Friday, 31 July 2009

Metrorail development at Rhodesfield

Some pictures taken by a mate of mine.

Metrorail development (new station) at Rhodesfield. The pictures clearly show Rhodesfield as an elevated station for the new Gautrain. Workers busy constructing the new Metrorail Station which we create an interchange with Gautrain. Will be interesting to see it when finished.

If anybody knows more, please let me know.

PEP stores hit Metrorail

Many years ago Metrorail embarked on a campaign of selling advertising on the side of their coaches. With the first few coaches painted with VIVO Lager. Many followed like XXX mints, Clover Tropica and many others. This practise seemed to have stopped for what ever reason. Sad really as it offers a great way to earn extra income. Never mind the variations in livery.

A mate of mine caught the Business Express recently to Pretoria. While waiting at Park Station early morning for the BE, he spotted this Metro train with the MC in the new PRASA livery and some coaches sporting this PEP stores livery. Very interesting indeed and hopefully management will look to revive this practise.

Plasserail busy on the Simons Town line

Plasserail busy on the Simons Town line. It appears as if the round disks lift the track then the long metal arms (tampers) dig down into the ballast and shake it up a bit to reseat the track. The crew behind are checking the gauge as well as the distance between the two tracks. The Simons Town bound train is waiting in Muizenberg station for the Cape Town bound train to clear the line. All trains using the single track due to the maintenance on the line.

Allan Roy

Plasserail Infrastructure Measuring Vehicle IM2000

André Kritzinger has been busy photographing around Bellville depot. He spotted the Plasserail IM2000 recording vehicle in the yards. The same track recording vehicle was spotted by John & Jacque at Bloemhof a few weeks back. Click here to see the picture from J&J

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Free State News

Hi all.

On Friday we headed to Bloemhof, just quickly. On arrival at the station we noticed the South bound signal was green. A short while later Plasserail's yellow and blue "Infrastructure Measuring Vehicle" headed through with a friendly hoot from the crew.

The rest of the weekend was the normal RRL ore haulage in the Welkom area.

Today we headed to Wesselsbron, here we found some mielie trucks in the station yard, and one Anhydrous-Ammonia tanker. From here we headed towards Bultfontein. Near Besempan we found an unfamiliar face in a TFR bakkie ?

We paid a visit to the silos / stations in the area, and found FZ's at them all but no movement.

At Bultfontein we found blue 34 093 and blue 34 037 arriving with a long load of mielie trucks. They proceeded to shunt at the silos, we greeted the driver, left them there and headed to Brandfort. The grass has been cut at Bultfontein and even the platform looks neat for a change. The disused carport still stands and we found the rails supporting the structure to be of 1886 / 1897 & 1889 vintage.

At Brandfort we found the all signals red. The Ballast tamping Machine was standing at the old goods shed, together with a SAR 3rd class crew coach. The only movement was a Spoorbaan truck heading out of the yard. There is still a small station garden on the platform here.

Then on to Theunissen, here to we found all the signals red again. While we were departing a glance back revealed an approaching train. We decided to head for Theron and catch her there. At Theron orange E 1547, hauling dead maroon 34 067 headed through on a long load of containers and petrol tankers. 34 067 was coming back from Bloemfontein after repairs that Kroonstad couldn't handle. We left Theron for Virginia. Back on the road we noticed the empty car train heading South. So back to Theunissen we headed.

At Theunissen orange E 1395 and orange E 1461 headed through at quite a speed, again a friendly hoot from the driver.

Then we headed to Virginia, all aspects red, only the Spoorbaan attending to points at the Glen Harmony branch.

On to Hennenman, no trains.

Back in Welkom we caught blue hire 35 on the RRL ore heading to the gold plant.

John & Jacque.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Free State

Hi all.

We were in the vicinity of Vetriver today and decided to do some exploring to find the old bridge across the river.

After paying the new bridge a visit and trying to locate the old one, we tried in vain to gain access from the Theunissen side of the river. So we headed to the new Vetriver station, from here one can still see the old alignment well. On approaching the station 2x orange 6E's headed to Bloem, light locos.

We followed the gravel road, just before we crossed the line we noticed the old cutting heading towards the river. An old map we have shows "abandoned rail route", so we had an idea of where to look. On we went until we noticed a faded sign reading "Waterwerke", here we turned left onto a dirt track down to the river. All along the way we could still make out the old line's route. We crossed over the old line, with some ballast still showing here and there.

We reached the waterworks, here the vegetation started getting very wild and we could no longer make out the old alignment. Some locals pointed us in the direction of "Die ou brug". We followed an almost non - existent road until we had to carry on further on foot. Through some very thick undergrowth, losing some skin on the way, we finally were met by the huge Sand stone abutments of the old bridge over the Vetriver. What an incredible feat it must have been to have constructed this bridge.

The original bridge is long gone and now a lightly constructed catwalk takes only a waterpipe across the river. Down in the river we noticed even older concrete structures, probably from even earlier. All around the area old railway lines and sleepers are all that remain of the once fence. We stood there for a moment in the silence of the veld and imagined what it would have been like over a century ago... The only sound other than our steps over the "bridge" was the sound of birds.

A huge Eucalyptus tree is growing through one of the abutments and is actually starting to crack the old sand stone and mortar.

We headed back to do some more exploring where the old Vetriver station used to stand. The railway reserve is still clearly defined with ancient sleepers and what remains of the fence. We found a dilapidated sand stone building amongst the trees, maybe an old gangers cottage ?

On still further we went and noticed that the reserve suddenly became much wider, soon we were struggling through thousands of Khakibosse to find the old station. There through all the vegetation we noticed a platform, on closer inspection we could make out where the rails once were.

The last remains we found were old sand stone columns from the water column and plenty of clinker and ash in the area, again we imagined way back when a steam loco would stand at this same spot. An old piece of railway line had a date "1891". We also found a date where the sand stone had been repaired with concrete, 4 - 2 - "54.

Back to Theunissen we followed the old alignment for as far as we could, basically right up to the old coal stage and triangle.

Yesterday we caught maroon 34 067 leading her orange sister near Holfontein, on a load of mielies for Kroonstad.

Historical greetings.
John & Jacque.

Plasserail in Muizenberg

Spotted this Plasserail approaching Muizenberg from St James at lunch time on Tuesday 30 June and pulled onto the siding. It spent all day Wednusday on the siding receiving alot of TLC from the maintaince crews.

Allan Roy

Friday, 3 July 2009

Free State sightings

Hi all.

This morning we passed over the road over rail bridge at Hennenman just as a very late running passenger train headed through North. (Amatola or Algoa sitter). This was behind orange 6E, with a heavily smoking blue steam car.

Later on at Geneva we caught maroon 34 453 on a short load of mielies heading to Kroonstad, backside first.

Back to Welkom via Virginia, we got the spoorbaan working near Whites.

At Welkom station we got RRL's two own locos and one blue hire 35. Later near Friedesheim we caught blue 35 262 heading for Odendaalsrus. In the consist was a brand new white ore hopper.

Sighting greetings.
John & Jacque.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


We have seen the first sketches of the stamps that
are being designed & will be issued for the 150 year
rail anniversary next year.


Yesterday we caught Spoornet maroon 34 453 leading
orange 34 028 arriving with a load of mielies at Bultfontein.

Friedesheim was visited today and we were amazed to
see that almost the entire shunting yard has been uplifted
sleepers, point and all. Where Transnet has stopped the
thieves have carried on. Found a 1925 coach screw in the ballast.
Caught one of RRL's blue 35's heading to Odendaalsrus here.

Philatelic greetings,
John & Jacque.