One of the immediate benefits of a settlement in Zimbabwe Rhodesia would be the lifting of sanctions, in particular oil sanctions.
One of the immediate benefits of a settlement in Zimbabwe Rhodesia would be the lifting of sanctions, in particular oil sanctions. But the fuel crisis has had its compensations --- the need to save diesel has brought the nostalgic return of steam to Rhodesian railways.
SYNOPSIS: Steam is on the way back here, locomotives built in Britain nearly thirty year ago are coming back on the rails. In a country wracked by war and starved of fuel oil, steam is not only sensible but essential. So many diesel locomotives have been damaged by war, the Rhodesia railways, as it-persists in calling itself, has had to renovate locomotives scrapped ten year ago.
Four huge fifteen class Garrett locomotives built in the early nineteen fifties in Britain have already been given a new lease of life in the engine shops of Bulawayo. And craftsmen are making new parts for other locomotives which stand derelict on the sidings. In the engine sheds there are sights and sounds almost forgotten in many countries.
Zimbabwe Rhodesia has coal in abundance and there is labour too to do the jobs that today's modern railman might blink at. Without a drop of oil of its own and a somewhat uncertain dependence on South African good will for future supplies, Bishop Muzorewa's Government has decided to go back to steam in a substantial way.
Armed guards are on every train and the risks to the train crew are considerable. Trains are regularly shot up and wrecked pass niger trains are a common sight. In the cab the driver and fireman know that if a rockets hits the locomotive's boiler, they will almost certainly be killed by the explosion of two hundred pounds (90 kilograms) of steam.
Every bridge along the sixty-mile (96 kilometres) track is guarded, but there are simply too many culverts to watch and there are a thousand perfect spots for an ambush. The freight on this train was destined to Zaire and Zambia. Without this railway the countries most critical of Zimbabwe Rhodesia would go hungry. But that doesn't stop the guerrillas hitting the lifeline.
The locomotive, twenty-seven years old and brought back from the scrapyard completes the journey to Victoria Falls in four hours and only here does steam give way to diesel. Zambian railways taken the load across the Zambiezi.