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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday - Saturday 21-22 May. Umfolosi Sugar Planters

The Umfolosi Sugar Mill is situated at River View, just outside Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal.

The cane growing area is a flood plain between two rivers, subject to periodic inundation. The mill company is separate from the company that operates the rail sysyetm and maintains all the drains, floodways and roads.

The cane railway is 2ft 6ins gauge and is efficiently operated. The cane is all whole stick, loaded longitudinally into four-wheel trucks by grab loaders. Much of the field labour comes from Mozambique on a seasonal basis, and there are quite a few women involved. The crushing season runs for at least nine months beginning in April.

The locos are somewhat bland 6wDH Hunslet derivatives but they are lovingly cared for. There is talk of the mill's 3ft 6ins gauge Hunslet Taylor being obtained and converted to 2ft 6ins gauge.

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