Germany Supports Restoration of Historic Steam Engine Train

Last Monday, a handing-over ceremony for a newly restored narrow-gauge steam engine train took place at Arandis.

In attendance were the mayor of Arandis Daniel Muuhura, the executive director of the Namibia Institute for Mining and Technology (NIMT) Eckhart Muumlller, the deputy head of the German embassy Ullrich Kinne, as well as 600 students and guests.

The restoration of the steam engine was supported by the German embassy with a sum of up to N$250 000 in the framework of Germany’s cultural heritage programme.

According to Kinne, “Since 1981, Germany has been supporting the preservation of cultural heritage across the globe as part of the federal foreign office’s cultural preservation programme. Namibia is one of the major recipients: Since 1985, approximately N$10 million has been made available for projects which preserve the rich cultural heritage of this country.”

The narrow-gauge steam engine, its coal wagon as well as three other historic wagons, one for passengers, one for goods, and one for cattle, which were restored by students of NIMT, symbolise the beginning of the railway age in Namibia and are therefore of great cultural significance.

In September of 1897, the work on Namibia’s first major railway line between Swakopmund and Windhoek began. Before that, there was only a small mining rail line at Cape Cross in operation built in 1985. With stations in Wellwitsch, Karibib and Okahandja among others, the railway line eventually reached Windhoek in June 1902. It was constructed as a 600 mm narrow gauge railway line and operated until 1960.

The steam engine that was handed over was already in use before World War I and is the last one of its kind in Namibia. Its restoration thus makes an important contribution to preserving Namibia’s cultural heritage.

Source : The Namibian