The Sierra Leone National Railway Museum Collection
The main collection in the Freetown museum comprises rolling stock and locomotives, all of which was built in the UK and shipped out to Sierra Leone over the past century. The stock, with the exception of part of one wagon, comes from the 2'6" gauge Sierra Leone Government Railway which ran from Freetown .
The collection has now been declared a historic heritage asset of the Sierra Leone people and cannot leave the country, thus benefiting the nation. Sadly, none of the locomotives can work due to missing parts, age, damage and value, and unfortunately without sufficient space for a running line or enough funds, a return to working order is not currently being considered. However, we are actively seeking assistance to restore the collection to a higher standard, and to develop interpretation around exhibits to tell the story of Sierra Leone and how the railways powered its development. Read more about the opportunities to get involved.
Also in the collection are a growing number of hardware assets, ranging from tickets, photographs, railway paperwork, headlamps and wage boxes. We're always on the look out to acquire more items for our collection, so if you think please get in touch.
0-4-0 Saddle Tank Locomotive
Built in 1915, Leeds, England
By Manning Wardle
Nellie is a firm favourite with our younger visitors. Built in 1915 and imported from Britain in World War One, she was used on the Fourah Bay Harbour construction project. She was later then used for shunting goods trains around Freetown for many years, and was thought to be working right up until final closure in 1975.
"Nellie the Engine" is a remarkable survivor - the oldest loco in the collection - she celebrate her 100th birthday in 2015.
2-6-2 Tank Locomotive
Built in 1947, Leeds, England
No. 81 was one of several similar locomotives used in the latter years on the line; this successful design proved to be a highly versatile workhorse. Her sister, No. 85, was exported back to Britain in the 1970s and is now restored on the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway. Our own No. 81 is missing a pair of wheels, but has been restored to basic cosmetic standards.
105 and 108
123 and 133
All built by Hudswell, Clarke of Leeds
There are four diesel locomotives and one railcar in the collection.
All four locomotives were built by Hudswell, Clarke Ltd of Leeds and exported to Sierra Leone. The railcar was built by Wickham of Ware in the UK.
Locomotive 120 is shown in this 1958 advert for Hudswell, Clarke Ltd. We have two similar locomotives, 123 and 133, in our collection.
Carriages and wagons
Trains aren't just locomotives: the really important bit is what they pull. The contents of the wagons and coaches are what changed Sierra Leone as a nation: from the goods from the farms up country to the passengers who rode from villages and towns to visit friends, family and do business. We have a fascinating collection of vehicles in the collection, including ordinary passenger stock and the world's only royal train that's never actually carried royalty.
More details coming soon.