Thursday, 30 April 2009

Shosholoza Meyl - new colour scheme?

Above is one of the rebuilt mainline sitter coaches that have been upgraded with an air-conditioner, better seats and toilets. The air-con equipment can be seen at each end of the coach, next to the bogies. Note the air vents have been removed in the upgrade, only remain above the toilets. This coach carries the original Shosholoza Meyl livery of Purple - Turquoise - Yellow. Good to see progress on the air-con front as this is long overdue in South Africa on mainline trains.

Reports coming out of South Africa is of a revised colour scheme of Purple - Turquoise - Purple with small amount of yellow in the mix. Trying to get a picture of the new livery.

Class 19E - 19003 now on test

Chris Janisch photographed class 19E latest UCW locomotive 19003. Seen in the yards at Pyramid South. Note the white walled wheels.

To see the UCW works picture of the locomotive, then click here.

The original picture can be found at Friends of the Rail.

Class 39-200 series on test

Class 39-201 which is the first of the newbuilds from Transnet Rail Engineering / EMD. Chris Janisch photographed the locomotive at Pyramid South. Lets hope that the locomotives prove successful.

Note the new class 19 001 in the back ground. Either the shade of paint is different or the loco has faded already.

Search the blog for launch pictures of the 39-200 series taken at Koedoespoort.

The original article and pictures can be found at Friends of the Rail.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Free State news

Hi all.

Yesterday we caught orange 34 031 at Welkom station, waiting for the right of way to Kroonstad. The load consisted of mielie trucks and a couple of petrol tankers, most probably the pick-up. She stood quite a while before proceeding.

Today we got orange 34 058 & Spoornet maroon 34 067 heading through Welkom en-route to Friedesheim. Later at Friedesheim we caught them busy shunting the Mondi timber sidings. After the shunting was completed she headed off towards the mine exchange yard at the old showgrounds for some traffic to clear.

We then headed off towards Hennenman. Here we found both North and Southbound signals green but no trains. We expected the car train but we had to leave before she came through.

We decided to head back to Welkom along the service roads. Between Mooiveld and Kaalvlei, where the mine rails head over the Spoornet lines to old Saaiplaas 5# we got 34 058 & 34 067 again, now heading to Kroonstad at quite a pace. The load now included some lime tankers as well.

The only other trains we saw was the RRL ore haulage.

John & Jacque.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Free State news

Hi all.

We had a quick trip to Bloemhof this morning.

As we were approaching the road over rail bridge to visit the station, the Dune Express went underneath us, heading North behind one SAR maroon 6E. After our station visit we left and at the same bridge the Northbound Trans Karoo Tourist went under us. Again just missing her. This was also behind a single SAR maroon 6E. We also found Plasserail welding the tracks just South of the station.

We then headed back to Wesselsbron. There were plenty of mielie trucks in the station and at the silos but no movement. From there we headed past Tierfontein, Willemsrus and Protespan, all the silos had plenty of mielie trucks standing in the area.

On arrival at Bultfontein we found blue 34 037 & 34 409 just about to leave for Kroonstad with a load of mielies.

Recently we spoke to the guys at the Kroonstad diesel depot. They informed us that there are plenty of trains with the mielie traffic. Even a special extra goods train is run almost everyday to clear the maize traffic.

The two diesels that were involved in the head-on collision at Schuttesdraai a while back are standing at the diesel depot scrapped / staged. Said to be R 35 million worth of damage. Amazingly the driver has still not had her disciplinary hearing yet ??

Chilly greetings.
John & Jacque.

Picture taken at Bultfontein

A day at the beach!

Les Kenward had a day out at the beach, while walking around Glencairn in the Cape with some friends. He decided to snap some action, some 5M2A metro sets and Bombardier 10M3's obliged.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Century City - Cape Town

Les Kenward visited Century last month and photographed the narrow gauge track around the complex. Anybody know what plans Century City has? Looked on their webpage and also did some research but found no information. Any information would be appreciated. Leave it in the comment section below.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Spoornet Class 9E

One of the refurbished class 9E's. No E9006 was photographed in Saldanha by Christo Kleingeld. These locomotives from UCW / GEC are true workhorses.

50kV AC; 1067mm Gauge; Co-Co; Wheel diameter 1220mm; Speed 90km/h max.; Total mass 166.3t (27.7t/axle); 570kN TE (starting), 388kN TE (Continuous); 4140kW (One hr power rating), 3840kW (Continuous); Gear Ratio 18/83; Dual cab; Special Freight Business - Iron ore - OREX.
CUSTOMER : Iscor/Spoornet (South Africa)

Free State and North West news

Hi all.

