The railway system Decauville takes its name from the french engineer P.Decauville (1846-1922) , the inventor. It is a "railway " sytem suited for mines, yards, etc, with the track ( the gauge is in the range of 50-60 cm) laid directly on the ground. It is suited for hand pulled carts, or very small locomotives. It can be easily disassembled and transported like a model train. It is very common in yards, mines and tunnel works,
Mauro Bottagal had the above picture from Bengasi in colonial Libya. I suspect that the Decauville in Eritrea that served the potash mines looked very much like it.
Copyright 1975, GRAF
Le Ferrrovie Coloniali Italiane had this picture captioned (in Italian) "A locomotive of the type 'Montua' used by the Mersa Fatma-Colulli."
The above exerpt from a map in Guida dell'Africa Orientale Italiana. It shows the laine between Mersa Fatma and Colulli.
[South of Massawa] along the coast at Mersa Fatma., a 65 km 'Decauville' (600 mm) line was constructed inland to Kolulli. Five 0-4-0T locomotives built by Decauville operated on this line, which also had two small 0 & K and Henschel tank engines and three American Porter 0-4-0Ts, built from 1900 to 1919. When this line was closed in 1929, most of the locomotives seem to have been scrapped, although the Porters escaped the torch by being transfcrred to Italian Somaliland in 1924 where, re-gauged to 950 mm, they continued their careers.
Steam in Africa
The road from Adaito to Badda runs for part of the way alongside of the remains of the Italian railway which ran to the potash mines to the southwest.