Mohamed Momodu Bangura, the national Railway Hero in Sierra Leone
photo taken at the Sierra Leone's National Museum

Born in Freetown, on the 9th of July 1934, is the hero of the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum  Mohamed Momodu Bangura. He was made a hero of the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum during the launch of the unveiling of the statue built for him by the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, Cline Town in Freetown. The display of the bust at the museum is to celebrate the life of Mohamed M. Bangura, an illustrious engineer and true hero of the National Railway Museum.

He attended the Collegiate secondary school until he was 18 years old, on leaving school, he applied for an apprenticeship at the Railway workshop in Cline Town. Upon passing the examination, he was contracted for five years. At the end of his apprenticeship, he was assigned to the fabrication department, where he learned mechanical engineering, welding, and all the associated trades.  He later received a call from the general manager for an invitation for 2 years training course at the Federal Republic of Germany where he specialized in the welding sector.

In 1957, he completed his trade training, after sixteen years of working at the workshop, he was promoted from being a daily pay worker to a civil servant on a monthly salary.

While Germany, He did diploma in metal fabrication and a certificate in welding technology, it was there, that he learned of the closure of the railway in 1975. Little after that, he left the job and return back to Sierra Leone, while in Sierra Leone, he received another call from the then general manager Richard Norman for him to come back and help with the remaining of the railway to be transformed into a national workshop. When he came, Richard Norman who was the general manager left the job and Mohamed Momodu Bangura was made the general manager at the workshop. He held the position till when the war started that brought all operations down in the country.

In 2004, the museum was founded after restoration led by the hero late Mohamed Momodu Bangura, who was the coordinator, he retired in 2014 and died in 2016 in his 80s. all through his life has been about the railway. This was why he was made a hero for the national museum.

Among his several achievements, while working was to convert Garratts from coal to oil burning, he has served as the national president for the Sierra Leone national railway workers, vice president for the union workers of the railway and was awarded the Order of the Rokel in September 2014 for his distinguished service to the country’s railway by former President Ernest Bai Koroma

After the war,   Colonel Stephen Davies MBE, a British army commander, from the international British training team came to Sierra Leone on a mission, he also served as an adviser to the former president Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba. After the closure of the railway, all the relics were been transferred at cline town, the place was known as the national workshop, the dream of it been museum did not materialize until when colonel Stephen Davies MBE visited the Chinese people who lived around the area doing business, upon seeing him around the area and knowing fully well that most of the railway machines and trains used were from Britain, he was asked if he came to collect the relics, Colonel Stephen Davies MBE was surprised to note that the relics of the trains could be found, he requested to see where the remains of the trains were stored. After seeing some coaches and wagons, he had a meeting with late Former President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba on how to establish a national museum. The Chinese at the time had established a painting factory which was a bit challenging but they managed to get a small space where the museum has been built.

In 2004, President Ahmed Tejan Kabba visited the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum before it was officially launched. During the launched, present were former President Ahmed Tejan Kabba and Andrew J Scott director at the National Railway Museum, York, in the UK.

With the support of Colonel Steven Davies said with the robust the energy of the late Hero, they were able to collect the remains of what was known as the Sierra Leone railway ranging from a passenger coach, steam and diesel engines, the Governor’s coach, and the Queen’s coach.

The Sierra Leone National Railway Museum was opened in 2005 in the old railway workshops in the Cline Town area of Freetown. The museum has a fine collection of historical 2’6” gauge railway locomotives, coaches, wagons, and related equipment from the former Sierra Leone Railway that once connected Freetown to Pendembu via the second principal city of Bo, and to the major town of Makeni.

Established in 1895, Sierra Leone Railway started its first passenger train service to the provinces in 1898. The railway was closed in 1975 and the locomotives and carriages that now form the major part of the museum’s collection languished in the Cline Town workshops for 30 years, suffering from numerous acts of vandalism during the civil war. In 2016, Sierra Leone lost Mohamed Momodu Bangura, in recognition and celebration of his work, the Sierra Leone national the museum built and unveil a statue of him as the hero of Sierra Leone national the museum, to celebrate the life of Mohamed M. Bangura, an illustrious engineer and true hero of the National Railway Museum.

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SOURCEAdditional information by Helen Ashby, chair, friends of Sierra Leone National Railway Museum
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Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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