They survived a civil war, scrap merchants and the world’s deadliest ebola outbreak. For years they shared their sheds with refugees.

Now, as Sierra Leone waits to be declared ebola free, the government hopes its fleet of colonial-era steam engines can help to kick start the country’s crippled tourism industry.

Rediscovered by a British colonel — and diehard railway enthusiast — who was posted to Freetown as part of a peacekeeping force in 2002, the engines had been all but forgotten in the city’s docks, according to the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum.

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