Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Geduld Station...............for how much longer?

Two years ago I visited Geduld station to photograph the semaphore signals that were rumoured to still be operational. Geduld is situated between Welgedacht and Apex, east of Johannesburg. On that occassion I not only found the signals still in working order, but a fully fledged free standing signal cabin - as opposed to the more common cabin housed in the main station building on the platform.

My recent visit was on 23rd May 2009 and this time around it was clear that the rot had set in. All the overhead catenary was gone, but the masts were still standing. The semaphore signals were still in place, but no longer operational........the cables have been stolen........and the signal cabin has no electricity. However, the points are still operated from the cabin and radio orders have replaced the signals. The double track line from Welgedacht is now operated as a single track branch line. Due to the theft of rails about a year ago, a derailment occurred and now only one line is open to traffic. Eight or nine wagons damaged in the derailment are still standing in the yard, where they will probably remain until they are cut up.

Even worse, the double track line that continued from Geduld westwards towards Apex has completely dissappeared...............all that remains are the concrete sleepers and ballast. Everything else is gone, signals, overhead catenary, masts and track. It's really sad to see this destruction of infrastructure.

Geduld is home to SAPPI and Impala Platinum Refineries, so there is a daily shunt job from Springs, via Welgedacht, that brings goods traffic in and returns with empties. This is operated by two class 35 diesels, usually in the mornings, somewhere between 08:30 and 10:30. Considering that semaphore signals are becoming quite rare, it's worthwhile getting out and photographing this before it's all gone.........it's not going to last forever! The winter months are best for photography here, due to the east - west alignment of the track.
Eugene Armer

Bloemhof today

Hi all.

We had a trip to Bloemhof today. No trains on the way there or back along the route.

On arrival at Bloemhof station we noticed the South bound signal was green. A while later SAR maroon E 1603, sped past, leading orange E 145??? (too dirty) with a friendly hoot from the crew, on a load of empty DZ's. Behind the orange 6E was immaculate blue E 7?04, probably heading back to the Northern cape after an overhaul on the Rand ?

We then headed to Schweizer-Reneke. We last visited this area in 2005. 19D no.2682 stands in the town. Last time she still looked good, all the brass / copper fittings were still there, the cab fittings were intact and both numberplates were on the cabsides. Today she is a rusting hulk of steel, almost everything has been stripped, including the numberplates. Now we think the numberplates has been "removed" by someone other than a scrap metal collector ????

The station is still being used as a day-care centre for toddlers, so it still stands, it is completely fenced in as to keep the kids of the lines.. The platform is overgrown. The corrugated goods shed still stands intact, fenced off with an electric fence, used by someone we think. Plenty of mielie trucks were standing in the station area.

Back at Bloemhof station we noticed that the Northbound signals were green this time. A longish wait later, orange E 1305, leading SAR maroon E ???? still with numberplates, headed trough on a load of hoppers covered with orange tarpaulins "Lime Acres" and lime tankers.

Sighting greetings.
John & Jacque.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

More Free State sightings.

Hi all.

Yesterday we visited the old steam locomotives standing between Welkom and Odendaalsrus, next to the line RRL uses. The veld was burning and from far off they looked as if they were is steam... Unfortunately the locos are getting more vandalized daily. The same with the 16CR's at St Helena mine.

We found Spoornet maroon 34 067 heading light loco to the mine exchange yards near the showgrounds. Here she picked up a couple of lime tankers. Later we saw her heading through Welkom en-route to Kroonstad.

We decided to catch up with her again at Whites. On arrival at Whites we noticed that the signals had all ready been set up. A short while later she headed through on a long load of mine prop trucks and the lime tankers.

Then we headed towards Virginia. Here we found blue 34 093 on a short load of mielies heading to Kroonstad.

The old clerestory coach that was used as the Rotary club house in Virginia has now been moved. Does anybody know to where ?

We recently reported on the last train to Grahamstown. Hennie Ferreira spoke to us and informed us that a load of containers has been sent to Grahamstown for the arts festival. He has had hundreds of phone calls for his train trip to Grahamstown he wants to run. He also told us that when they closed the Parys line and other lines in the Free State he had to accompany the weed killer train as the last train through the section.

