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PNP Railways Engine Shed

"Step into the captivating world of railway history with Mount Kilimanjaro, the iconic EAR Beyer Garratt Class 59 locomotive. Discover the remarkable story behind the powerful steam engine that once ruled the meter gauge railways of East Africa. "

"Mount Kilimanjaro: The Legendary EAR Beyer Garratt Class 59 Locomotive - A Triumph of Engineering"

The full-size EAR Beyer Garratt Class 59 4-8-2 2-8-4 No 5928, known as Mount Kilimanjaro, has a fascinating origin story. These impressive locomotives were built for the East African Railway (EAR) and were specifically designed to operate on the challenging meter gauge railway lines in East Africa.

The class 59 locomotives were manufactured in Manchester, England, by Beyer, Peacock & Co. Ltd., a prominent locomotive manufacturer of the time. A total of 34 locomotives of this class were constructed between 1955 and 1957. The EAR chose the Beyer Garratt design for its exceptional power, efficiency, and ability to navigate the terrain of the region.

Mount Kilimanjaro, along with its sister locomotives in the class, was named after prominent mountains in Africa. The naming convention added a touch of geographical significance to these mighty machines, with each locomotive representing a different mountain or extinct volcano. As the largest and most powerful locomotives operating on any meter gauge railway in the world, the class 59 Beyer Garratt locomotives were true engineering marvels.

The original full-size locomotives were primarily oil-fired, which allowed for efficient operation in remote areas where the availability of coal was limited. The decision to opt for oil firing was likely influenced by the practicality of supplying coal to these massive locomotives, considering the demanding workload they had to handle.

The EAR Beyer Garratt locomotives, including Mount Kilimanjaro, served the East African Railway system faithfully for many years, contributing to the development and growth of the region's transportation infrastructure. Today, while the full-size locomotives have either been retired or preserved as historical artifacts, the model representation of Mount Kilimanjaro serves as a nostalgic reminder of the impressive legacy of these magnificent machines.

From its origins in North Wales to its current home with the Rugby Society of Model Engineers, "Mount Kilimanjaro" stands as a testament to the enduring allure of steam locomotives.

Originally constructed in 1973 by Coleby, Simkins, this masterpiece of engineering was commissioned for the renowned railway author and surveyor, Brian Hollingsworth. The Engine ran along the edge of one of the Ffestiniog Railway’s station platforms while residing at Brian’s nearby property in North Wales and ran on Brian’s fantastic trestle bridged raised railway. Eventually, the locomotive found its way to the capable hands of Brett Rogers, an esteemed figure in the world of miniature railways, who tirelessly worked on the engine and reboilered it, predominantly keeping it at Weston Park.




A Journey Through Ownership

With time, Mount Kilimanjaro transitioned from one owner to another, each contributing to its rich legacy. Brett Rogers sold the locomotive to Paul Norman of PNP Railways, resulting in its occasional travels but primarily finding solace at Weston Park. However, as the locomotive experienced a period of inactivity, it was deemed appropriate to seek a new home for this exceptional model with a storied past.

A New Chapter Unfolds
Mike Palmer at Station Road Steam spearheaded a loan agreement between the Rugby Society of Model Engineers and PNP Railways, offering Mount Kilimanjaro a fresh lease on life. The Rugby Society of Model Engineers took up the task of recommissioning and enhancing the locomotive, ensuring it maintains its pristine condition to this day. 

The Marvels of Articulation

Mount Kilimanjaro, a prime example of the Beyer Garratt design, showcases a unique three-part articulation. The boiler rests on a central frame, while the two engines are mounted on separate frames at either end. This ingenious arrangement enables the locomotive to navigate curves and traverse lighter tracks, a feat not easily achievable by rigid engines of similar proportions.

Witnessing the Immense Size
The model Mount Kilimanjaro impresses with its size, offering a glimpse into the scale of the full-size locomotives. While maintaining the characteristic maroon livery with yellow gold inlay of the EAR, this coal-fired model captivates the imagination and serves as a testament to the engineering brilliance of its real-life counterparts.

The late Duke of Edinburgh engages in conversation with Brian Hollingsworth next to the majestic 7¼” model Mount Kilimanjaro locomotive
The late Duke of Edinburgh engages in conversation with Brian Hollingsworth next to the majestic 7¼” model Mount Kilimanjaro locomotive

The late Duke of Edinburgh engages in conversation with Brian Hollingsworth next to the majestic 7¼” model Mount Kilimanjaro locomotive. These snapshots capture the historic opening of the National Railway Museum at York in 1975, where Prince Philip was joined by his son, the now King Charles III, seen peeking behind his father.

"Unveiling the Magnitude: Exploring the Dimensions of Mount Kilimanjaro, an EAR Beyer Garratt Class 59 Locomotive"

To provide a glimpse of the immense scale of these locomotives, here are the measurements of the captivating model Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Overall length: 19 feet 4 inches

  • Height from rail: 31 inches

  • Width: 24 inches

  • Length of the boiler unit and front engine: 14 feet 2 inches

  • Length of the boiler unit: 9 feet 1 inch

The sheer magnitude of this model becomes evident when considering its weight, fully coaled and watered, reaching a mammoth 4,400 pounds (approximately 1,995.806 kilograms). Each axle bears an approximate load of 314 pounds (142.428 kilograms), emphasizing the substantial power harnessed within this remarkable locomotive.

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