Tuesday, 28 December 2010


Hi all.
Hardly anything to report.
Firstly we heard from our connections at both Shosholoza Meyl and Transnet that no Christmas holiday specials were run. The only extra trains were run on Saturday when they usually do not run, also some trains ran on "unscheduled" days, that's all.
At Hennenman the Northbound car train was waiting at the signals behind orange and maroon 6E's. About five minutes later we caught another Northbound movement between Whites and Hennenman, this was two light 6E's, also orange and maroon. We think these locos combined with the car train to make one movement to Kroonstad as we have seen this happen before.
We got the TFR guys busy with maintenance at Welgelee. Here we saw a Southbound container train behind orange E 1343 OFS and orange E xxxx. At Virginia and Hennenman we noticed passengers on the platform - a dead giveaway of an approaching passenger train. Operating informed us this was the Johannesburg bound Amatola running 6.5 hours late at least the train was packed. Upfront was orange E 1432, hoots from the crew. From Welgelee a person can see a train all the way to Theron winding it's way down to cross the Doringspruit and then up towards Welgelee.
Seasons greetings.
J & J.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Sightings - Part II


Hi all.

Not much this week.

We found the Spoorbaan busy on the line close to Virginia. Later we learnt that the Welgelee substation between Welgelee and Virginia was flooded over the weekend and resulted in a closure of the line. Normal running only started again on Monday afternoon.

Close to Cronnell we got the empty Northbound petrol train behind two orange 6E's, E 1262 & E xxxx, greetings from the crew. We followed this train to Hennenman.

Blue 34 499 came in from Wesselsbron with a load of Mielies and Ammonia tankers, this was between Friedesheim and Welkom, greetings from the crew. At the same spot we got RRL 33 02 heading a load of hoppers towards Friedesheim. It is a pleasure to see this loco in our area...

Sheltam and Harmony Surface Rail were seen as usual.

J & J.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sightings - Part 5

Sightings - Part 4

Sightings - Part III

Sightings - Part II


Hi all.

We got a YQ of a special passenger train for Cosatu from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and return, this was run over the weekend.

Orange 34 058 was shunting in Virginia. She picked up a load of AY ballast hoppers and left for Kroonstad. The Spoorbaan were busy repairing damage to the embankment just before the Sand river bridge.

We paid a visit to Marquard. The station looks as it did on our last visit - destroyed. The station buildings and goods shed still stand. The platform is totally overgrown.

As we thought the lines at old St Helena are disappearing, the Zama, Zamas are mining the uplifted track bed. Goldfields track is busy uplifting the old rails. The areas at the disused mines are becoming very dangerous to visit. Last week two people were killed at St Helena.

RRL's 33 class looks splendid on the ore haulages.

At the showgrounds exchange yard with Harmony we got orange 34 028 bringing in Lime tankers.

The "runner" for the petrol tankers at Bothaville was a FB parcels wagon.

We had quite a good day in the old Western Transvaal system - no less than 11 trains in 4 hours between Regina and Christiana. Almost, all the way, there was either a train just behind us, next to us, or just in front of us.

At Regina, a South bound load of empty DZ's, behind SAR Maroon E 1532, got looped for a crossing. These DZ's had OREX and Halfweg stenciled on their sides. A short way down the line Spoornet maroon E 10 008 "Newcastle" and blue E 10 012 approached the crossing point with a load of Lime and BALJ wagons.

Close to Harrisburg Orange E 1343 OFS and orange E 1280 was waiting on the loop for E 1532. The load was a string of empty container wagons, all brand new, even the wheels.

Near Leeubos another North bound load was waiting for the load of DZ's. Orange E 1708 Natcor One and SAR Maroon E 1615 were on a load of AZLJ hoppers.

At Makwassie we got the crew bakkie bringing staff to a staged North bound load of ore trucks. Up front were blue E 18 362, TFR E 18 615, blue E 18 xxx and TFR E 18 xxx. E 1532 caught up to us again here and headed through Makwassie at a leisurely pace.

Near Drie Ruiters orange E 1633 headed North with the pick - up on a load of mielies.

At Kingswood the Spoorbaan had occupation on one line. Here we caught up to a Southbound container train that had just gone over the detonators. On the lead end were orange E 1288 and orange E 12xx.

