Thursday 19 January 2012

The "Pride" Of 14 Up

Ctn1, September 1973


On the morning of the 15.07.73 at approximately 00h40, I was the driver of 14 Up, when at a point some five kilometres beyond Intundhla, I perceived, reflected in my headlights, a pride of lions, running along the track towards Dett, at an estimated speed of 20 k.p.h.

Due to the fact that I was headed in a like direction, but at a speed considerably in excess of that generated by the lions, I duly overtook the pride, who contrary to my expectations, obstinately refused to acknowledge my due right of way.

A collision therefore occurred, in which I rendered two lion hors de combat, placed a further two on the critical list (from which I understand they never recovered) and caused an estimate of three more to be rostered on "light duties" with various abrasions, contusions and other wrongs and injuries, commensurate with a 15th class argument.

Thereafter I observed a partial drop in the vacuum, and as is my normal wont on these occasions
forthwith roundly cursed the fireman for priming the engine, a further check revealed that in this instance the drop was due to some other cause.

Immediately therefore I acted upon the instructions as laid down per clause 12(3)(A) in the General Appendix, and having brought the train to a stand still, alighted from the cab, and clutching my coal hammer, commenced to investigate the cause of the trouble.

Two bogies behind the engine, I found a truck damaged, the flexible rubber hose to the vacuum cylinder having been ripped off by the body of a lion passing under the truck. I whistled up my guard, who with his usual complete disregard for his own safety and showing fearless bravery and devotion, quite beyond the call of duty, walked up from his van, all the way through this dangerous area, infested with predators and carnivore at every bend, in order to assist me in effecting temporary repairs to the truck. (On his return he walked back through the coaches).

The guard mentioned to me that he had heard a noise (one presumes that of a lion in the process of transgression to the "hereafter") at the time of the impact, but had taken no action, as he presumed at the time that it was in all probability only some passenger who had fallen out of the train and who was lying by the side of the track screaming in agony.

We both agreed that it would not have been politic to delay a prestige mixed goods, such as 14 Up over so trifling a matter.

Running repairs completed I drove the train to Dett, where the damaged vehicle was detached. I believe "the overall delay including a slow trip after the incident was 60 minutes. No further incident was experienced.


Extracted and recompiled by Eddy Norris from the Rhodesia Railways magazine of September 1973. Magazine made available by Diarmid Smith. Thanks Diarmid

Also please remember that comments are always very welcome. Send them to orafs11@gmail,com

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At 19 January 2012 at 11:49 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Frank Fynn Writes:-

Really good story! Mate of mine a stoker on a 20th Cl Garrat tells his story of smacking a herd of wildebeest on the same track! The whole engine was covered in gore and wildebeest muck as was the fireman who had the small door at the front of the cab open for ventilation! They didn't stop as the loco didn't feel a thing!!

At 19 January 2012 at 11:52 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

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At 19 January 2012 at 20:07 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

John Mussell (RhAF) Writes:-

What a great turn of phrase Driver F Roe had. I hope he continued to treat his public to more of the same. Perhaps someone will uncover more of his stories and ORAFS will give us the benefit of seeing them.

At 20 January 2012 at 07:27 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

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At 20 January 2012 at 07:33 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Nick Baalbergen (Intaf) Writes:-
What a great sense of humour.......................they certainly don't write 'accident reports' like that anymore.

It brings to mind a Rhodesia Railways anecdote (I can't vouch for it's veracity, but amusing nonetheless):

In the early days of steam locomotives on the newly built Rhodesia Railways network, there was a train driver who was apparently reprimanded for the unauthorised use of the locomotive for which he was responsible. He had apparently built a short length of track from the main line, onto his adjacent farm and had 'diverted' the locomotive onto his farm. He had rigged up a belt from the flywheel of the locomotive to his grinding mill and had used the the locomotive's steam engine to drive his maize mill. He had converted his maize to maize meal and was doing the same for various neighbours.

Apparently this type of 'multi-use' was not unusual.

At 20 January 2012 at 07:35 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Thomas R, Schultz (Shingle Springs, California) Writes:-

Tom Krummell forwarded your story to several friends, including me. I then forwarded the story to several other friends who, like me, have visited Zimbabwe, and Dett. I thought you might enjoy the following reply:

Jim Gunning Writes:-
Neat story.

I remember riding the cab of a 15th class out of Bulawayo to Sawmills. I got off when we stopped and walked back to my sleeper-in the dark. The guard was a bit upset, since apparently it was quite common to have Lions in the area, especially after dark.

The driver I rode with told me that in the weeks preceding my footplate ride, he had hit several elephants at night near the edge of Wankie Park. Not far from Dett. It was on a fill, and the elephants had nowhere to go except the track. It killed two of them and left some injured, down the embankment. One had hit squarely on the pilot and he broke the vacuum pipe off the pilot beam. The driver had to go out and see what had happened and then effect repairs. He whittled a wooden plug and hammered in into the broken pipe. It apparently sealed well enough to allow them to limp into Dett. The elephant also put a sizeable dent in the front tank. I may have a photo of that loco with the dent.

At 5 April 2024 at 17:10 , Blogger Notary dubai said...



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