MOATIZE - Mozambique's Lost Railway

Report by Henry Posner III
Based on visit of June 16, 2001


  click to view larger image CFM’s Moatize line was cut during the war, but provided a tri-weekly passenger service between Moatize and Cambulatsitsi (a distance of approximately 60 km) until August of 1994.  
  click to view larger image Since then, over 200 people have remained on the payroll at Moatize awaiting developments.  The station is well kept, and the stationmaster awaits a call to duty.  
  click to view larger image The telegraph office is staffed 24 hours per day, but its main function is to keep track of employees for payroll purposes (a retrenchment is underway to reduce staff to 70 people at Moatize).  
  click to view larger image Henschel #270, a 2-10-2, is one of two locomotives stored serviceable.  
  click to view larger image Sister locomotive #253, also a Henschel 2-10-2, is also stored serviceable.  
  click to view larger image The first of two Alco 2-6-6-0 Mallets at Moatize is found at the end of the station head shunt, at a 90-degree angle to the track.  Folklore at Moatize is that the locomotive was involved in a runaway, and that it is currently inhabited by a cobra.  
  click to view larger image The second of two Mallets is found at the end of the triangle, in this case inhabited by a termite colony (Note that both locomotives are missing their tenders. There are no tenders that I could find at Moatize carrying the Mallets’ numbers – 100 and 101 – though they could be elsewhere).  

Other steam locomotives at Moatize are a dumped 4-8-2, #59; and an unidentified 4-8-2, dumped and minus cab, tender, etc.  Also present was the tender to locomotive #459.  CFM staff indicated that the line is being kept clear of vegetation, holding out the possibility that a charter train could be organized after an assessment of track conditions.  An enterprising tour operator would be most welcome, rewarding the staff for their long wait (Note: Moatize is 3 hours from Blantyre, Malawi, by paved road.).


Henry Posner III is the Chairman of Railroad Development Corporation (RDC).
For more information visit

All photographs are the property of Henry Posner III.
Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.