amazingly this included the passing over of a small locomotive a piece at a time; with the largest piece being the frame weighing twelve tons.
During 1905 the lead deposits at Broken Hill were becoming developed enough so that further development required rail transportation. This served as the impetus for the extension of the rail line north of Kalomo. The line between Bulawayo and Kalomo had been financed by Rhodesia Railways; this new line was to be financed by the Mashonaland Railways and constructed by Pauling & Co. Broken Hill was reached in January 1906, within the time period of the construction contract, which stipulated that the line was to be built at the speed of a mile per day. The last 106 miles were again built with materials moved across a major river without benefit of a bridge. A pontoon was rigged to ferry the material, locomotives, and cars across the Kafue River. The bridge over the Kafue River was destined to be the longest railway bridge in Africa; at a length of over 1300 feet.
The shipment of lead and zinc ores (the two are usually found together) suddenly ceased in May 1907 because of difficulties in processing them in the smelters of England. Fortunately, at about the same time the rich mineral deposits in the Katanga Province of the Congo and the copper deposits at Bwana M'kubwa, just 120 miles north of Broken Hill, were coming into development. In 1908 the Rhodesia-Katanga Junction Railway and Mineral Co. Ltd. was organized by the British South Africa Company and Robert Williams, the holder of the mineral concession (or rights) for the Katanga region given him by the Belgian government. The objective of the company was the construction of a rail line between Broken Hill and the Northern Rhodesia/Congo border. Work was begun at Broken Hill, again by Pauling & Co., in May 1909 and on December 11, 1909 a "proper" celebration was held upon the railway crossing of the Congo frontier. The actual lengths of rail on the border itself were connected to each other with specially made copper joiner plates, set in place by the governor of Katanga Province. George Pauling and his Pauling & Co. continued construction of the rail line into Congo territory for an additional 165 miles, to Elisebethville, under the direction and contract of the Chemins de Fer Katanga (Katanga Railway), a Belgian company.
While the rail line was being extended into the Congo, the expansion of the railway network was taking place in Southern Rhodesia. Gold mines near West Nicholson were the subject of an extension to that town in March 1905. The discovery of both gold and copper in the Umvuma district led to the construction of a fifty mile branchline to the town of Umvuma which was completed in June 1909. In 1914 this line was extended to serve the gold and chrome mines located at Fort Victoria, where Rhodes' "Pioneer Column" had established one of its original forts in 1890. By late 1909 the traffic from the mines throughout the area--mineral ores going out of the country--equaled the traffic of general, imported goods being brought in, reducing the unwanted backhaul of empty railway cars.
World War One proved to be a boom to Rhodesia Railways. The amount of mineral traffic increased significantly; from a one hundred percent increase for chrome to a five thousand percent increase for lead. Copper traffic increased from 5,890 tons in 1913 to 32,000 tons in 1917-18.
In 1928 the Rhodesia-Katanga Junction Railway (the line between Broken Hill and the Congo border) was purchased by the Mashonaland Railway Company. Also, in May of the same year, a sixty mile branchline was completed south of Gwelo to Shabani to serve the asbestos mines there. The line was built by the Shabani Rauilway Company and financed by the asbestos mining interests.
In 1937 Mashonaland Railways was formally acquired by Rhodesia Railways Ltd. Thus all of the rail lines between Umtali, Vryburg (in South Africa), and the Congo, with the exception of the private Shabani Railway, came under common ownership; remembering that the line from Vryburg, through Bechuanaland to Bulawayo was being operated by South Africa Railways, as successor to Cape Government Railways.
Rhodesia Railways were pushed to both their freight and passenger hauling capabilities during World War Two. Freight tonnage increased by forty-nine percent and passengers by one hundred and forty-three percent. The traffic was so heavy that by the end of the war the railway system was faced with badly needed, very high expenditures for new equipment, rolling stock, and maintenance of track, along with modernization to handle Rhodesia'a sudden post-war economic expansion. Private investors were unable to arrange for the needed financing, so on April 1, 1947 Rhodesia Railways Ltd. was purchased by the Southern Rhodesia government, which then raised a L30 million loan to cover the necessary financial expenditure for modernization. This helps to explain how it came to be that one government was in the curious position of owning the line of railway through the territories of two other countries--Northern Rhodesia and British Bechuanaland. In November 1949 legislation was passed which established Rhodesia Railways as an agency of the Southern Rhodesia government.
