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23 class between Kroonstad and Bloemfontein – Greg Triplett

Africa is an exciting continent. With amazing lighting and landscapes it is the perfect background for showcasing the many steam trains that operated in various countries over the last 50 years. As steam disappeared our photographers managed to capture some stunning images and these are presented in this series, produced by the ARE in Melbourne.

Full colour providing a detailed record of lines included in each volume.

Volume 1 – Albert Falls to Asmara

Alan Williams of the ARE had an idea to showcase the amazing railways of Africa as he and others had seen them from the 1970”s onwards. Many Australians visited the area and were able to capture some brilliant images, having developed their photographic skills in the last days of steam in Australia.


These photos were taken by a number of foreigners who lived in Africa for some of their lives, the book covers steam operations in Natal South Africa, South African Industrial Lines, Swaziland and Eritrea. Soft cover, full colour with in depth coverage of each area. Some of these places were hard to get to, and others required extreme patience as we waited for the correct lighting to bring the scenes to life. If you love steam trains, you will be more than happy with what is presented here.

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Volume 2 – Kisumu to the Great Karoo

The second in this excellent series depicting African Steam operations in detail. . This volume covers steam operations in East Africa, osmead – Lootsberg Pass region of South Africa, Angola and The mighty South African Bethlehem and Kroonstad to Beaufort West lines. This showed the might of South Africa’s cape gauge giant 4-8-4s and even 16Es, known to be the largest and fastest Pacifics on narrow gauge. Traversing the might Karoo desert, famous for its unfettered African Sunsets, the clear air and lighting can only be captured faithfully in printed form. If you love smoke and steam, this will not disappoint!

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Here are a few more photos from these books

GF and Gmam pass Deepdale Falls in Natal – Greg Triplett


Double headed 31 class with Giesel Exhaust fitted near Mt Kenya – John Allerton

Incredible scenery in Swaziland as a 700 class drifts past rapids with a full load of ore – John Gaydon

The overnight train is met by photographers at first light on its way to Bethlehem in South Africa – John Gaydon

GF on the Matatiele passenger train – John Gaydon

A GF leads a Gmam on a freight climbing City View on the Greytown line. – John Gaydon

59 Class Garratt in Kenya – Robert Kingsford Smith

Prior to 1976, the 19B was seen almost exclusively on Lootsberg Pass. Here a twin pair of these hauls a freight in early morning light – Greg Triplett

Angola featured these amazing wood burning Garratts on the Buengela Railway – Greg Triplett

Twin 25 Class Condensors show awesome motive power across the Karoo – Gret Triplett

Even industrial steam in South Africa provided some great photographic opportunities – Greg Triplett


Eritrea offers some great looking locos and spectacular scenery – Mike Tyak

Some of these photos are scanned from the book. The printed versions are better!

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