John & Jacque.

A visit to the Premier Classe Braamfontein yards

A quick trip to Braamfontein to look at the Premier Classe and a few innovations they are trying. A source at Braamfontein told me that some experiments with wireless internet had been done. Similar to the service offered on the Tshwane Business Express from Metrorail. Very positive if this technology happens on Premiere Classe.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Trans Orange near Brandfort.

Hi all.

We left Welkom this morning and went past Hennenman. Here we noticed passengers still on the platform, so we knew that the Economy Orange still had not gone past. We gave operating a call and they stated that she was running about a hour late. So we left for Theunissen via Ventersburg and Winburg. We reached Theunissen some time later and again noticed passengers on the platform, also the signal was showing a yellow aspect. As we were turning around the Orange sped past behind 2x orange 6E's, leading was E1472. They headed into the station and we headed to the petrol station.

We left Theunissen and because of road works we could not catch up, we saw the train speeding ahead through Vetriver and she stayed ahead of us until Brandfort. Here we sped past the station and stopped at a level crossing some way out of town. Within a couple of minutes she sped past us with a friendly hoot and wave from the crew.

We then headed to Bultfontein via Soutpan. All the stations and silos along the line were void of traffic. We only saw some FZ's when we reached Losdorings, from here to Bothaville all the silos had mielie trucks but no trains.

We headed back to Welkom and saw blue RRL hire 35 class heading to Welkom from Odendaalsrus.

John & Jacque.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Northern Express on the Simons Town line.

At lunch time today (24 June ) the Northern express came through Muizenberg station travelling from Simons Town to Cape Town, must have been on a scenic trip as its normal route is Cape Town to the Strand.
Allan Roy


Either the set was on hire or Metro are testing the line for a Southern Express. Would be interesting to know.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Leeuhof yard

Made a quick visit to Leeuhof yard this morning near Vereeniging,The locomotive depot was full of 10E locomotives as well as 6E1 locomotives and two 18E locomotives,one painted in the new Transnet Freight rail couler scheme.The yard seems busy with a lot of traffic especially grain wagons and cement.And also a whole lot of wagons coming to be serviced and maintained at Leeuhof. 3 class 36 locomotives arrived from Sasolburg just as I was leaving and coupled up to a bunch of empty coal wagons and left. Greetings all, Logan Stone

Simons Town Station

This is a great shot. Thanks Allan.


Took this night shot of Simons Town station from quite a distance.

Allan roy

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Cosmos season on the Highveld

Cosmos season on the Highveld

Each year in mid- to late March, large areas of the Highveld are covered in pink and white Cosmos flowers in full bloom, heralding the onset of autumn. These are often found alongside country roads and railway lines. This year, the display of colour was especially good along the railway between Delmas and Ogies in Mpumalanga, which is also one of the busier main lines in South Africa today. For anyone interested in seeing modern traction in action, this line is certainly well worth a visit, with or without the cosmos! Until two years ago, the stations along this section had fully operational semaphore signals, but sadly these are all gone now, replaced by CTC colour lights and the stations closed.

A trio of class 18E's with a westbound freight near Kendal, surrounded by cosmos in full bloom. 28 March 2009.

A colourful trackside display greets four class 18E's approaching Dryden with a westbound coal train. In the distance a pair of orange 6E1's wait in the station. 28 March 2009.

Three class 6E1's near Dryden with westbound coal. A lucky combination of different liveries - E1579 in Spoornet orange, E1404 in Spoornet brown/maroon and E1610 in original SAR red. 28 March 2009.

6E1's E1708 & E1410 crossing a small culvert between Dryden and Argent with an eastbound freight. E1708 is still in the original Spoornet orange livery with blue and white striping along the lower body sides. 28 March 2009.

Eugene Armer

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Nelson Mandela Bridge

A view from the yards in Braamfontein.

Visit to Saldanha Loco Depot

On Monday whilst in Saldanha I visited the Loco Depot, home of the great 9E Locomotive. These beasts are an awesome sight. Lionel the shed manager took me around. The area is very restricted I was not allowed to take photos just anywhere and I was not allowed to walk outside in the roads amongst the loco’s. the shed is huge and they are building a bigger one about 1km down the road for the arrival of the 15E’s later this year. At present Diesels and Electrics are serviced in the same shed. Due to my restrictions my photos are not the best.


