Vidrail stock a fabulous selection of Railway and Steam Train books covering railways from Southern African countries.
Contact Jean Dulez, see details on the Contact Us page or the Ordering Page
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All prices quoted (in red text) are in South African Rand (ZAR)
OF SOUTHERN AFRICA 150 Years
In recent years, the state controlled transport organisation has been restructured and its name changed to Transnet, with the railways division, initially known as "Spoornet", later also changed to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).
The book documents in great detail all the various designs and classes of steam locomotives to have been placed in service between the years 1860 and 1968, as well as the electric locomotive series (from 1925) and diesel locomotives range from 1938. In addition, the electric multiple unit designs (EMU) for the high density commuter services have also been given due recognition, an area ignored by most previous publications on the subject of railways in South Africa. This service now falls under the Department of Transport: the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) which now also encompasses the long distance Shosholoza Meyl and upmarket Premier Classe passenger services (the world famous luxury Blue Train operation was still in 2012 being operated by Transnet itself). Metrorail is the operator of the commuter services.
The author, Jean Dulez, railway photographer since 1964 and also video producer since the early 1980s, has left no stone unturned in coverage of all the relevant subject matter. In total, over ten years of research, accumulation of photographic material and information has been amassed, with the assistance of prominent authorities within various areas of the topics of Southern African motive power and railways; specifically Richard Clatworthy, Les Pivnic, Tony Elliot, Leith Paxton, John Middleton and the late Malcolm Bates, to mention but a few of the major contributors. In addition the above mentioned, other well-known photographers of the Southern African railway scene have also provided contributions, namely Peter Stow, Eugene Armer, Dennis Moore, Charlie Lewis, David Benn, Bill Botkin and yet several more. The former Transnet Heritage archive collection (now functioning under the TFR library) has provided an invaluable source of photographs and drawings, as such also containing the collections of Frank Holland and Frank Garrison. The collections of the late Dusty Durrant and Boon Boonzaaier have also been sourced in order to provide many more railway images.
The book contains many unpublished photographs and comprises:
416 pages, 30cmx24cm format, hard cover
We believe that this is the most comprehensive
technical book on this subject, dealing with the entire period 1860 to
2011, to have appeared to date and deserves a prominent place in any
Southern African railway enthusiast's
After the Second World War, the South African Railways were in dire need of more motive power for its growing traffic, particularly for the artery connecting the Johannesburg area with Cape Town. This includes the 340 mile crossing of the semi-desert Karoo, where water is scarce. Comprehensive studies and development work led to the order for 90 Class 25 4-8-4s with condensing tenders and 50 non-condensing locomotives, Class 25NC, from North British and Henschel. They were the largest non-articulated narrow gauge locomotives ever built and the largest locomotives to use the Henschel condensing system.
In this book, renowned steam engineer Phil Girdlestone details the development of these ultimately very successful locomotives, which incorporated much American technology, such as cast steel frames, automatic axlebox wedges and firebox circulator tubes. He explains the many efforts to improve mechanical and thermal efficiency and output, and the initial problems with the separation of oil from the condensed steam, blower fans, the roller bearing rods and breaking connecting rods.
The locomotives were delivered in 1953-55. Their low water consumption and excellent riding qualities earned them their nicknames. Twenty years later, the usefulness of the complicated condensing locomotives was over, and by 1980 all but three had been converted to non-condensing. Regular service ended in 1992, but no less than 31 have been preserved. The book is illustrated with several technical drawings and numerous colour photographs showing these impressive machines at work in the often stunning South African landscape. In all, the book is a worthy tribute to SAR's most remarkable locomotives.
|RAILWAYS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA - LOCOMOTIVE
Compiled by John Middleton (2002)
Soft cover, booklet size with 32 colour digital photographs.
2012 update flyer is included.
This has been the standard reference for the locomotives in Southern Africa for some years now. It was fully updated in 2002.
It features historical information, details of operations, numbering lists, depot allocations, builders details for all steam, electric and diesel locomotives from the national systems of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
There is really no other publication that covers the railway systems' motive power in the subcontinent to this extent.
Inspired by the now-classic 1950s B&W night-photography book "Steam, Steel and Stars" by O. Winston Link, "Steam Encounters" is a book dedicated to B&W photography of South African steam power, its various locations, moods, challenges, times and people. It is not a documentary covering as many different types of steam locomotive that can be shunted between the pasteboard covers, but is rather a presentation of a generous buffet of encounters with the great gritty machines. Unlike the late Mr. Link, Paul Hloben covers the entire diurnal cycle. Paul has asked numerous photographers and writers to contribute in terms of memories, stories and observations, as well as many photographs from a range of shutter-flies. So, this book is a compilation of contributions from people that were "in steam" or following steam today.
by Paul Hloben (2008) limited edition
This 160 page hard cover publication deals with the preservation operations around South Africa in the new millennium together with some old time colour and black white historic steam train operations. Excellent quality and production.
|THE SHIMMER OF STEEL
by Dennis Moore, published by Chris van Rensburg (1998)
Price on request
This all colour all steam photographic record of the 1990s is out of print but a few copies still available.
Note that the video/DVD we have (VR50) is intended as a companion for the book.
The series "Best of Steam 1983-90" on the other hand, is a more extensive record of action to accompany the book the "Sunset of Steam" for those who own a copy.
THE SMOKE THAT THUNDERS
There are also a number of colour plates featuring steam train scenes taken on the Bulawayo to Colleen Bawn, Plumtree and Victoria Falls lines during the final years of steam from the mid 1980s until 1996.
Although technically out of stock locally, we believe that a limited number of soft cover copies are still available from the Railway Museum in Bulawayo.
by George Pattison
Out of stock
A comprehensive illustrated review of the locomotives of Rhodesia Railways and National Railways of Zimbabwe.
|TRACKS ACROSS THE VELD
by Boon Boonzaaier.
This soft cover 350 full colour publication has been compiled by the operator of modern traction tours called Bushveld Safaris; these covered most of the major routes in Southern Africa and is an account of the history, information and trains over these areas, also illustrated by many maps.
It covers Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland as well as all of the Transnet lines, regardless of whether the tour travelled these or not. Like the AA travel book covers road system, this book is the veritable guide for the rail systems on the subcontinent.
|150th Anniversary of the First Railways and 10th
Anniversary of the RailRoad Association of South
Allen A. Jorgensen
Approx. 340 pages
Chris van Rensburg Publications - 2010
Out of print
This book also celebrates the 150th anniversary of railways in the country, but covers general railway history in more detail and reviews current railway topics from various perspectives.
|LOCOMOTIVES OF THE NAMAQUALAND RAILWAY AND COPPER
Approx. 60 pages, hard cover.
Price on request
The 2'6" gauge Namaqualand Railway in West Africa opened over its 91 mile length in 1876 and was originally horse powered. Steam followed quickly, and locomotives were supplied from Lilleshall, Kitson (including the "main-line" 0-6-2 tender locos), Dick, Kerr and Bagnall. The company's copper mines closed in the 1920s, but a skeleton service continued over the railway until the mines restarted in 1937. This excellent book offers a brief history of the line, and a more extensive one of its unusual locomotives, but no drawings, up till the closure of the final section of the line in 2004.