Cape Government Railways, and subsequently South Africa Railways, held an operating agreement for the line from Vryburg to Mafeking and Bulawayo. In December 1959 South Africa Railways purchased the 112 miles of line within its own territory, from Vryburg to the Bechuanaland border at Ramatlhabama, from Rhodesia Railways, successor to Bechuanaland Railway which had built the line in 1897. At the same time Rhodesia Railways took over from South Africa Railways the operation of the former's line from Bulawayo to the Southern Rhodesia/Bechuanaland border town of Mahalapye, a distance of 269 miles. South Africa retained operation of Rhodesia Railways' line within Bechuanaland. In September 1966, coinciding with the gaining of independence of British Bechuanaland as Botswana, South Africa Railways turned over the operation of the line within Botswana to Rhodesia Railways. Also included was the granting of operating rights to Rhodesia Railways over South Africa Railways' line for the sixteen miles from the border south to the town of Mafeking, where the traffic is interchanged with South Africa Railways and the locomotives and crews of Rhodesia Railways are turned.
Zambia Railways (ZR)
In 1953 the Central African Federation had been formed with Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyassaland as its members. The political reasons for both its formation, and its later dissolution, are beyond the purposes of this paper. It should be noted however that because Rhodesia Railways was the largest organization within the Federation, it became the representation of the Fedration's white supremacy attitudes. When the Federation was dissolved in January 1964 the management and ownership of Rhodesia Railways was equally split between Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia. Northern Rhodesia remained a British Crown Colony until it gained its independence as the Republic Of Zambia in October 1964.
The problems of management of a company by equal partners with completely different viewpoints obviously would be very difficult. Such were the problems of Rhodesia Railways with ownership shared equally by the government of Zambia, with black majority rule, and Rhodesia with white minority rule. By 1967 the problems were becoming serious enough so that on July 1 Rhodesia Railways was equally split between its two owners. The lines within Zambia became Zambia Railways and the lines within Rhodesia remained as Rhodesia Railways.
Only a year after Zambia gained its independence it was confronted with a formidable economic challenge as a result of Southern Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence in November 1965. Zambia's full participation in the economic boycott threatened to cripple its economy; Rhodesia had not only been its primary source of fuel and other supplies, but also its most viable transportation route for copper exports. By 1967-68 the nation's economy began recovering. South Africa had replaced Rhodesia as a principle source for imports with the rail line through Rhodesia remaining as Zambia's only large scale transportation route. Until 1974, Zambia'a three main railway transportation exits--through Angola along the Benguela Railway, through Rhodesia to South Africa, and through Mozambique to Beira (after first again passing through Rhodesia)--depended on the goodwill of the Portuguese and the Rhodesians.
In January 1973 Ian Smith, Rhodesia's Prime Minister, closed the railway bridge at Victoria Falls. He did this hoping that it would move the Zambians to curtail the black nationalist guerrillas that were operating out of their country. He reopened the route a month later but the Zambians made the closure permanent on their side because of the two governments' ideological differences.
The other two routes, through Angola and Mozambique, were closed because of the damage being done to them during the civil wars that were taking place in the two nations after the pullout of the Portuguese in 1975.
In 1968 the recovery of Zambia's economy required the modernization of the railway's operational capabilities. New locomotives and cars were purchased to improve some of the reliability of operation. However, the split with Rhodesia had taken away a significant number of the capable managers; with the resulting decline of service by the railway. In 1970 an agreement was signed with Canadian National Railways for that company to provide some of its experienced managers and management abilities for the operation of the railway. In 1975 control was returned to Zambian personnel, who in 1978 made up almost ninety-eight percent of the operating staff.
