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Part 2

Cape Town to Wellington

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Some scans I ordered for the section on Cape Town’s suburban railways have not arrived so here is a bumper Christmas edition covering the Cape Main Line as far as Wellington – 45 miles direct and 69 miles along the original 4’-8½” gauge route via Stellenbosch.

There is a plan of sorts in setting out the photos, starting with the top trains and ending with a departmental working. Some of the story behind the pictures will cover the extraordinary period, beginning with the arrival at Salt River Electric MPD of the first class 4E in March 1953, when it took SAR 4½ years to phase out Paarden Eiland’s fleet of approximately 4x15Es, 40x15Fs and 6x23s. When the last 15F left for the Cape Midland System in September 1957 the era of main-line steam passenger trains out of Cape Town came to a very permanent end. It had lasted just short of 100 years.

Electrification from Cape Town to Johannesburg coupled with elimination of Hex River Pass by a series of tunnels - including one of 8 miles - was already declared future policy by Marshall Clark, SAR’s outstanding General Manager immediately post WW2. First stage of the proposal was to flatten the pass and, of course, discontinue steam working as far as Touws River. However, the crucial change of Government by the thinnest of margins in 1948 resulted in immediate cancellation of the tunnel contracts even though the earthworks were substantially complete and boring of the five tunnels had already started. It seems the money for this work was needed elsewhere. During the ensuing decade it became clear for what it was needed and this will be dealt with in future episodes – politics is an inescapable part of the SAR story. However, it was decided to go ahead with electrification to Touws River. Our thanks to Bruno Martin for the excellent map. 

1. Subsequent to our last posting this nice photo came to light from the collection of the late Dave Rhind. Looking at the style and composition it is almost certainly the work of the photographer Ravenscroft, probably taken a year or two prior to No 3 in Part Three. Again we have men in boaters and elegantly-attired ladies come to see a crammed express off to the interior. On the right a suburban, or possibly outer suburban from Somerset West or Stellenbosch has just disgorged its passengers, while a smartly uniformed porter supervises off-loading of parcels and luggage from the van.

2. The elegance suggests that this is the CGR's 1st class only "Vestibule Express" which left Cape Town on Thursdays at 20:00. With dining car and sleeping accommodation throughout, electric lighting and hot water it compared favourably with the best anywhere. The beds (with crisp linen) were 2/6 so the Express was definitely aimed at the wealthy. It is difficult to put a precise date on this photograph which also bears the stamp of Ravenscroft, but the classic 6th class with its uniform rake of luxury day/sleepers and the predominance of hand-operated points would suggest around 1896.

First of the really successful indigenous locomotive designs were the Cape 6th and 7th classes (later, SAR classes 6 and 7) introduced during the tenure of the CGR’s CME, Michael Stephens. Holland tells us that the detailed drawings for both types were prepared at Salt River works by superintendent H M Beatty although in their appearance and demeanour one can see the influence of the manufacturers, Dubs and Co who specialised in making pretty but reliable engines. The Cape 6s and 7s were reliable and pretty indeed.

André Kritzinger, author of the well-known Wikipedia series on South African locomotives and their tenders suggests the purpose of the white board inscribed “6 MILES ONLY” is to indicated the speed that trains should not exceed after passing the board.  In the part dealing with the Cape suburban service we will show you another of these boards at Salt River.

3. A rare view of a Union-Garratt, No 2320 on the Union Limited, just arrived at Cape Town Monument in February 1932. The vehicle on the right is a 1928 Chevrolet truck.

Primary-source information on the GHs (there were two, the other was 2321) is hard to come by. My information for this caption comes from Allen Jorgensen’s January 1977 article on Cape Steam from his regular series in South African Transport. The latter credits Frank Garrison as the author of a very similar photo of the GH to that used here – almost certainly taken on the same day by the same person. Another source I consulted was André Kritzinger’s highly recommended Wikipedia website. Allen’s information did come from a primary source – the late Frank Garrison himself. Having been around when they were running the Union trains as well as being a knowledgeable member of the Railway Circle, Frank’s information can be relied upon. Small engines they were not. With 5ft drivers, 18-ton axleload, mechanically-stoked 60 sq ft grate and tractive effort in excess of 50,000 lbs they were potent machines, capable of taking the Union Express up Hex River Pass without a banker.

