Risking Life And Limb To Photograph Steam Trains

We were young, fearless and perhaps a little crazy.

Back in 1975, I was living in South Africa. I had been lured there by the promise of steam trains in their heyday, following there demise in Australia. By the time I finished school, steam was all but gone, and the thought of a country where it was still widely available was too much of a temptation.


South Africa was full of Garratts, large articulated locomotives that could haul large loads up steep hills. They were like having two engines on the one train with a single crew. They are different to the US style compounds in that they have two complete engines under them pivoted by a central boiler. This meant they could run on light rails and sharper curves.

Mozambique and Angola had more than their fare share of these locos, plus the last working Atlantics were on offer in northern Mozambique, so we decided to pay a visit. At the time there was a transition of power from Portuguese Colonial Rule to the FRELIMO freedom fighter, fresh from a guerilla war. The CIA was active as were the soviets, so it was a volatile time in the country.

During our visit, we were arrested 7 times, locked up for 6 weeks in a Military camp, and were in fear of our lives several times. We effectively vanished during this time with no communication to the outside world. “The Holy Grail of Steam” is the story of that adventure. I am afraid there is no romance, but plenty of intrigue and superb photos from that part of the world in full colour.

We travelled from the Capital to Nampula in the north and then to Mozambique Island.\

Porter 2-6-2 on the Inhambane Line in Central Mozambique

Right now it is available on Kindle from Amazon. The book can be read on a Mac or PC using the Kindle App, as well as in full colour on Kindle Fire. At a measly $3.99 it is a very cheap read, and an insight into history in Africa at that time.

I would appreciate it if you could leave a review after reading the book to help others determine if it is right for them.

Here is the link to purchase for instant delivery.

Purchase Form Amazon


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