STEAM LOCOMOTIVE WINTERTHUR SLM 130 - THE FRANCO ETHIOPIAN RAILWAY FROM 1900 TO 1980.
Gallery N°23 : SLM 130 (C.F.E. period)
The Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de Fer Ethiopiens, (C.I.E.), ordered 6 Type 130 locomotives, with separate tenders, from the Société Suisse de Construction de Locomotives et de Machines (S.L.M.) of Winterthur. These were to run on the first section, Djibouti-Daouenlé (106 km) that opened in 1900. Four locomotives, with Construction Numbers 1213 to 1216, were delivered in 1899. The remaining two, S.L.M. 1224 and 1225, followed in 1900.
The C.I.E. locomotives, renumbered 1 to 6, wore their christening names in both Ethiopian and French on bronze plaques placed on either side of the boiler. Their names were No1: Lion, No 2: Leopard, No 3: Panthère, No 4: Buffle, No 5: Rhinoceros and No 6: Antilope. Locomotives Nos 5 and 6 were of a reinforced and slightly more powerful version, distinguished by the placement of their domes. In 1901 two additional units were built by the SLM Company for the Daouenlé-Dire Dawa section, due to open 1902. They were No 7: Elephant (SLM 1381) and No 8: Hippopotame (SLM 1382). But these never reached their network as the ship on which they were being transported sank en-route.
In 1912 SLM delivered three more locomotives of similar design to the new C.F.E. Company. These were a second No 7: Elephant (SLM 2295), a second No 8: Hippopotame (SLM 2296) and No 9: Fauve (SLM 2297). They were recognisable by the shape of the roof of the car, showing a style then typical of many of the Swiss locomotives built by SLM.
These simple-expansion locomotives ran mainly on the lower part of the line. In the 1930s the first four locomotives were already put in a siding, their tenders supplementing the new Type 140 locomotives, Series 414 to 419, that were delivered in 1938. The remainder ended their careers at the beginning of the 1950s.
Coal for the locomotives was unloaded and stored at the Port of Djibouti. Reloaded on gondolas, it was delivered to various main stations and stops along the line. No station was equipped with a crane capable of loading the coal directly on to the tenders of the locomotives. Instead, the company used "coolies" who filled wicker baskets or hessian bags weighing 30 kilos, and loaded the coal by hand. In some pictures one can see the weighing machines and scaffolding used to load the tenders.