Radio Bridge Overseas was my approach to build virtual bridges between cultures in North and South; the vehicle for it was multimedia training & multimedia production — as long as developments in Zimbabwe did allow it … My intention now is to invite people of different cultures to seek real bridges for themselves — and, this time, the vehicle will be driven by iron horses on African railways.

I present the idea for a new mode of travelling by train to be realised, step by step, through collaboration of interested parties in North and South.

ATTENTION: The following blue-print is copyright-protected!

© KJS - 2006

4 reasons to do it:

1. Organised travelling on interesting railway-lines within Africa (nostalgic trains like those from ROVOS or "The Blue Train") is targeting a high-priced category of tourism.

2. No matter whether on regular lines or during special events organised by private railway-entrepreneurs, the program will be restricted by the train´s established schedule.

3. Excursions away from a train parked at a railway-siding and explorations beyond the restriction of railway-lines will incure additional cost due to extra transportation and accommodation.

4. Programs on nostalgic train-journeys do concentrate quite often on colonial tales and do not embrace the cultures of people along the railway-line.


It is intended to approach railway-companies within the region which would be prepared to offer international travel-organisations a new type of compact rolling units, each comprising of at least three special coaches. Such units would be hauled in mixed trains throughout the rail-network of Southern Africa according to individual schedules with different duration and stopovers. Like goods trucks, such units would be forwarded from one railway-organisation to another, to be parked at and picked up from different stations or railway-sidings along a route which would be determined by the schedule of a contractual partner, e.g. a travel-agency. This will allow individual designs for groups of tourists to travel within a railway-network that connects South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mocambique, Malawi, Zambia, Congo and Tanzania.

Coaches of a unit will be designed to accommodate comfortably at least 8 passengers and to cater for them, in addition to personnel to be hired by the customer (2) and by the owner of such a unit (railway-company) as accompanying staff: unit-management (1), technical support (1), unit-kitchen (2), unit-service (2).

Coach-design to be planned by experts, details should consider:

— own power-generator for emergencies

— own tanks for drinking- & wash-water

— 1 office compartment with satellite-based communication system

— 1 kitchen (gas-operated) & cool-room for storage

— 3 comfortable wet cells (WC & shower)

— 10 comfortable sleeping berths, each with own window

— 2 compartments, each with 4 bunks

— 1 dining-room, to be used as a lounge & a lecture room as well

— 1 platform for viewing through panorama-windows

— as a highlight: 1x4WD-minibus for 12 passengers to be mounted on and disembarked from the train through onboard-mechanic. Such transport would allow excursions away from railway-lines, at the same time securing supply with fresh provisions and independent movement of travellers in emergencies.


To realise this mode of railway travelling, a non-profit-alternative may work for railway-enthusiasts. It would provide members of Northern railway-clubs with a "work-camp"-experience in Africa. A sponsor had to be found who would help to acquire 3 dilapidated coaches from a regional railway-organisation. At the same time, the interest of a couple of Northern railway-clubs had to be mobilised who would be prepared to send some of their retired experts for an adventure-holiday. At the end, a compact unit as described above would be available to be hauled by mixed trains along scheduled routes. The sponsor would also assist to organise operation by connecting such activity with its corporate image. Tourist businesses in Overseas would be able to rent such mobile units for own travel-programs. Railway-clubs which participated in work-camps would be entitled to occupy, at no cost, some of the seats, thereby following a concept of "time-sharing" ...

And now?


Who will participate?

contact: Klaus Juergen Schmidt
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