Stefan Andrzejewski

Free State News

Hi all.

This morning we left Welkom and noticed the RRL ore haulage in the station behind blue 35 class.

Then it was on to Bultfontein, some mielie trucks and petrol tankers we noticed. On past Protespan, Willemsrus, Tierfontein and Wesselsbron, all the silos had mielie trucks in them and Wesselsbron had 2x white Anhydrous Ammonia tankers waiting for the next pick-up.

As we approached Losdorings we saw a train heading out. We gave chase and at Ancona we got orange 34 031 on a load of mielies. We got her again at Rooiblom where the assistant had to change the points to enter the section to Allanridge. We left her there as she was waiting for authority to proceed from RTO Kroonstad.

Skoonspruit had one FZ, Scuttesdraai had no traffic, except for the damaged FZ's from a while back.

Bothaville had also been cleared of traffic.

On to Leeudoringstad we went. On arriving at the station we noticed all the signals were red. We decided to leave and head back. Just outside the town we got orange E 1620 on a long load of mielies, heading South.

Back to Welkom and we saw plenty of FZ's at Allanridge.

John & Jacque.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Free State News and Trans Karoo at Kingswood.

Hi all.

The reason we've been so quiet is that we don't have anything to report. We still have our trips all over but no trains...

On Friday we got orange 34 028 and Spoornet maroon 34 453 shunting at Losdorings. The instant driver did some complicated shunting moves to get her train back together ! We would have done the same shunt with 2 movements !! After an eternity of shunting they left for Kroonstad with a very long load of mielies. The 2x 34's really straining to get the load moving. From there all the stations we visited had plenty of maize traffic but no movement.

On Saturday we found the Ballast tamping machine standing in Virginia station, again no trains. The old clerestory coach at Virginia has now been jacked up and one of the bogies has been removed ??

Today we ventured to Bloemhof and to Kingswood. At Kingswood we noticed the Northbound signals were green. There still is an intact telephone in it's yellow box on the platform. Soon the Northbound Tourist Trans Karoo headed through at an incredible speed, basically just a blur. This was behind orange E 1450.

We have heard a rumour of a Premier classe to the Kruger National Park?

John & Jacque.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Derailment - Masons Mill KZN

These pictures came to me from Transnet. Details not known other than it seems to be a derailment near Masons Mill - Pietermaritzburg. Will see if I can find more information.

Doornfontein Station launch.

Doonrnfontein Station Fact file

  • Strategically located as an intermodal transport hub, next to the BRT station and a taxi rank
  • Walking distance to the Coca Cola Park complex
  • With 8 metre wide entrance ramps leading to the station concourse level allowing the Special Needs Passengers (SNP) to access the station with ease
  • Lifts and staircases centrally controlled and monitored from the central control room
  • Help points, Information Boards, PA System, CCTV and Signage
  • Turnstiles and Bypass gate for maximum commuter flows
  • Parallel staircase also leading to the station entrance area. Station has three entrances in order to maximize the ease of access
  • An architectural 20m high feature wall creating an ambience piazza from both entry points to the station area.
  • State of the art finishes
  • Natural light and proper ventilation
  • State of the art ICS (Integrated Control System) system which allows for the station to be viewed from the internet
  • Stand By Generator and UPS as a power back up.
  • Secured CIT (Cash In Transit) entrance, monitored and controlled from the control room
  • Compliance with all FIFA requirements
  • Stalls for Traders
  • Commercial opportunity for small entrepreneurs
  • SAPS and Protection Service Facility
  • Parking facilities
  • Drop off zone

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Greenlands station, Westleigh etc.

New contributor, welcome Logan. Hopefully this will be the first of many.

During February went to Kroonstad and made a stop over at Greenlands station,The station cabin still looking in a good condition and locked,The lever frame had been removed and station locked.Spotted the Shosaloza Meyl between Rooiwal and Koppies.A goods train heading up to Gauteng was seen near Serfontein station.And i was lucky enough to see the Bothaville branch train arriving at Westleigh with a load of fz wagons heading to Kroonstad.

Logan Stone.