A.E. „Dusty“ Durrant
In 1949, whilst still a premium apprentice at Swindon Locomotive
Works, Dusty Durrant began what he would later describe as his
"World Bash" - 50 years of railway-related employment and travel
through more than 50 countries.
Soon after the publication of his first book, "The Steam Locomotives of Eastern Europe", he visited South Africa in 1967 and took up employment as an engineering draughtsman at the Union Carriage & Wagon Company at Nigel (Transvaal) east of Johannesburg.
This company had been set up by the Commonwealth Engineering
Group (of Australia) as the spearhead of a joint venture for local
assembly of the new rolling stock required for the South African
Railway's major modernization programme.
Durrant was thus in a position to indulge his passion for steam in a country soon to be widely recognized as a prime tourist destination for overseas steam railway enthusiasts.
During the years 1970-1972 he undertook a sabbatical tour in which he was able to document the final years of steam in Australia. His photographic output was legendary, and soon became more widely known with the publication of books like "Steam on the Veld", "Australian Steam" and "Twilight of South African Steam".
We are privileged to offer some of his remarkable photographs, from both the Australian and the South African tours.