16mm Projects

Plastikard Modelling : Rick Collett

Lagos Steam Tram

Built to link the main island of Lagos (Nigeria) to the railhead on the mainland, the Lagos Steam Tramway was only 3 miles long but at its peak boasted a service every 20 mins. Three articulated locomotives were provided by Hunslets of Leeds in 1901. A further two were supplied in 1910 with a slightly increased water capacity. Water was carried in two tanks in the saloon portion under the longitudinal seats each side. The railway crossed Carter bridge (looked more like a 2000' pier) which had a weight limit of only 5 tons.

This was thought to account for the peculiar design together with the need to negotiate sharp curves. At night the railway assumed night-soil activities for which two 0-4-0 Bagnall saddle tanks were provided. (These were too heavy for the bridge so the wagons were pushed over the structure by prisoners drafted in for the purpose!). The tramway was 2' 6" gauge but this was not compatible with the main railway of 3' 6". Two 4 wheel coaches were normally towed. When a new road bridge was built there was no real need for the tramway so passenger service ceased in 1914 but night-soil activities lasted until 1933.

The model is not powered but pushed by a night-soil wagon. As there are no details of such a wagon I have assumed modellers' licence and based it on a road vehicle used for the same purpose! Just added a water tank which hides the motor.

September 2020

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