Thursday, 27 January 2011
We got orange 34 058 struggling back into Skoonspruit, several hours later she was still standing here, failed and without a crew...
At Boskuil we got a southbound load of empty ore wagons behind blue E 10 037, SAR Maroon E 10 110, Spoornet red E 10 006 and SAR Maroon E 10 115. She was looped for a crossing with a northbound load of ore. This was behind SAR Maroon E 10 121, 1x orange and 2x blue 10E's, too fast to get the numbers. Friendly greetings from all the crews. Then near Grasslands a southbound load of Lime came past behind orange E 121x Cape Western and orange E 1447.
At Whites we found light locos standing at the signals waiting to proceed to Kroonstad. Orange and maroon 6E's.
Just north of Theunissen a short goods train headed towards Kroonstad behind 2x orange 6E's and an dead orange 36 class in tow. In Theunissen station we got a southbound load of containers behind blue and orange 6E's.
Barden has an overgrown platform.
The station museum at Sannaspos seems to be no more, windows are broken and everything looks run down. The lever frame is still in the cabin. The track is nice and shiny. Just to the east of the station the overgrown remains of the Aliwal North line lie silent, rusting away. A 50Km/h speed restriction board still warns the non-existent trains. The points have been removed completely and we doubt that this line will ever open again... The line to Bethlehem is now on a higher level due to the new ballast. Hard to believe that just a couple of years ago there still was a passenger train to Zastron. With a connecting mixed train to Aliwal North and back in time for the return passenger train to Bloemfontein.
Likhathlong and Sepane are just names and remains of uplifted loops.
At Thaba Nchu we got a surprise, the old station is gone and a completely new one has been built with a new platform. The area is fenced off with palisade which is already vandalized. A blue roof is visible on the new ticket office. The passenger shelters still need to be covered or maybe it has disappeared already! We have heard rumors of Metrorail bringing in a service from Bloemfontein. [On phoning Operating Bloemfontein, it was confirmed that this was the case, but no date of introduction is known. The road is very busy]. Here we got a Bloemfontein bound train behind blue 35 248 and orange sister. All the side panels were open on both diesels, must be heat issues. This train must have come from Maseru as it had container trucks in the consist.
The spoorbaan are busy uplifting rails in Whites yard. Near Whites we got the return working of the Wesselsbron pick-up behind orange 34 028. Just north of Virginia the Welgelee / Glen Harmony shunt came past working backside first to Kroonstad, up front was maroon 34 453.
On arriving at Theunissen we found both up and down signals green. First to arrive was orange E 1329 and E 1440 OFS heading south light locos. Next was a special passenger train heading towards Johannesburg. This was behind maroon E 1318. The coaches were a mix of Shosholoza Meyl and Spoornet's blue and grey. The train was quite full in the third class section. There was no dining car on this train.
Yet another diesel failure at Whites, the return working of the Bothaville pick-up, behind blue 34 093. The TCO told us a spare loco was being sent from Kroonstad - but that could take days !!
The diesels are not coping anymore this is the third failure we know of in two weeks.
J & J.