Not to many sightings this week.

On Tuesday we visited Bloemhof. First train we saw was a long, Northbound load of lime tankers and B-bogies, behind 3x 6E's (E 1663 and orange sister & 1x SAR maroon). Then we just missed a Southbound load, Lime tankers as well. This was behind 2x orange 10 E's. Next was a very long load of CR hoppers heading North. This was behind blue 10 036, Spoornet red E 10 xxx, SAR red 10 xxx and blue 10 045. Our last sighting for the day was a Northbound load of DZ's and container wagons. This was behind orange E 1452 and E 1416.

Wednesday we caught Spoornet maroon 34 067 and orange sister 34 028 on a heavy load of mielies, heading for Kroonstad, going flat out up the hill into Wesselsbron. Plenty of hooting for the two level crossings. If one looks at the "dips" in the track, then it is amazing that such a heavy load and locomotives can travel at such a speed - there's "Cape Gauge" for you ! She rumbled past in a cloud of dust...

The rest of the week was mainly RRL (Spoornet hire & own 35's) and Sheltam ore haulage, as well as other mine surface rail operations.

We have heard a rumour that an Iron ore smelter or something to the like is to be erected in the De Aar vicinity ?? Also a connecting line is said to be built from the ore line to the SWA - De Aar line ?? Can anybody shed some more light on this ?

Finally, what would the going price be for a 6E (brass) locomotive number plate, somebody has been offered one and he needs to make an offer.

John & Jacque

Braamfontein EMU service shed

Some pictures taken at Braamfontein. Pictures show a mixture of 10M4 from the original UCW batch and some 5M2A stock.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

PRASA branding in Metro

PRASA CEO Lucky Montana has stated, that some Motor Coaches will be painted in the PRASA blue and white branding and will be used to show PRASA is running Metro. So it could well become a common sight with the blue MC up front pulling a yellow and grey Metro set. Look at the blog article and photo showing this setup. CLICK HERE

Monday, 13 April 2009


Picture taken at Komspruit.
Have added some pictures to the previous Free State news reports. John & Jacque sent pictures from their previous adventures. Hope you enjoy them.

Welkom and Whites West

Picture taken at Welkom and Whites West.
John & Jacque

Erfdeel and Mooiveld

Picture taken at Erfdeel and Mooiveld.

John & Jacque

Autumn day at Leeustroom

Hi all,

We picked up a friend at 08h00, he mentioned that at 05h05
the grain train towards Allanridge & onwards, rumbled past
his house, he stays next to the railway line. He also mentioned
no ore traffic was heard.

A few kilometres out of Hennenman at 08h20 we met a train with
2 x 6E1's (orange E 1421 leading maroon E 1471) a friendly wave from driver.
She was heading South on a load of mielies, liquid gas tankers and
3 grey painted old parcels vans, stencilled - "Moenie Boggel Nie/Do No Hump" -
"Rangeer Versigtig/Shunt With Care. We have seen these vans
on the car train on occasions, carrying motor spares.

Between Verbetering and Heuningspruit we got Southbound E 1386
and E 1277 (both orange) on a load of empty timber trucks, cement
tankers and some mielies.

We arrived at Leeustroom at around 10h00. At 12h30 E1386 & E1277
passed back Northwards at a slow speed, on string of beer and mielie trucks.

Both up & down signals showing green aspects again. Low platform
overgrown, found a nice spot for our braai. On the other side a high
platform with uplifted tracks and catenary.We found old steel rails used for
support of concrete platform coping, dated between 1896/97 N.G.R.
Whilst waiting for the coals to burn took a stroll to an old unused wind
pump & circular concrete dam. Found interesting ratchet type fence
anchors north & south of station yard. Used to tighten fence barbed wires,
"Glascow", must be old. Little red wasps have moved into the catenary
mast and we tried not to disturb them at all.

Special "Algoa" tourist E1262 (orange) passed at speed, 14h00,
lovely smell from Dining Saloon.

Both Kroonstad & Leeuhof stating no further trains till the "Amatola"
Economy around 18h00.

Saw more early 1900's rail fence poles around station area. The Relay
room recently painted, walls & facia boards plus aluminium roof.

Small diesels seen at Koppies, Rooiwal & Heuningspruit silos.

We arrived at the road over rail bridge near Bosrand at 15h30, were told
the car train was on it's way, from Whites, but missed it. Arrived at
Kroonstad 15h25 leaving at 15h45 North bound.

