Friday, 25 October 2013
Firstly some not so good news, Transnet has lost the fuel supply contract to Bothaville and Viljoenskroon. Less trains on our branches... The reason given by the fuel guys was unreliability.
At Hennenman two of the new "Bright star" diesels were attempting to shunt the silos, they failed and were staged at Hennenman.
At Hamilton we found the remains of this coaling stage - Les told us more.
Yes, that looks like the remains of the coaling appliance that was erected´at Hamilton for locos on caboose working to coal and clean fire en route with iron ore trains from Sishen to Natal via Kamfersdam (another special coaling appliance) and Hamilton. Class 23s worked these trains and the two appliances avoided the locos having to go into the depots to take coal, water and clean fire. They worked all the way from the Sishen/Postmasburg area via Kimberley, Bloemfontein and Kroonstad, to Natal. Two sets of enginemen had a caboose attached to the 23. As far as I know, the 23s came off at Harrismith but I'm not sure.
Charlie might have the dates when this was happening. He might also know if they worked beyond Harrismith down Van Reenen.
I also asked Les about the history of the Kroonstad - Bloemfontein line. Today there are sometimes only 3 trains in a 12 hour shift, just a shadow of what was...
I had to leave all my WTBs back in South Africa when I left the Country. With them I could have given you an accurate answer.
From memory, I think that it would be safe to say that if one was standing on Hennenman Station for example, one would see a train movement every 15 - 20 minutes behind steam nogal!
At the height of traffic on the "Steel Kyalami" - Kimberley - De Aar, there was a train movement every 11 minutes past Kraankuil for example.
I have purposely copied this reply to Charlie - he worked on the OFS System in its heyday and he might well be able to provide a more accurate reply - he might even have an OFS WTB - Charlie?
At Whites 2x 34's brought in an air-braked load of mielies from Losdorings.
34 406 was doing the timber shunt at Friedesheim. The DZ's at the rear are from Welkom, Lennings Rail Services has had lot of machinery off-loaded here.
Containers heading North near Kalkvlakte.
Then destruction at Eensgevonden and Vet River, this is what all the stations are going to look like when CS 90 takes over...
"Captain Ford" heading South through Vet River with a Bloemfontein bound load.
Lastly Harmony Surface Rail.
J & J.
The first pics show what's left of Virginia's old sidings...
Then the 16DA at Theunissen has got a number plate back??
The Blue Train between Virginia and Welgelee heading to Bloemfontein for Macufe festival - we could just not catch up to this train! Our timing was just not right...
Then another special to Bloemfontein, nearing the Sand River bridge near Virginia.
Near Whites a very short south bound load of containers.
At Whites the Premier Classe also headed to Bloemfontein. All these passenger specials were going at quite a lick! There was a "Kwazulu Natal tourist Train" coach in the consist.
Greetings from all the crews.
From what I could see the trains did not look very full.
Apparently there was another special, but we heard nothing more about this one.
J & J.
At Friedesheim RRL's train was held back for the timber shunt to proceed to Welkom.
On Monday we said "farewell" to Whites station. Transnet have changed their plans and we were told that Whites will close at the end of October 2013. These will be the last photos of the station in one piece, in a couple of months we'll risk our lives to see what's left... Will keep you posted.
The two 34's are heading towards Losdorings with an air-braked load of FZ's. They are seen near Erfdeel, for those wondering why the area is called the Sandveld - just have a look! It could well be in the Namib desert!!
At Kingswood a load of empty containers sped past Northbound, hoots from the crew. There is a total occupation on this line between Warrenton and Klerksdorp so the trains are far and few in between.
J & J.