Umzinto – Donnybrook narrow gauge railway

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Umzinto - Donnybrook
DonnyBrook
Carthill
Eastwolds
Maxwell
Mabedlena
Lufafa Road
Crystal Manor
Loch Buidhe
Vause
Branch line to Madonela
Ixopo
Allwoodburn (PCNGR)
La Trappe
Stainton
Etterby
Carisbrooke
Glen Beulah
Ncalu
Rydal
Madonela (Umzinkulu)
Highflats
Kunatha
Knockagh
Hlutankungu
Jolivet
Njane
Kenterton
Dumisa
Mbulula
Sawoti
Glenrosa
Braemar
Inverugie
Nkwifa
Esperanza
Umzinto

The Umzinto – Donnybrook narrow gauge railway is a closed 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway line in South Africa. It runs from Umzinto to Donnybrook, passing through Highflats and Ixopo, with a branch from Ixopo to Madonela (Union Bridge). The line was built in 1908 and was 93 miles (150 km) [1] in length.

Construction[edit]

The main line was constructed using second-hand rails becoming available from track upgrades on Cape gauge railways. The total line was laid at a cost of £3,200 a mile. The construction and equipment of this railway barely exceeded £300,000.[2]

The rails were 30 kilograms per metre (60.5 lb/yd), in 18-metre (59.1 ft) lengths. The ruling gradient was 1 in 33 (3.33%) uncompensated for curvature.[1]

The 17.5-mile (28.2 km) Madonela Branch was built for a maximum axle load of 5 long tons (5.6 short tons; 5.1 t) and a speed of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) at a cost of about £ 50 000 and the first trains ran on 2 February 1914.[3]

Operations[edit]

In the 1970s a typical crew operation roster consisted of three daily trains: The first train from Ixopo to Donnybrook and return to Ixopo, a full day's shift. The second train also departed from Ixopo but serviced the Madonela branch and then went back to Ixopo. The third train departed from Umzinto.

At Highflats daily trains crossed at one o'clock in the afternoon, exchanged the crew and the locomotives were serviced. A single run cost more than 5 hours.

Although there was no official passenger transport, incidental travellers could find a place to travel in the guards van.

There were transshipment facilities to Cape gauge railways at Umzinto and Donnybrook.

Closure[edit]

Various sections of the railway closed between 1985 and 1987 after washouts, but the Ixopo to Madonela branch was rebuilt in 2000 by the Patons Country Narrow Gauge Railway.

After closure the majority of the tracks was lifted to be used on the Welsh Highland Railway. Any leftovers were later recovered for the Patons Country Railway.[4]

Locomotives used[edit]

NGG3, NG11, NG16.

Media references[edit]

The movie Cry, the Beloved Country featured this line.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2ft gauge Little Titans for the Welsh Highland - The 'NGG16s'". Martynbane.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  2. ^ "• View topic - Our Railway Gauge". Bettertransport.org.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  3. ^ "The History". Futurenet.co.za. 1914-02-02. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Work In Progress". Futurenet.co.za. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  5. ^ "NOVEMBER 2009". Heritage - Rail : Photo of the Month Archive. Sandstone Estates. Retrieved 30 December 2011.