Depart Welkom onwards to Odendaalsrus, Allanridge. First stop at a deserted and destroyed Bothaville station. Third member of our group was stationed here from 1985 to 1991, mentioned very sad to see station so run down.
Onwards to Milner and Vaal bridge, latter newly painted with new safety railings, done whilst rest of line re-laid with 96kg/m track ex - uplifted Glen Harmony line. Have tentative YQ's for proposed train service Klerksdorp to Kroonstad plus return workings.
Did not stop at Orkney. Ariston, nothing left. At Klerksdorp we were informed "Trans Karoo" running very late. Got permission to photograph 8th Class on platform. In clean condition, complete with brass fittings. CTC Klerksdorp mentioned "Trans Karoo" two hours away, but ore train coming to Klerksdorp. Stilfontein and Koekemoer nothing left at these halts/sidings. Got goods train here with a few brand new stainless steel "Boepens" wine tankers plus empty AY/DZ trucks. Then to Crescent nothing left. Dash to Potchefstroom, a lime train was standing in the station. A photograph of 8th class in forecourt, bad shape. Just missed an ore train near Cachet. Difficult to get to Cachet. Walked quite a distance to Cachet platform. Battled through "Khaki Bos". Old subway from platforms to residential areas half filled in with demolished building rubble. Many SADF hired suburban sets took ACF members from Milner Park Show Grounds siding. Diesel hauled to Braamfontein yard, then Motor coaches, to Cachet, for their initial or shorter training camps. New subway visible between University residences. Got the Trans Karoo here.
Stopped at Tarentaal siding in middle of nowhere, only small goods shed intact, no name board. Then to Klipdrift again only shed found, no name board, at Enselspruit we found a name board. At Raatsvlei shed and badly weathered name board. Two CALJ trucks standing here for a long time, break down crane having placed them next to each other in veld.
On contacting CTC at Potchefstroom, told no trains so far today running on Cachet to Houtkop section.
In 1965 , this dead end line to Fochville [Built 1925 Union No. 33. Opened 14th April, 1928. 51km]. Was extended, doubled and electrified [1963 Republic No. 52. Opened 19th July, 1965. 38km]. Onwards to a tri-angle at Houtkop. The reason being the appearance of sink holes in the Obeholzer area on the two lines to Bank and Randfontein. Between Raathsvlei and Bloekomheuning we saw the head light of an approaching Cachet bound train. 18's hurtled past at high speed, one of groups cap went flying. Lots of hooting and waving from locomotive. Nothing at Bloekomheuning halt. Signals here not operational, had regulatory white wooden "X" over lenses. Traveling onwards still along the railway pathway, we had another train coming at
speed. A bit further on we came across concrete sleepers blocking the road. One had been removed and vehicle tracks could be seen. We proceeded but a short distance ahead the reason for the barrier was found. A low level bridge had been washed away, the stream was actually raw sewage which had eroded the far side earth bank, no way we could climb it. We turned around, with the arduous trip back to Raatsvlei, not far along the track we saw a tipper truck traveling along a track with in the veld, we used this track to get back onto the tarred Vereeniging road. We could not get near Van der Byl or Houtkop sidings, but saw the bridge at Van der Byl.
On reaching Leeuhof we saw three 43 Class diesels with a very long load of ore wagons. On getting to "Kontrole Punt-Middel" the train started to depart, a quick turn around and we stopped on the grass between the four lane road over rail bridge. A quick decent to track level and photographs were taken. Last stop Vereeniging station for photograph of very sad looking 6th class. Then off over the Vaal river, back into the "Oranje Vrystaat".
34 031 was returning from the ballast siding at Virginia, here she is standing at Whites, waiting to proceed to Hennenman to shunt at the silos. This loco later failed at Holfontein and was hauled back to Kroonstad by
Then, the scrap train at Kalkvlakte heading to Kroonstad. Strangely these wagons headed to Bloemfontein a couple of weeks earlier? Why they are heading back to Kroonstad is anyone's guess?