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International Railroad Discussion > Angola 2022 Benguela Railway (iii)


Date: 11/26/22 06:40
Angola 2022 Benguela Railway (iii)
Author: GN1969

This posting continues my series on my recent visit to the Benguela Railwau (Caminho de Ferro de Benguela - CFB) in Angola.

Construction began in 1899 by the Portuguese colonial government but it was the vision of Englishman Sir Robert Williams to build a line to the Congo to access the mineral rich Copper Belt region. In 1902 he reached an agreement with the Portuguese colonial government to establish the CFB under a 99 year lease. Construction began in earnest in 1903 and the Congo border was reached in 1929. It was a distance of 1344 kilometers from the South Atlantic port of Lobito.

Picture 1: The entrance to the new Lobito station showshigh quality civil engineering. The CFB was destroyed during the brutal 28-year civil war that followed independence from Portugal in 1975. It was only reopened in full in 2014 after a Chinese reconstruction project costing $2 billion.
Picture 2: At Negrao station, KM 13 from Lobito, the Cubal cut-off diverges to the left from the original main line through Benguela. It reduced the distance from Lobito to Cubal from 197km to 153km and reduced gradients from 2.5% to 1.25%. The railway climbs to an altitude of 6,082 feet at Calenga, a further 182 km beyond Cubal, before slowing descending to the DR Congo border, now 1289 km from Lobito.
Picture 3: A drawing of the western end of the CFB showing the Cubal cut-off line which was opened in 1974. The original line east from Benguela had a rack rail sector about 3 kilometers long with a 6.25% gradient. It was worked with four rack rail steam locomotives. The rack section was bypassed in 1948 with a 2.5% gradient by-pass line.

Pictures were taken on November 5 and 6, 2022.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/22 06:47 by GN1969.








Date: 11/26/22 09:27
Re: Angola 2022 Benguela Railway (iii)
Author: tomstp

Signal, concrete ties, and welded rail.  They didn't  spare the cash.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/26/22 12:12 by tomstp.



Date: 11/26/22 11:48
Re: Angola 2022 Benguela Railway (iii)
Author: King_Coal

Thanks for sharing these. It seems in really good repair. Yesterday's photo of the rake of wooden cars was mind-blowing.



Date: 12/29/22 15:28
Re: Angola 2022 Benguela Railway (iii)
Author: MEKoch

The Chinese government have spent monies liberally in Africa on infrastructure projects for these nations.  



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