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.