As we approached Bloemhof a North bound load of containers came through at full speed behind two orange 6 E's. By this time the South bound container train had caught up again and they crossed is a blur of dust and noise, Impossible to get the unit's numbers on the Northbound train. Bloemhof was packed with all sorts of goods wagons, including three rail bolsters - "For conveyance of Rails only" - stenciled on these.

Just South of Bloemhof another North bound load headed our way. This time a mixed load of everything. Motive power was SAR Maroon E 1544 Kaap and another SAR maroon sister. Also behind the electrics was blue 34 456, being hauled dead - no damage could be seen on this diesel, just a transfer or going in for minor repairs.

We headed into a refreshing thunder storm here and soon the African veld was smelling fresh after the rains.

Next, near Britten, was yet another North bound load of ore, this time behind 4x blue 10 E's. Leading was E 10 043. This driver dipped the headlight a couple of times to greet us. As usual plenty of hoots and waves were received from all the crews.

Just before Kromellemboog the Spoorbaan had occupation of one line again. So we caught up to the container train behind E 1288, again. Waiting at the other end of the occupation was a North bound load of tarpaulin covered Lime behind SAR Maroon E 10 121 and blue E 10 xxx. At Christiana we said farewell to the container train speeding past. Here we picked up a piece of Spoornet crockery between the ballast.

We paid a quick visit to the Johannesburg and Pretoria areas. Plenty of Metros and goods trains were seen. Also, the construction of the Gautrain looks really impressive. We got a ballast machine busy on the line and a road / rail truck. Plenty of contractors busy all along the line.

Maroon 34 453 was shunting FZ's and AY hoppers at Hennenman before she left towards Virginia.

J & J.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Last Gautrain Electrostar leaves UCW for Midrand.

81 one cars were assembled at Union Carriage & Wagon in Nigel for the Gautrain project. The last one left the Nigel factory on the 7th of December for the Midrand depot.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sightings - Part III

Sightings - Part II


Hi all.

We have been told that RRL's 91 04 has been transferred to Brits, to work there. The guys have started their 33 class training, they state it is a joy to drive the big 33.

The line running past the Welkom showgrounds to Harmony's exchange yard has had a stop block fitted towards the old St Helena end - so no more trains down that way. We don't think the rails are going to remain for a long time...

Got orange 34 043 at Rooiblom, returning from Bothaville, with a short load of mielies and petrol tankers. Strangely there was a sugar truck in the consist - the first time we've seen one here in our area. On inquiring we were told that they are used for mielies nowadays.

Blue 34 406 was seen shunting timber trucks at Welkom and at Friedesheim.

The Spoorbaan and signal guys were busy at Whites West.

At Vetriver we discovered an ancient advertisement for "Tamella Tips Tea" against the old Kontantwinkels's wall. Here the North bound car train headed past behind orange E 1570 and Spoornet maroon E 1565, greetings from the crew.

At Brandfort we caught the Love Life train again, standing at the old goods shed platform. For reasons only known to themselves, Shosholoza Meyl, quite a while ago, has closed the pedestrian footbridge with their palisade fencing. Now the only way to cross the tracks is over a self made crossing over all the lines. Today we were watching streams of people heading towards the Love Train over the tracks. A lone security person was sitting under a tree. We noticed the signals were green. The next moment we heard him warning some kids "Pasopa terene..." The Southbound car train came past at full speed kicking up dust and sending people running away. How dangerous is this ???? Motive power on the car train was 2x orange 6E's, leading E 1376, greetings from the crew.

Sheltam's "new" 31 class 1201 looks splendid on the ore haulages.

Got a South bound container train at Ydelhoop behind 2x blue 18E's. Next a long ore train near Grasslands, also heading South, this was behind 3x 18E's of various liveries. Then at Kingswood, a SAR Maroon 6E still with number plates on the pick-up. This train had a blue "Electrical Test Coach" Attached. Then near Eersteling a load of fine coal headed past at full speed also heading South and also behind 2x blue 18E's. Greetings from all the crews. Unfortunately all the photos / numbers of these sightings were destroyed when our Boerboel decided to eat my SD card and my camera...

We received a YQ for the Love Life train. On Saturday light loco leave Bloemfontein, pick up the train and take it to Thaba Nchu, arrival should be around 2100, then the light locos return to BFX. The train stages there for a week.

Also received a notice of a Safety add campaign run by Transnet over the month of December on SABC TV. Various channels at various times everyday.

J & J.