Thursday, 5 February 2015
A book review
The Two Foot Gauge Enigma- Beira Railway 1890-1900
By Antony Baxter
Published by Plateway Press ISBN 1 871980 34 8
Every now and then a true gem comes along, Antony Baxter’s book on this little railway, well in gauge, is well researched, mainly from source documents. The text is complemented with wonderful photographs of the railway from construction to it being re gauged. At the back section are a set of drawing of the various Classes of Falcon locomotives that ran on this line, it includes a drawing of the Drummond loco with Flower tender.
Antony starts with a background for the reason to building the railway from Beira Mozambique to Umtali in Rhodesia. Then the construction and operation through to the locomotives and rolling stock. All through the text are wonderful antidotes of events that surrounded this railway at the time. The epilogue finishes with the re-gauging of the Beira railway from 2’ gauge to 3’6” and then the drawing of the Lawley’s
This book is well worth the money I paid for it a few year back, it is no long on Plateway Press website book list so would presume it is out of print, www.plateway.co.uk, I bought my copy from Andrew Neale at www.railway-books.co.uk
If you have an interest in Southern African two foot gauge this book is a must have and read.
Ps It was from this railway that the SAR-NG6’s where originated, being purchases from Lawley whose ownership they were in 1916. The 13 locomotives where in a store in Bamboo Creek, after being deliver to the SAR nine where overhauled and deemed fit for service.
The photo on the front cover is of a Beira Railway large Falcon 4-4-0 No 16 at Umtali in 1898