Sandstone Steam Railroad - Rail News

Decauville restoration and research proceeds apace

Following the transfer of the ex Angolan Decauville N. 302 to Luks Nel in Bloemfontein terrific progress is being made.

Marc A Dubout, Responsable technique, Chemin de Fer des Chanteraines has supplied the following information:

"From the Decauville working list this engine N°302 was built in 1899. Her weight is 3,250 t and the gauge 600 mm.
The boiler test time is 9th September 1899 and supplied date 2nd October 1899 to Souza Lara & Co (Decauville agent in Loanda (Angola)). She was called BATHALA.
Please find enclosed the page from the Decauville catalogue."



David Blondin wrote as follows:
"Regarding to the works list published by K.W. Clingan, your engine was delivered on 30 Sept 1899, boiler test on 9 Sept 1899 to the Souza Lara & Co by the Decauville agent at Loanda in Angola. This is a Bt type, of 3,25 tons weight and 600 mm gauge. I think you already know all this information... The name of your engine was BATHALA.

I don't have a lot of information about this type of engine. Only the page I join and find in the 1916 Decauville catalog. It's the same engine but in 500 mm gauge.

I know one engine like yours is in the AMTP museum in Pithiviers (France).

I think the best for you is to contact the CEMNAD society. This is the national society for the creation of a Deceuville museum
: They have a lot of documents about decauville vehicle.

Best regards


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We are very grateful to our French colleagues for this information and continue to see drawings and other information, both from France and Angola.

There is a photograph of a very woebegone example as rescued from New Caledonia on

The locomotive is slightly older than Sandstone's example, being No. 288 of 1898.

As far as the restoration goes Lukas Nel reports that on December 21 the locomotive was running on compressed air, with all motion etc reassembled. Work on the boiler starts in the new year and provided there is nothing nasty in store, and initial inspections by boiler inspectors indicate that is the case, it could well be steaming in 2005.

There are a couple of illustrations of the cleaned up and refitted wheelsets as progress continues.