Tuesday, 30 November 2010

PRASA new training centre

A new driver training centre. The Train simulator is based in Braamfontein between Park Station and Braamfontein Station near the Mandela Bridge.

It will have two simulators but only one is ready for mid December training.

Good to see positive moves from PRASA

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Shongololo Express (Southern Cross) - Part II

The Shongololo Express (Southern Cross)

Click here to see the report.

Sightings - Part 5

Sightings - Part 4

Sightings - Part III

Sightings - Part II


Hi all.

The Rovos Rail train was only 10 minutes late, we missed that.

In Wesselsbron all the unused sidings / loops have been uplifted. Near Erfdeel we got blue 34 037 on a short load of mielies and Ammonia tankers. Got this train again at Losdorings, Allanridge and at Welkom. At Skoonspruit all the lines were full of FZ's.

RRL's 33 02 arrived and looks splendid. We have heard that the other, 33 01, is also coming to Welkom. These locos are only going to be here for a couple of months and then they are getting 35 classes again. The drivers can't wait to get there hands on some real locos for a change, but they must first undergo training. Who would have guessed that all the diesel classes 31 to 37 and even 91 would be found in the Northern Free State. The 37,s sometimes pass by on the mainline to / from the workshops. We just need 38 & 39...

The Shongololo Express (Southern Cross) was running almost two hours late, so this special we caught at Whites, heading North. Orange E 1408 OFS & orange sister headed past up front, a short hoot and wave from the crew.

Orange 34 499 was seen entering the Rooiblom - Allanridge section with a load of mielies and Ammonia tankers ex Wesselsbron. Greetings from the assistant who changed the points.

The car train headed North through Kalkvlakte behind orange E 1744 & SAR Maroon E xxxx. Interestingly, the first couple of trucks were container trucks with car carrier containers on them, enclosed in wire mesh. Next was a white inspection trolley, also heading to Kroonstad.

Sheltam's new arrival, the 31 class no. 1201, was seen at their depot, 34 600 no. 18 was found on her way to the exchange yards with Harmony Surface Rail.

At Hamilton, 36 065 & 36 069, both orange, were shunting through the yard and into the sidings with petrol tankers and beer trucks. The Spoorbaan were busy on a level crossing here.

Our first stop was at Kaalspruit. Here only one fibreglass post of the nameboard remains. Most of the buildings have been demolished and the remains of the platforms are totally overgrown. A destroyed relay room and one other building remains. Plenty of recently uplifted track lies strewn in the old yard area. The line looks shiny, at least. We picked up a temporary speed restriction board lying between the rubble.

Next was Hope Orchards. This station can only be found by going according to kilometer posts. Here only a smashed nameboard and foundations remain, nothing else.

The same story with Kelly's View, only identifiable by kilometer posts, here nothing remains. The only sign of a once station is the railway fence which somehow manages to survive along the perimeter.

Last visit was Kloofeind. To our surprise this station still stands - the cabin has not a single broken window! Someone local is using it for storage and has locked the cabin. Even the pulpit remains. On the Bloemfontein side a water column remains. The main line is shiny as is the loop, even with new ballast. Kloofeind is still used as a crossing place. Large stones of the once well kept garden are still lying around.

34 499 came past at Friedesheim on a return working from the Sandveld, mielies headed to Kroonstad. Greetings from the crew.

The silos at Regina had plenty of FZ's and a lone DZ, probably put off for some defect. The Spoorbaan guys were busy doing Thermit welds at Harrisburg. Here a Northbound Lime train was halted at the signals before proceeding onto the loop to bypass the occupation. This was behind 3x blue 18E's, E 18 350. E 18 xxx and E 18 189 NATCOR IMEX. The leading unit had a new form of crew protection windows on the sides, a thick glass instead of wire mesh as usual. We got the Spoorbaan again at Eersteling busy with repairs. This time a very long Northbound load of empty ore hoppers got held up at the signals waiting to proceed into the loop. Up front were 4x 10E's, blue E 10 013, SAR Maroon E 10 110, blue E 10 xxx and blue E 10 040 "Newcastle". This train blocked a level crossing, and the crew were asleep, so they had been standing there for quite a long time all ready. Just South of Boskuil we got the Bobaan chaps busy on the catenary, so no more trains. Kingswood silos had plenty of mielie trucks as did Bloemhof. Strangely we never get any rail traffic at Leeudoringstad silos, perhaps everything goes by road?

Hennenman station was full of mielie trucks. At Whites maroon 34 453 came back with the Welgelee and Glen Harmony pick-up.

Perhaps we have mentioned this before but all the ERS guys at Kroonstad have completed their 18E training, so soon we should have 18E's down here to Bloemfontein.

On R.S.G. this morning around 07h45, a steam whistle was heard. Then a Shosholoza Meyl announcement. "To avoid the holiday road traffic rush, travel by S.M. in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Phone us on 086---, for more details". We have heard from our TFR connections that PRASA have asked them to help with the Christmas specials. Then we heard from our Shosholoza Meyl connections that they have heard that NO Christmas specials are going to run. Only the scheduled trains are to run - if they run. According to them normal services are supposed to start running again on the 1st of December, for the time being, only the Economy trains are still running.

J & J.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

5M2A in the country.

Beautiful shot of a metrorail set in the Cape, thanks Les Kenward. Picture was taken from the R304 between Mudersvlei and Klapmuts.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Les Kenward caught the daily Malmesbury train. Not running with Metrorail stock but with Shosholoza Meyl sitter stock. A grain freight pulled by a class 35 can be seen waiting for the Metro train on the passing loop. Station is Fisantkraal. GE class 35-018 is in charge.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


For what ever reason, the Khayelitsha business express was withdrawn from service. I personally caught the train and it was well patronised. The express has now been replaced with a 1st class express (XPLUS) using standard 10M5 PLUS class coaches and interior.

The hot drinks machines are no longer, also the laptop power points are gone but you still get a free newspaper! The express is staged at Salt River during the day. And was photographed by Les Kenward last week.

The old business express used to offer safe and secure parking at
Khayelitsha, not sure if the new express offers this service.

XPLUS details
Train # 9992
Khayelitsha Dep - 06:52
Cape Town Arr - 07:40

Train # 9995
Cape Town Dep - 17:15
Khayelitsha Arr - 17:58