The Kampala to Bombo Narrow Gauge Line - A Stronach-Dutton Roadrail System

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous & Oddities' started by Roger Farnworth, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth Full Member

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    Mar 17, 2018
    The Kampala to Bombo Narrow Gauge Railway - A Stronach-Dutton Roadrail Railway in Uganda in the 1920s.

    At the insistence of the Governor of Uganda an independent novel rail system was tried out in the early 1920s. The trial resulted in the building of a line between Kampala and Bombo which operated during the middle years of that decade. Ultimately, the system failed and it was closed well before the end of the decade.

    This was a project run by the Direct Works department of the protectorate/colony and was not part of the much wider network of "The Uganda Railway" which stretched from Mombasa on the coast of Kenya to Kampala and eventually on the Kasese in the West of Uganda. Articles about the Uganda Railway network can be found on this link:

    I discovered this line when I came across it in an article by Henry Lubega. I have discovered quite a bit more about the design philosophy since then. The system used for the line, the Stronagh-Dutton Roadrail System, is referred to elsewhere – particularly in “Narrow Gauge Steam … and other railway curiosities, Volume 1,” a ‘bookazene’ published by Kelsey Publishing and in a relatively short publication by the Narrow Gauge Society.

    At first look, it seems quite an ingenious idea – removing the weight of the locomotive from the rails enabled much lighter rails to be used. In practice, however a whole series of factors rendered the idea impracticable.
    Graham K likes this.
  2. Graham K

    Graham K Full Member

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    Dec 2, 2020
    Just read through the history and route maps on your linked site, all very interesting :thumbup:

    As a once fairly regular visitor to Ethiopia, I was often intrigued by the metre gauge Addis Ababa - Djibouti line, aka the Ethio-Djibouti Railway

    It was very very run-down in the times I was there, and I only ever got to visit the station in Addis a handful of times (when my local friends would disappear behind it with my wallet to do dodgy but very advantageous US$/Ethiopian Birr transactions!).

    I imagine old African railways, sparse as they were, could inspire some very novel modelling.

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