INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe's railways have a problem which may many of their declining counterparts in Western nations would envy -- they can't keep up with the increase in demand for their services.
GV Goods trains at Bulawayo station (2 shots)
GV Steam goods train pulling patrol tankers
SV Train pushing coal wagons
TV Coal wagons (2 shots)
GV Old locomotive being renovated (4 shots)
GV PAN Grain silos PAN TO warehouses
SVs Grain loaded into trucks (3 shots)
GV Empty wagons moved
GV PAN Trains in goods yard
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe's railways have a problem which may many of their declining counterparts in Western nations would envy -- they can't keep up with the increase in demand for their services. Drastic measures are being taken to make up a shortage of skilled staff and serviceable rolling stock so that the rise in traffic can be met.
SYNOPSIS: Many of Zimbabwe's locomotives and goods wagons, like these in Bulawayo, are out-of-date -- but since peace returned with independence last year traffic has increased by more than twenty percent over the expected level.
According to the general manager of Zimbabwe Railways, Nigel Lea-Cox, the problem has been caused partly by South Africa's recall of 25 diesel locomotives that had been on loan. Recruitment of skilled workers from the United Kingdom has failed to solve a shortage of suitable staff. This has meant that the number of serviceable locomotives available has been far below expectations.
To tackle the problem, 87 of the country's steam locomotives are being renovated along with 22 diesel engines. Another 60 new diesel locomotives are being obtained, according to Mr. Lea-Cox, of a simple and sturdy design that will require a minimum of maintenance. They're intended to provide a 'solid backbone' of reliable diesel engines.
Zimbabwe's grain harvest has improved dramatically since the end of the guerrilla war. There is now enough grain to feed Zimbabwe -- and to export to other African nations. But the railways need more locomotives to handle the goods. Another plan is to recruit more skilled workers from India and Pakistan to work on the railways.
Railway officials say they hope these new measures will mean that performance starts to improve by the first three months of next year, and that traffic requirements can be met in full by the second half of 1982.