The reason why they only lasted two years in this service is generally supposed to be that there was heavy wear on the rear engine-unit pivot. However, the GH’s lasted another 25 years working out of Glencoe in Natal, so this problem surely must have been resolved. One suspects that their poorly designed Z-ported cylinders with short-lap, short-travel valves1 made them too hungry to work economically down in the Cape with the nearest coalfields more than 1,000 miles away. At least at Glencoe there was a coalmine practically on the premises! 

1 This was a mystifying aberration on the part of Maffei, the reputable German builders. One can only assume that Col Collins, SAR’s CME at the time, laid down the specifications for the retrograde cylinder design.

4. Dainty was a good word to describe the class 6Z 2-6-4s. After starting their lives as CGR sixths (the first four were 2-6-2s, later converted) and being used on main-line passenger trains, soon after Union in 1910 and the formation of SAR they were superseded by Beatty's 4As and Elliot's 10Cs on top-link work. By 1932 they were nearing the end of their lives but not before Frank Garrison got this timeless picture of No 717 about to take the Union Express on its 4-mile journey to the Union Castle mail ship at East Pier. 


5. The 15A of the Cape Town-Johannesburg boat express is assembling its train and almost ready to leave Monument c 1920. The carriages behind the dining car would probably have been hauled over the 4 miles from the mailship berth at East Pier by a class 05, predecessor to class 6. As soon as the 05 uncoupled and cleared, the 15A (which wasn’t allowed in the docks) would back the Cape Town carriages plus dining and kitchen car onto the mailship portion of its train. SAR photo.

6. “Classic” has become such an overworked adjective when applied to the old SAR that I hesitate to use it. However, there can hardly be a better way of describing this solid rake of Hendrie balcony coaches with its dependable Hendrie class 15A. This is a Railway Circle photo loaned to us courtesy of Pierre De Wet, with no information about the train except that it is passing the old Tennant Road locoshed which was demolished in 1934.

7. For the better part of 50 years Hendrie’s convertible day/sleeper saloons predominated on main-line trains. They were much maligned by the travelling public– main objection being the open vestibules, or balconies as we called them. They were drafty, filthy if there was steam up front and freezing cold most of the year. There was no better place to be – on the train or off it. It has to be admitted that Hyde’s luxurious long-distance sleepers were superior – more elegant, more comfortable with closed vestibules and definitely preferred by the ladies. 

Having written the foregoing perhaps it is wise to let Les have the final say: “.....apart from the CSAR [saloons] which Hendrie chose to ignore his perseverance with open balconies was very short-sighted. We are looking at an extended period when ladies and gents dressed for dinner in the diner and to expect them to walk between coaches across open balconies was not on. Watson did the rail travelling public a great favour when he finally [discontinued] the open balconies......”

8. The Port Elizabeth-Cape Town mail, 8-up with an unknown class 10B pacific, coming through Woltemade (now Thornton). Just behind the semaphore on the left is a new colour-light signal not yet in use, and under the footbridge another can be seen. This helps to date the picture c 1930. In 1909 G G Elliot, CME of the CSAR, designed the class 10A and 10B1 based on P A Hyde’s class 10 of 1904. They were free-running, powerful yet economical – like the 10s, years ahead of their time. Railway Circle photo kindly loaned by Pierre De Wet.

1 10A saturated, 10B superheated, but the five A’s soon had superheaters added

9. From the early 1930s A G Watson introduced his standard range of boilers. They didn’t improve the looks of SAR engines but were said to reduce maintenance costs. Nevertheless, newly-reboilered 778 cl 10CR made a fine sight on the down Cape Town – PE boat express passing Woltemade c 1932. In a nicely balanced formation, the mail/baggage/guards van is preceded by two saloons on either side of the single dining car. Railway Circle photo kindly loaned by Pierre De Wet.


10. Charl Malan quay in Algoa Bay was opened late in 1934. This enabled the Union Castle mail ships to berth at Port Elizabeth, thereby bringing down the curtain on the weekly boat expresses from Cape Town. On 1st October 1934 Bill Schutz, one of several accomplished photographers of the Railway Circle, made this study of 1821 cl 15A on the down PE boat express coming through Kraaifontein. Within a month the need for the service had fallen away but, in true SAR tradition, 51-down and its counterpart 52-up, reclassified as “Fast Passenger” (overall average a blistering 23mph!) continued to run until 1971.

11. Whether on passenger or freight, Hendrie’s 15As invariably looked in control. Up goods approaching Kraaifontein, c 1934. Railway Circle photo courtesy Pierre De Wet.


