Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Hi Guys.

At Hennenman we got the return working of the Welgelee pick-up behind 34 453.

Then at Virginia a South bound load of what looked like cut up wagons trundled past.

J & J

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Hi Guys.

The first train was a load of ore wagons heading South behind 4x 10E's at Bloemhof.

Next was a load of tarpaulined Lime heading North behind 6x 18E's, this was at Grasslands.

The panoramic shot is at Drie Ruiters.

At Eersteling a short load of CAR  wagons was held in the loop to allow the Northbound pick-up to cross.

Friendly greetings from all the crews, also we missed three trains during the day.



Hi guys.

We got the Blue train at Grasslands, running about right time and with decent locomotives for a change...

The ore train is also heading South, this shot is at Drie Ruiters.

Friendly greetings from the crews.

J &J..

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Walvis Bay to Windhoek Trans Namib

Train 9909, the 19:00 Walvis Bay to Windhoek Trans Namib passenger train on 25th October 2012

Our recent trip to Namibia gave me the opportunity to catch the daily (Sunday to Friday) train from Walvis Bay to Windhoek which would give me time to visit the Windhoek Railway museum and depot.  I would meet up with the ladies in the afternoon after they had driven the 400km to Windhoek in around a third of the time tabled 12 hours of the train.

The ticket was bought earlier in the week at Walvis Bay station, a choice of Business class or economy class was on offer. The booking office clerk explained the difference between the two classes; Economy had basic padded seats whereas Business class had 12 reclining seats and more leg room, so I opted for the Business class which was a bargain at around £8 for the 12 hour journey!  We were advised to be at the train around 30 minutes before departure.

After having an early dinner we headed to the Walvis Bay station, arriving at around 18:15, but there was no sign of the train in the single platform, so waited in the car a bit longer.

At around 18:45 the two passenger coaches sandwiched between a container flat and three open wagons all loaded with containers were shunted into the station.

At around departure time the steward arrived and started to unlock the TV’s and DVD player. He then told anyone who asked him that we were waiting for the petrol tankers to arrive and be attached to our train!

At around 19:30 GE No 416 made a noisy arrival from the oil depot with a train of tankers and barrier wagons, these were attached to the rear of the train and the loco disappeared towards the docks to shunt.

After more questions we were advised that there was a problem with the locos, but this was being sorted and that we would leave soon.
Soon afterwards the first film of the night “Batman Begins” started.
The two locos (416 & 465) arrived from the depot around 20:45 and after brake test we left with much noise from the two 46 year old turbo charged GE’s at 20:55 almost 2 hours late.
The first stop advertised stop at Kuiseb on the outskirts of Walvis Bay was reached was reached, more passengers boarded and departure was at 21:04 instead of 19:20. Progress was slow, barely reaching 30 mph, the moon illuminating the Sand Dunes either side of the train.
I had visited the next station Swakopmund several times during our stay and as expected we took the loop towards the station and Salt company sidings rather than the avoiding line. More passengers’ boarded, but surprisingly we waited for the full time tabled 20 minutes leaving at 22:35 instead of the booked 20:45 departure. We re-joined the avoiding line and headed noisily out of town. By now Batman had finished and the second film of the night “The Last Airbender” began.
I began dozing off now, seemingly waking up each time the locos shut off power and the rest of the train catching up with the locos due to the amount of slack in the couplings.
We left Arandis at 00:27 instead of the booked 22:30 and Usakos at 00:45 instead of 22:45, but couldn’t make out the 2 foot gauge NGG15 “Kalahari” that I had seen and photographed a few days earlier. I was asleep when we arrived at Kranzberg which is the junction for the line to the north of the country. A very heavy bang woke me  up. I latter realised that we had an extra  container wagon at the front of the train so guess this was where we gained it, the time tabled stop was  from 01:05 to 01:35. We departed at 03:10, we were now beginning to make up time, being only 95 minutes late now, but we didn’t know what was in store for us!
At around 04:00 I woke up as we arrived at Karibib and noticed that we were passing the” Desert express “ luxury tourist train, we should have departed here at 02:20. I fell asleep again soon afterwards, but woke up again to the news that a train had broken down on the single line in front of us and that there were locos on their way from Windhoek to rescue the stricken train, that was the good news, the bad news was that the earliest that we would get to Windhoek would be around 11:00! Things were not looking good for the combined Railway Museum and depot visit that had been arranged for 08:00!
The sun rose soon after 06:00, so it was time to look around outside and maybe find out some more news. The driver expected us to be at Karibib for around two more hours, so this would give plenty of time to explore the immediate area. Due to the position of the sun it was difficult to photograph the tourist train.