Many 1890 round crown rail used for fences on approaches to bridge &
1926 on farm fences.

At 15h35 the "Algoa" (E 1282 orange) passed underneath the bridge, friendly wave
from the crew. Signals were soon green again and at 15h45 a long
goods with grain trucks passed under us, this was behind maroon E 1461
and an orange sister.

We travelled along the road to Hennenman but saw no more trains,
the "Amatola" only expected at 18h00.

Hot & Tired greetings,

John, Jacque & Bakkies.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Class 39-200 launch in Pretoria

What better way than to welcome the Easter weekend with a picture of class 39-201, 39-202 and 39-203 at the official launch. Picture is taken at Koedoespoort in Pretoria. Joint hand from Transnet Engineering and EMD. The date was March 26.

Picture was obtained from

Have a great Easter!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Free Sate news

Hi all.

We left Welkom this morning and left for Hennenman. Being Thursday we wanted to catch the Economy Orange to Cape Town. Hennenman platform was deserted and all signals red. We saw passengers carrying their luggage from the station, so we though we had just missed her. A speedy trip to Virginia proved us wrong, here were still plenty of passengers on the platform. The people at Hennenman must have been from a late running train to Johannesburg, so we thought. What we did not know then was that these passengers had actually given up on the train ! Read on...

From Virginia we had a leisurely trip to Theunissen. Still no Trans Orange. What we noticed was the endless stream of vehicles on the road and the shiny ribbons of steel lying there almost unused.

From Theunissen we headed towards Brandfort - still no trains. At Brandfort we decided to give operating in Kroonstad a call. They told us that the "snel" had not even left Bethlehem yet ! So a quick call to the guys in Bethlehem. They told us that between Harrismith and Bethlehem overhead catenary was stolen last night. The Orange was stuck somewhere between Harrismith and Bethlehem They told us that a goods train that was also stranded only just pulled into Bethlehem and that the diesels were heading back to fetch the Orange. She was going to be between 8 - 10 hours late !!!! So no Orange for us today.

From Brandfort we headed to Karee. Just the two main lines remain, all the other track has almost been uplifted. There is a rusted foot bridge over the empty station area where plenty of rails once were. The signal cabin is still locked and the panel remains together with a chair and bunk, phones ect. There is a brand new TFR 2009 calendar in the cabin against the wall. The re-lay rooms' fans were going full blast and were also locked. This station seems to be used for some thing or the other. The rest of the station has been destroyed with the safe being ripped from the bricks, broken windows and missing floors and the like. All the signals were still red. Rows of sifted ballast lie all over the station and yard area. The goods shed still stands.

Next stop was at the Modder river double girder bridge just before Glen. The river is green and should be called the slimy river.

Glen station has been destroyed, but not as bad as some stations. The footbridge is rusted quite badly. There still are wooden counters and shelves in the old ticket office and even a old bench in the waiting room. Nature is starting to reclaim the area for herself. The line next to the cabin has had all the wooden sleepers stolen / removed and the rails lie buckled all over the ballast, the same has happened to some other loops. Glen has or had 4 high platforms. The ballast sifting machine has been here too and heaps of sifted ballast lie all over the platforms. Plenty of empty loops are lying covered under weeds. Even noticed the old dams for the water treatment for the steam locomotives. the goods shed still stands. The signals have white crosses on them. The old railway houses are still inhabited. Still no trains on the Free Sate main line. Just down the line the N1 crosses the rails and the amount of road traffic was unbelievable.

We left the sad and lonely station and headed to Bultfontein Here we found orange 34 028 and maroon 34 067. They had just finished the shunting at the silos, the marker was attached to the back of the train and she was ready to leave for Kroonstad. The driver then proceeded with both diesels and turned on the triangle, thus heading back in the same locomotive they came in. Must be some reason for not wanting to drive back in 34 067 ? They headed out of the station at 1300 and we got the same train coming through Mothusi at 1600, flat out on the way to Kroonstad.

Enjoy your Easter weekend.

John & Jacque.