12. Seemingly photographed by a descendant of Pieter Bruegel the elder, comes this view of Wellington c 1930 from the collection of Les Pivnic. An up main-line passenger has just crossed a northbound string of coal mts. There is so much action here that it is almost like a frozen frame from a video clip. Check the SM, the bedding attendant and the porter in their immaculate uniforms, what looks like an engine driver with his trommel just come off duty, the gent about to buy his newspaper at the news-stand, the postcart at the back of the Post Office, hordes of passengers and well-wishers - the whole scene seems to have been caught in mid-stride. Note the original standard SAR station nameboard with wooden cut-out letters painted black and raised slightly from the white-painted background, classic old CGR signal cabin, engine shed, rake of mostly CGR straight-sided suburban stock for the Cape Town-Wellington service, and an 8th class shunting the busy busy goods shed.


13. The main road to Paarl was still a corrugated dirt track when, earlier on the same day as photo 10, Bill made another great photograph of 2821 cl 15CA on the Union Express tackling Klapmuts bank, which begins in earnest at Kraaifontein. Note that contrary to general SAR practice the mail and baggage vans were marshaled behind the locomotive. This was to accommodate a rear-end observation car in the Union Express set introduced in 1927/28 when a dramatic improvement was made with the introduction of the type C-22 articulated sleeping saloons featuring enclosed vestibules, hot and cold water, a valet service and roomier day/sleeper compartments. It seemed that the CME (by now Col Collins) was at last taking a leaf out of the CSAR’s coach-design manual of almost 30 years previously.

14. On that same day, 1st October 1934, Bill recorded the second section of the Union Express thundering through Muldersvlei cutting, highest point on the line between Cape Town and Tulbagh Road. Observe the substantial earthwork on this, the 1863 standard-gauge location to Wellington which maintained a ruling grade throughout of 1-in-80. It was well into the 20th Century before the original Cape-gauge lines began to be rebuilt to such high standards.

Note also the carpet of ash between the rails. In those days it was permitted to clean fire on the run but only in clearly demarcated sections – usually about half a mile long. The start of a fire-cleaning section had a board with the letters AB (for “ash begins”) in black on a white background – one of these boards is prominent in photo 23 below. Correspondingly, the end of the section was announced with the letters AE. Although steel sleepers were preferred, wooden sleepers were also used with ballast laid over to protect them. Burnt-out sleepers were surprisingly rare. These ashing sections, combined with Fairbanks-Morse fast-watering columns, made time wasted for loco purposes far less in those days than from the 1960s onwards when ashpits and painfully slow gate valves were introduced.  As a conspiracy theorist I maintain that this was collaboration between the Civil Engineers and the Operating Department who were trying to persuade the government to buy diesels!

Bill Schutz was perhaps more renowned for building exquisite miniature steam locomotives. He used gauge 1, maintaining the correct scale/gauge ratio, to produce live-steam models of classes 8, 10A and rolling stock so realistic that photos of them were difficult to distinguish from the real thing.

15. A Railway Circle member (sadly unknown) recorded this spotless 15CA at Paarden Eiland (certainly a regular engine) with its driver on the right in collar and tie, fireman (the tall oke on the left) and a cleaner leaning against the buffer beam. The date is unknown but would be some time between the arrival of the 15CAs in 1926 and the 15Es in mid 1935.

16. An immaculate and very new class 15E brings a classy-looking train around the sweeping curve at Muldersvlei. The twin diner and mail van converted from a covered goods wagon would seem to identify this as the forerunner of 203-down, the morning fast passenger to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Another anonymous Railway Circle photo.

17. At the BOEM! of the noon-day gun the driver of 2962 cl 15F yanked open the regulator and SAR’s poshest, No. 1-down, started to move. This photo, taken on my box Brownie in June 1951, won 2nd prize at a school photographic competition – setting me on the rocky road to railway photography (Peter Steyn, who later earned fame as a bird photographer, got first prize with a picture of three baby Spotted Eagle Owls – however, owls are still around, active 15Fs are extinct except in captivity).

18. The Orange Express accelerating out of Cape Town, c 1952. There are many things worth noting in this SAR official photograph. Unusually on the down suburban main, the 15F is just gaining momentum with its long train (note the passenger still waving goodbye!). Normally it would be routed via the down avoiding line – the track immediately to the right of the locomotive in the foreground. From the right the running lines are down and up avoiding line, down and up Bellville and Cape Flats suburban and down and up Simonstown. The 1M1 motorcoach is staged with its train off-peak on a siding that was used for this purpose. The track coming in ahead of the motorcoach gave access to Cape Town's old market and the catering department sidings where dining and kitchen cars were serviced and stocked. This was a most inconvenient site as it meant all dining/kitchen cars had to make their way across four busy suburban lines to find their trains. By the way, the engine (right foreground) is a 10CR and why it was standing on an up track, light engine, facing inwards, is a mystery.

