Ceres rail revival offers hope for South African secondary lines

OVER the last 20 years many little-used rural lines in South Africa have been closed and mothballed often due to poor track condition or the loss of what freight there was to road transport.

The new owner of the line through Michell’s Pass – Transnet Freight Rail – has given its locos names: Ceres Railway coal-fired Class 19B No. 1412 (Berliner Maschinenbau 9838/1930) Bailey plus oil-burning Class 19D No 3321 Jessica (North British 1948/26041) are seen working en route from Voorbaai to Ceres via Worcester on March 14. No. 1412 had just been overhauled in Voorbaai for Ceres Rail by Transnet, and this special train was used to move it to its new home. JEAN DULEZ
The new owner of the line through Michell’s Pass – Transnet Freight Rail – has given its locos names: Ceres Railway coal-fired Class 19B No. 1412 (Berliner Maschinenbau 9838/1930) Bailey plus oil-burning Class 19D No 3321 Jessica (North British 1948/26041) are seen working en route from Voorbaai to Ceres via Worcester on March 14. No. 1412 had just been overhauled in Voorbaai for Ceres Rail by Transnet, and this special train was used to move it to its new home. JEAN DULEZ

However, the scenic line through Michell’s Pass, between Wolseley and Ceres, in the Western Cape region, has been the subject of the first successful branch line concessioning project with national rail freight operator Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), which provided the teams required to rehabilitate the entire line last year after local business people in the Ceres region decided to collaborate to reopen the line to both freight and tourist trains.

Read more in the August issue of The RM

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