TFR Class 19E test train / Information
All pics, September 2008, at Petronella, by Chris Janisch:

Some text from Chris
The test train is pictured headed by a maroon 34-825 and 2 x 35s. The crossing is with an orange 35 class diesel on the way back from shunting the mills at Hammanskraal.
The 19E is still on test from Pyramid South, and will be for a while to come. At the moment she is testing between Hammanskraal and Pienaarsrivier. The consist is 3 diesel locos, 2 test cars and the electric. At the moment she is being tested against the braking power of the diesels. I managed to hop on board the loco today while halted at Petronella station, and was welcomed into the cab by the testing engineer. It is very comfortable and hi-tech inside. The loco produces 392kn of tractive effort, similar to a 7E.
Some further information on the Transnet Class 19E

Single Cab; Dual Mode - 3kV DC (2.4kV to 3.9kV) or 25kV (17kV to 26kV), 50Hz AC; 1067mm Gauge; Bo-Bo; Carbon Steel Underframe; Corrosion resistant 3CR12 body; Wheel diameter 1250mm; Max operating speed 120km/h, Maximum design speed 132km/h; Total mass 104t (26t/axle); Mass of fully equipped pair of bogies 25.57t; 392kN TE (starting), 300kN TE (Continuous); Specifically designed to operate on 1065mm gauge Coal Line route between Ermelo and Richards Bay; Overall length 18.3m.
CUSTOMER : Transnet Freight Rail (South Africa)

Free State news

Hi all.

Yesterday we got orange E 1620 & her sister E xxxx heading South through Bloemhof with a load of beer trucks and empty container wagons, a short while after this we just missed a long ore train heading North. Security people have finally arrived at the new Shosholoza Meyl section of the station. We left with the "Spoorbaan" busy in the yard area also found the guys repairing the mielie truck with the wheel missing. There are still a couple of "igloos" for the track gangs standing in the railway area.

Today we caught Spoornet maroon 34 067 and orange 34 028 heading through Willemsrus en-route to Kroonstad with a load of mielies. Quite a dust storm was kicked up by the train over the level crossing.

Then we headed to Bloemhof and Makwassie and Leeudoringstad. Since our last visit not much more has / can be destroyed at Makwassie station. Signals red both ways. Then near Daalder we noticed a slow moving train. We headed to Leeudoringstad and a while later blue E 10 038 & orange sister headed through at a high speed with a block load of mielies heading North. The station and surrounding area vibrated violently as she passed. We noticed the track and sleepers bouncing up and down under the train. When the train has passed we saw that some of the Pandrol clips had vibrated out of the sleepers.

A thunderstorm was heading our way so we left via Bothaville back to Welkom. No further trains were noticed.

It is still our intention to visit Leeustroom this coming Friday for a braai if everything goes according to plan. If the the weather turns bad you'll find us a couple of kilometres up the line at Greenlands station.

John & Jacque.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Transnet Class 19E - 19001 launch pictures UCW

Some works pictures taken at UCW of Nigel in 2008. Locomotives 19001, 19002 and a test recording coach headed to Pyramid South for testing.

Transnet Class 19E

This came from Transnet, its an internal document. 19003 joins the other 2 locos on test out of Pyramid South. Look forward to the day they enter service on coal trains. This is a works photo taken at Union Carriage & Wagon in Nigel.
What is happening now?

The third locomotive has been released from the manufacturer’s site in Nigel to join the other two locomotives that have been undergoing commissioning tests. The project is anticipating and confident of positive testing outcomes.

What has happened thus far?

  • Theoretical training of assessors and trainers has been completed
  • Change Champions identified for Richards bay and Ermelo
  • Richards Bay Maintenance Facility has been assessed for operational readiness

How will this Project benefit the organisation?

  • Ensure that there is sufficient tractive effort to meet the customer expected contractual requirements;
  • Increase the reliability and hence the availability of the locomotive fleet;
  • Freeing up of class 7E3 and 10E1 locomotive fleet from the coalline to be used to address the GFB growth requirement.

What is next in the Project?

The 19E project progress is evident, and is now at a stage where all people, systems and infrastructure must be ready for operating, maintaining and supporting these locomotives.

  • Locos will continue to be tested between the Pyramid South operational environment.
  • Delivery of locomotives E19004, E19005, E19006
  • All acceptance tests will take place on the Coal Line
  • Deployment of the 1st batch of locomotives

19E Locomotive Project

Project Team

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

PRASA MC on a metro set

This is great picture captured at Park Station. The PRASA motor coach looks fantastic up front. What is not clear if this MC is from the original two motor coaches from the launch or have more MC been branded. This picture was captured with a cell phone but its still a great picture!

Transnet Class 39-200 pictures

These are the first pictures I have of the new Transnet class 39-200 diesel locomotives from EMD / Transnet. Thanks to Martin Drescher. Hopefully this will be the start of more to come. They will head for testing soon and hopefully this will make people a bit more enthusiastic to photograph them.