Starting from the sport of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean, the Benguela Railway Stretches across Angola to the Zaire frontier.
GV Steam train in station
GV Passengers board train (3 shots)
SV Fireman loading wood for engine and blazing furnace (2 shots)
CU Smoke out of engine
GV PAN Steam engine pulls out of station and along track (4 shots)
Initials BB/1708 MF/AH/BB/1720
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Background: Starting from the sport of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean, the Benguela Railway Stretches across Angola to the Zaire frontier.
From there it links up with other lines that urn through the Katanga province of Zaire to lake Tanganikya and to the south it joins up with Zambia Railways to Lusaka. This link connects with the railway system of southern Africa.
Both Katanga province and the copperbelt of Zambia are among the richest mineral zones in the world and the Benguela Railway provides them with a vital export link to the sea. Use of the port of Lobito shortens the sea journey to Europe and the U.S.A. by about 2,500 miles (4,000 kms).
In 1970 the Benguela Railway -- which is owned by Tanganika Concessions, a British firm -- and the Portuguese Government began a modernisation programme. The most important aspect of this was the construction of the Cubal Variant, which opened in October this year.
At a cost of around 'GBP' 20 million sterling (48 million U.S. dollars) a new section of railway line was built cutting 28 miles (44 kms) off the old route. It climbs from the coast to the Cubal plateau on reduced gradients and cuts the number of curves on the line from 415 to 122.
By eliminating the bottlenecks on the old line the Railway reckons it can double its freight capacity. It is also keen to phase out is old wood-burning steam engines and replace them with modern diesels. Some are already in service on the Cubal Variant section of the 810-mile (1,350 kms) line.