Although nothing was moving on the railway there was plenty of road traffic on the parallel B2 road which runs close to the railway from Swakopmund to Windhoek, would I catch a glimpse of the girls passing by?

Some of the passengers tried their luck at hitching a lift to Windhoek, but most stayed put.
Around 07:40 the sounds of an approaching train could be heard, soon after a lone GE No 464 struggled in to the station with train No 9908, Thursday nights 19:55 Windhoek to Walvis Bay train. Although timetabled to be 5 hours into its journey, it was already around 7 hours late at this point with at least 7 more hours to go!

The train stopped with the locos alongside each other for around 10 minutes to allow the two sets of train crew to swoop to get the crews back to their home stations. Eventually the recently arrived train pulled in clear of the single line and level crossing and swiftly left. The Windhoek bound train left around 5 minutes later at 0801, nearly 6 hours late, it quickly reached around 40 MPH.
Quite a few animals, mostly Springbok and hogs were seen through the window, but this was interrupted buy the Steward coming round and asking if any of the remaining 6 of us in Business class wanted to get to Windhoek earlier than the now expected 14:00! We all said yes to the offer and were told that we could use the minibus that was bringing out a fresh train crew from Windhoek, around 09:15 we were in the Wilhemstal area, the loco stopped at a gravel road level crossing where there was a white mini bus parked.

The fresh train crew changed places with the crew who had now been working for over 14 ½ hours and it was still a 90 minute drive to Windhoek! The train then moved forward to allow the 6 of us to step down on to the level crossing and then into the minibus. At 09:22 the train swiftly left, but we quickly overtook it, arriving at Windhoek station at 11:00, 4 hours later than scheduled, but the train did not arrive until just after 14:00, a mere 7 hours late!

Would I do it again? Yes of course!

Les Kenward

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Regina, heading South, second unit failed, 34 494 hauled dead in consist.

Wesselsbron, shunting complete, returning to Kroonstad.


Hi Guys.

34 037 & 34 409 were staged at Welkom, uncoupled from their load. Pic 1095 is from L - R TFR 34's, RRL's "Hercules" and a 36 class on hire from Transnet.

We got a late running Trans Karoo just North of Kingswood, you can see the silos in the background. Greetings from the crew.

Just South of Kingswood a Southbound load of CAR wagons crossed with a load of Northbound mielies, again hoots from the crews.

 J & J.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bosrand sightings.

Hi guys.

Yet another 33 class heading North, this time 33 020 at Bosrand, hopefully another one saved from the scrappers... Also in the consist was a passenger coach in Shosholoza Meyl colours?

J & J.

Sightings at Holfontein.

Hi guys.

We got a Southbound train of AY ballast hoppers and a Northbound train of empty container wagons. 33 019 was in the consist. Don't know from where, to
where she is heading??

J & J.

Hi J&J

In early November TFR sold a bunch of them on auction, as reported on the SAR-list. 33-019 was at East London and was sold "partially stripped with bogies". My guess is that it was bought either by RRL, Sheltam, or AR&TS.

Eugene Armer

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Theunissen - Winburg.

Hi all.

As you can see from the photos, the Theunissen - Winburg line is no  more...

This is not an official removal, but THEFT. Transnet has told us on several occasions that they are not interested in the Winburg branch because the rails are to light and the steel sleepers are not worth re-using. The line is also on the list of lines to be tendered for private operators.

So, the only people left are scrap merchants. The line is still intact close to Theunissen and into Winburg, where people can see the line. Where it runs into the farm lands,  it has disappeared for several kilometres.

Quite strange how a railway line and sleepers can disappear without anyone noticing, makes you think...



Hi guys.

The 34 is returning from Hennenman to Kroonstad, almost "swallowed" up by the weeds trackside!

The two light locos are at Theunissen, also heading back to Kroonstad.


Rainy sightings

Amatola heading South through Geneva.

Combined return working of the Bothaville and Bultfontein pick-up also at Geneva and at Bosrand.