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David's Exotic Steam Engine.

As well as his exotic plant interests, David also owns a steam locomotive. Elsa is a 2ft 0in gauge steam locomotive built by Orenstein & Koppel (7122/1914), despatched from their works in January 1914 to the Natal Ammonium anthracite mine in Natal. The mine was owned by two German brothers named – splendidly – Brunel.

Natal Ammonium in due course did away with 2ft 0in gauge and Elsa (as yet un-named) was sold to Lonely Mine - a gold mine - some 50 miles north of Bulawayo, remaining there until the 1930s when she was sold yet again, this time to a logging railway in Matabeleland. In 1949 she joined the fleet of the Selukwe Peak Light Railway, serving a chrome mine. She was withdrawn when the mine railway ‘went diesel’ and in 1972 was presented to the Selukwe Lions Club who painted her green, gave her a coal bunker and named her Elsa. Until 1979 she ran weekend passenger trains at Selukwe to raise money for charity.
In 1979 this operation ceased and she lay derelict in Selukwe yard until purchased by Ted Hamer in 1986. She was transported to Kadoma, refurbished and retubed, and when the family returned to UK in 1989 Elsa came too. She operated frequently from 1990 to 1999, initially on a short stretch of track in Margaret Barnes’ large garden near Canterbury and latterly on the Isle of Thanet Steam Railway, a 300 yard layout on Bob Robertson’s farm at St Nicholas-at-Wade.

Her ex-Rhodesian Beyer-Garratt chime whistle became a familiar sound as it echoed over the Kentish countryside.
Today Elsa is silent and has a temporary home at Preston, near Wingham, while she awaits the raising of funds for a retube and general refurbishment.

This site was updated 12/08/04

David's Exotic Steam Engine.

David's Exotic Steam Engine (Elsa).

Locomotives of Zimbabwe & Botswana Book By Ted Hamer

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