Uganda Railways – Part 3 – Mombasa to Mazeras

This post follows the line of the Uganda Railway from Mombasa. In the light of the advent of a standard gauge line between Mombasa and Nairobi, there is a campaign to save some of the older stations and perhaps part of the metre-gauge line as well. Some of the pictures of stations come from the campaign website.[1]

We start at Mombasa. The first image is a Google Earth satellite image showing the station and some immediate goods sidings. the station is in the middle of Mombasa Island and at the heart of the city.

The station retains it old colonial style but has been upstaged by the new standard-gauge station on the mainland.

Trains travelled north out of the station throat passing the station engine shed. The pictures of the shed are courtesy of the Friends of Mombasa website.[2]

The line was joined by a branch from Mbaraki Creek and then had a series of small industrial branches evident to the west of the line, before first swinging to the north-east and then back to a roughly north-westerly trajectory to cross the water between Mombasa Island and the mainland.

Once on the mainland the mainline turned west and then north. The picture above is courtesy of the Friends of Mombasa.[2] These two images of Garratt locomotives are taken close to the bridge on Mombasa Island.[3] They are both publicity pictures for East African Railways.

download6c89ff1a_f0_2fPictures_2fScreenshots_2fScreenshot_2018-05-14-09-47-15As the line turned to the north it was joined by a branch which served the Chamgamwe Oil Refinery to the south. Next came the first station on the line at Chamgamwe. The photographs of this station from the 1960s and 1970s are courtesy of Malcolm McCrow’s website [3] and are copyright Malcolm McCrow and Kevin Patience.

This picture shows a single-headed goods train arriving at Chamgamwe from Nairobi.

Double-headed by Class 59 Garratts a goods train travels through Chamgamwe Station in the two pictures above.

As we travel further along the line, the next station is Miritini. This is the location of the terminus of the new SGR (Standard Gauge Railway). It is close to the north end of the runway of Moi International Airport. The route of the line is marked on the map below just below the Mombasa Road. The two satallite images below show the line passing through a goods marshalling yard to the north-east of the airport and then travelling passed the north end of the runway.

Class 59 Garratt 5911 Mount Sekerri from Nairobi arrives beneath the palm tress at Miritini hauling a tank train.[4] 

The passenger train station in Miritini, Mombasa, on May 2017. [5]

At the time of writing of this blog post, the old metre-gauge line can still be followed on the satellite images provided by Google Earth beyond Mirtini. The next significant points on the line are the station and spiral at Mazeras. The spiral is encountered first and a kilometre or two further along the line we encounter the station.

Approaching the spiral from Mombasa the railway has been following the Mombasa to Nairobi main roadroad andntravelling in a roughly westerly direction. The map and the satellite image below show the railway separating from the road and travelling in a south-westerly direction towards the spiral.

Nairobi-bound trains pass under the higher level of the spiral before then crossing over the lower line. Malcolm McCrow provides a few images from 1970s. [3] I have not yet been able to find any other pictures.

An evening train from Mombasa approaches the spiral, © Peter Ritchie (1971).

The view from the cab of a Class 59 Garratt as it comes down off the spiral and passes under the higher line. ©Kevin Patience.

The Morning Train A02 from Nairobi descends the Mazeras Spiral as it heads for its 8:00am arrival in Mombasa, © Peter Ritchie.

And before we leave the spiral, a sequence showing Class 59 Garratt No. 5918 Mount Gelai negotiating the spiral in 1975.[3] The picture quality is lower as these images come from  video, © Ian Stone.Mazeras station comes a short distance north along the line.

In the next post we will travel on toward Voi and then on to Nairobi.

 

References

1. #Savetherailway; http://www.savetherailway.com, accessed on 14th May 2018.

2. The Friends of Mombasa; http://www.friendsofmombasa.com, accessed on 15th May 2018.

3. McCrow.org.uk; http://www.mccrow.org.uk/EastAfrica/EastAfricanRailways/NairobiMombasa.htm, accessed 14th May 2018.

4. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/554083560377607729, accessed on 15th May 2018, sourced from http://www.mccrow.org.uk © Kevin Patience.

5. Photo courtesy of the Nation Media Group photographer, Jeff Angote; Ng’ang’a Mbugua; SGR can open up Kenya if we build lines to feed it; Friday 2nd June 2017, https://www.nation.co.ke/oped/opinion/sgr-can-open-up-kenya-if-we-build-service-lines-to-feed-it/440808-3953710-bxs6l0z/index.html, accessed on 15th May 2018.

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