South Africa 2007 - A Life Chasing Trains



An amazing number of preserved steam engines survive in South Africa, although operating them becomes increasingly more difficult each year.   These pictures are from David Roger's 2007 charter steam program, which may have been the last of the multi week, multi engine, multi venue charters.  The current railway administration in South Africa faces many management challenges, and operating heritage steam is low on their priorities.  Not only are there more and more restrictions, but it is difficult to get commitments in a timely manner to plan and market major programs. So pictures like these will become more and more difficult.

Dave's 2007 "Three Provinces Tour" ran May 28 to June 9.  Three engines were used on the former Bethlehem to Bloemfontein secondary main, which is no longer a through route, 15F 3016, 25NC 3472, and 15CA 2056.  I had chased this line in 1983 and our chartered trains replicated the old days very well....just with better lighting!     During a visit to the nearby museum at Sandstone Estates I photographed NGG 16. From there we visited the marvelously scenic Cape Natal line around Creighton and photographed GMAM 4074, 19D 2669, 19D 2685.  I was particularly pleased to get some good pix of a GMAM in the mountains since when I saw them in 1983 they were running out their last miles in the flats. We paid a quick visit to the Paton's Country tourist railway, saw NGG11 No. 55, and had a little excitement when the brakes failed.  From there we went to Pietermaritzburg for GF 2380.  And finally we visited 15CA 2056 and Class 24 No. 3664 on the Cullinan branch.  As it typical of a Dave Roger's tour, the photo ops took full advantage of the best lighting and scenery.