Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Take The Flying Dutchman

I was at Cape Point 13 years ago when the funicular was under construction but was pretty much complete. I finally got to ride in late 2009. When doing some research on the Flying Dutchman, I came across this very interesting article from:


I assume that they will be getting new cars.

Pictures show the funicular at the base station, the crossing point of the cars. And the Flying Dutchman entering the summit station.

Look forward to catching the new "Dutchman" on my next trip.

Why Walk When You Can Take The Flying Dutchman

Africa's only commercial funicular in Cape Point

NEWSFLASH!! Cape Point funicular closes for upgrade NEWSFLASH!!

The popular Flying Dutchman funicular at Cape Point is to be replaced by a more comfortable, more modern and more efficient funicular during the first quarter of 2010.

The current funicular - the only commercial operation of its kind in Africa - has been ferrying tourists up a steep incline from the bottom station to the old lighthouse for the past 13 years.

Although the funicular service will be suspended for three months, tourists will not be inconvenienced, thanks to a temporary bus service that has been put in place.

The existing funicular will cease operation on January 18, 2010. A new, improved Flying Dutchman will put the "fun" back into "fun-icular" when it reopens for business on April 24, 2010, well ahead of an expected influx of tourists arriving in Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

So what exactly is The Flying Dutchman?
It’s a cable-drawn railway system that provides 370 000 passengers a year with a quick and easy way of reaching the old lighthouse at Cape Point – 238m above the notorious oceans at the most south-western tip of Africa.

Sure, you can walk up to the lighthouse, but it may be a good idea to save your energy for the scenic walk from the upper lighthouse to the lower lighthouse, or even better, the beautiful 1-hour walk to Dias Beach.

The Flying Dutchman is a favourite among families; Mom and Dad can enjoy the spectacular views while their kids enjoy the thrill of being pulled up the mountainside in the funicular on a magic carpet ride to the end of the world! A bonus is that youngsters under 6 years of age ride for free.

So it’s useful and fun, but why is it called The Flying Dutchman? In 1680, a ship named The Flying Dutchman got into trouble at the ‘Cape of Storms’, notorious for fierce storms.

Legend has it that the ship’s captain swore that he would round the Cape if it was the last thing he did, and it was. The Flying Dutchman lost a battle against Mother Nature and was swallowed by the ocean. Ever since then many people have claimed to have experienced ghostly sightings of The Flying Dutchman ship around what is nowadays known as the Cape of Good Hope.

Initially the Flying Dutchman transport system at Cape Point was a diesel bus, which operated until December 1996, and then gave way to the two much more environmentally friendly funicular cars that operate today.

Apart from being Africa’s only commercial funicular, another unique aspect of the Flying Dutchman is that it has two cars on one track (with a short split halfway to allow them to pass each other) and is also curved both vertically and horizontally; certainly an unusual transport experience and perfect for Cape Point.

Famous personalities who have enjoyed rides on the Flying Dutchman include Cliff Richard, Sean Paul, Jacob Zuma, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker and a number of state presidents. The tallest man and shortest man in the world have also enjoyed the Flying Dutchman experience.

A ride up the 585m-long Flying Dutchman track enables you to take in awe-inspiring views of the Cape of Good Hope, Dias Beach, Buffels Bay, Bellows Rock and Cape Maclear, either from the funicular itself on the way up or from any of the lookout points in the vicinity of the lighthouse at the top.

The funicular runs to the top light house at Cape Point every few minutes, and six hundred people per hour can be transported in the Flying Dutchman.

The Flying Dutchman Funicular is open daily from 09h00 to 17h00 from April to September and from 09h00 to 18h00 from October to March.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 10

Back at the depot. A few pictures before we head home.
Thanks for the interesting pictorial ride.

This was the first ride for the general public, previously only Journalists and such people. Next time we ride, we will be paying customers!

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 9

The first picture in this posting shows 1st class. It only has 4 seats in the row.

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 8

We finally get underway, yippee .

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 7 - Interior

And some more interior pictures.

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 6 - Interior

Some pictures from the inside as the Tweetups get ready to travel on the mainline.

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 5


Have had some positive feedback to the pictures from the Tweetup pictures.

Note the interesting vehicle for shunting that can ride on the rails or on normal roads. These types of vehicles have been come very popular due to their flexibility.

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part 4

A nice mix of detail, for those modellers out there.

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part III

While I am a massive fan of Gautrain and do hope this project will be the first of many. As South Africa desperately needs a decent and modern railway system. I am not a fan of the mini loading gauge that they went for. Must be the only BRAND new system in the world that never opted for the Berne loading gauge. What a mistake!

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain - Part II

In this batch of pictures, there is an interesting recording vehicle. Does not look like a Plasser vehicle. Anybody know more?

Here is a funky video from the event filmed on a cell phone.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Tweetup On Rails with Gautrain

These pictures were sent to me from a person who joined the Facebook and tweeters on Gautrain.

The FB page of Gautrain is highly recommended. They keep you up to date with information, pictures and video. And allows you to interact directly.

This is from Gautrains Facebook page:

Around 200 twitterati and Gautrain Facebook fans enjoying a ride on the Gautrain. Reportedly the biggest tweetup to date.