Re: Article on Railway Museum, Lagos

Dear Editor, 

I was interested to read your article in last week’s Algarve Resident regarding the Railway Museum in Lagos. You provided an excellent coverage and I look forward to reading your article on the Old Railway Station (ORS). 

It so happens that, over the past few weeks, I have been conducting some research of my own into both the Old Railway Station building and the engine shed. I was fortunate to gain access to the shed during the period of the recent roof repairs when I was able to make an initial inspection of the contents.

I am now planning on a further visit when I hope to make a more thorough inspection, guided by some of the comments made to me by international specialists in railway station locomotives and rolling stock. 

I understand that the two locomotives are 0-6-2T’s. Both of the engines were manufactured by Bayer, Peacock & Co at their Gorton Factory, Manchester in 1890. One is numbered 013 and the other 033. One has the words ‘Garratt TGRK Beyer-Garratt’ inscribed. The Pullman-style carriage is particularly fine. Other items are track inspection vehicles. I hope to make a much fuller inspection of the carriage in particular during my next visit. 

I am especially interested in the fate of the ORS and of the fine tiling that surrounds it. Regrettably, some of these tiles have been damaged through neglect or otherwise vandalized. You will, of course, be aware of the origin of these tiles, from the Sacavém factory, of which I have some knowledge and which must, I feel sure, be freely available online. The Sacavém story is one worth noting as part of overall Portuguese history.

My special interest in the Garratt locomotives is because they were the driving force (literally) behind the effective operation of the Uganda Railway between Mombasa and Lake Victoria, constructed in the early part of the 20th century. This line traversed extraordinary terrain, altitude etc, not to mention the number of workers who were eaten by lions!

As a result of this railway construction, the area between Uganda and the Indian Ocean eventually became Kenya Colony where I lived in the ‘40s and ‘50s. I have definitive books on this railway and knew the author of one quite well.