Also in 1975, the operation of the TanZam Railway was begun. This railway line had been built by the Chinese as a massive foreign-aid project to help Zambia export its copper through Tanzania; rather than through Rhodesia or the Portuguese colonies of Angola (the Benguala Railway) and Mozambique, all of which were politically uncertain as future transportation routes. The problems and story of the construction of the TanZam are important enough that they cannot be covered here; there have been several pieces of important research done on the subject and the interested reader is directed to these for additional knowledge and understanding of the subject. (Better known as TAZARA, for the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority; Wikipedia article)
One of the most serious problems that has come up concerning Zambia's ability to operate its own railway network has been the lack of technical expertise in the maintenance of its rolling stock. A 1978 report stated that "only between forty and fifty of a total of seventy-five locomotives were in use, primarily because of a lack of spare parts and technical knowledge." Zambia was forced to dieselize its system in the early 1970's because its fleet of steam locomotives was falling into a state of neglect and disrepair. Most, if not all, of these problems have been overcome today because of a combination of foreign-aid from western nations, in the form of new equipment and trained personnel, and establishment of massive technical training programs within the country itself. Today , Zambia Railways is one of the few successful railway networks on the continent of Africa.
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
After the Central African Federation was dissolved in 1964 and as a result of the separation of the railway systems of Rhodesia and Zambia on 1967, Rhodesia Railways went through a strict program of restructuring. This was done to remain economically successful during the government's declaration of independence and that move's subsequent economic sanctions. Add to this the problems rising from terrorist attacks on the railway network during the period of extreme political instability between 1970 and 1979, and the ability of the railway to survive was taxed almost to its limits. Rhodesia Railways represented the presence of the white minority government throughout the nation and became the target of the factions that favored black majority rule for the nation. Ian Smith's white government, through a series of self-entrenching moves, slowly became almost totally isolationist in nature; and it was Rhodesia Railways' ability to support the nation's self-sufficient industry and economy that made it possible. When the gateway for Zambia copper traffic was closed in 1973, it was the connections to South Africa's network, and Mozambique's rail network and ocean ports that saved much of the traffic levels for Rhodesia Railways. In 1975 the outlets to Beira and Maputo (formerly Lourenco Marques) were closed by the political problems in Mozambique. The resulting restrictions left only the newly constructed line connecting with South Africa Railways at Beitbridge. South Africa Railways had built a line to this town on the Rhodesia side of the Northern Transvaal in 1929. Rhodesia did not build its portion of the connection until after 1973 when it could see that it must have a direct railway connection with the other white-ruled nation in southern Africa--South Africa. However, the external economic sanctions and the internal political pressure for majority rule wore the government down to where the form of government was allowed to change. Rhodesia Railways remained a state owned agency when the nation became the black majority ruled Republic of Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980.
In 1981 the National Railways of Zimbabwe was formed as a government controlled private corporation to assume ownership of all of the former lines of Rhodesia Railways Ltd. within the new nation of Zimbabwe. All of the railway connections leading out of the country which had been closed for various reasons have now been reopened for unrestricted movement of traffic. The Benguela Railway was again open for traffic through Angola in late 1979, and the two connections to the Indian Ocean ports of Beira and Maputo in Mozambique were reopened in 1981 and 1980 respectively. These two lines were heavily damaged by the civil wars of liberation in these two nations. The government of Zambia lifted its ban on railway traffic over the bridge at Victoria Falls in October 1978.
Today NRZ is embarked on an expansion program designed to regain its ability to serve as a major transportation for all of Central Africa. Part of this modernization program includes the electrification of the lines between Harare (formerly Salisbury) and Bulawayo. The Railway has also been receiving new locomotives and cars from the western nations as they attempt to regain some of their lost positions of influence within Black Africa. The United States began sending sixty-six General Motors locomotives in 1982; and West Germany has been furnishing both locomotives and cars; with Japan sending electric locomotives along with new electronic signal systems. National Railways of Zimbabwe definitely has a future as a modern railway network and will continue to progress towards that goal--given time and capital to do so.
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