After a stint as the pilot train to the Royal Train in 1947 the carriages (many of which were ex-Union Express) were used to introduce a new “fast” service between Cape Town and Durban. The make-up of the train was: 2nd class reserved balcony and two 2nd-class closed vestibule carriages followed by ex-Union Express type C22 articulated saloons, a twin elliptical-roofed diner set, more C22s and the baggage/guards van making up an equivalent 15 coaches. As might be imagined for a service that took two nights and a day to do the 1300 miles, all accommodation stock was day/sleeper convertible. The compartments in the articulated saloons were noticeably larger and more comfortable than in a standard Hendrie day/sleeper. The paint scheme was tasteful - much more so than BR's blood and custard - deep Indian red with subtle hints of cherry below the waist and a nice shade of cream above the cantrail. The large lettering was gold shaded in black and red. Several coats were applied so that when a coach left shops it glowed like a Japanese-lacquered cabinet. There was no air conditioning – all windows opened fully. Over the years I was fortunate to ride the original Orange Express many times and have no hesitation in saying that the only train that could beat it for comfort and style was Rovos Rail.

19. That old Box Brownie couldn’t stop a train doing more than about 10mph so it wasn’t long before I got a Zeiss 6X9 cm Ikonta although it took quite a while to learn how to drive it. During this time I met my first bashmate – Don Baker, regular contributor to the SAR-List. We charged around the Peninsula on our pushbikes, occasionally venturing further afield. We were together for this shot of 3080 cl 15F on No. 1-down approaching Koeberg Road underpass in February 1955. It was almost two years since the first 4Es had arrived yet SAR’s crack train was still entrusted to the 15Fs.

20. Most of the time Bellville was about the limit of our cycling range - it was 20 miles from Newlands, a bit less for Don who lived in Pinelands. Soon after writing matric in 1954 we got this one of a 15F (whose number I couldn’t find – do you still have it Don?) on the down Blue Train accelerating past a brand-new S2 on the Bellville North shunt.

21. The poles lying on the ground, ready for erection, date this SAR official photo of the Blue Train arriving at Wellington fairly accurately to August or September 1952. When electrification began in earnest early in 1951 a strange aspect of the construction program was that the sections between stations were poled first, quite rapidly, leaving the station emplacements for later. NB, compare this scene with photo 12!

22. 219 cl 4E was the first to arrive on the Cape Western system, in March 1953. It had already put in several months of hard work in Natal but in Cape service teething troubles soon manifested themselves, particularly when going faster than 45mph. I have already mentioned how this actually suited Operating, who urgently needed a powerful drag machine to shift ever-growing freight tonnages, especially coal. A 4E was rated at double the load of a 15F (without banker) over Hex River Pass – 770 tons against 360 tons for the same length of train. With banker a 15F+14CRM combination could almost match the 4E. But the 4E really scored between Cape Town and De Doorns where, unaided, it could haul half as much again as a 15F – 1264 tons as against 820. Of course the single track beyond Wellington didn’t help to move the traffic – one often wonders whether the desperate measures resorted to in the fifties, such as using coasters to bring coal to the Cape power stations, would have been necessary had the main line progressively been doubled instead of merely electrified as single track.


23. The date of this official SAR photo is 1954, the year when yellow stripes wrapped around the front were introduced in an effort to make the 4Es more visible at level crossings. This makes one wonder even more about the bohaai surrounding the 4E bogies. From 1954 onwards they took over the Blue Train with increasing regularity long before the last 15Fs were drafted away in September 1957. In 1956 Les Pivnic was hauled by a 4E on the Blue Train and he recalls some very fast running on that occasion. Note the “Ash Begins” board referred to in caption 6.

24. From Parow to Bellville (limit of electrification until 1953) the main line climbed 200 feet in two miles, enough to extract more than just a perfunctory grunt from this 15F lifting its exhaust high with a heavy 203-down. The passengers on the Cape Town-bound EMU were being treated to an earful in this scene recorded at Bellville by Les in June 1952.

25. With the exception of station emplacements, by March 1952 when this photo was taken the poles were up all the way to Touws River and work at the stations had begun. One of the last unpoled lengths, albeit a few hundred yards, suited small boys on bicycles well – this was immediately north of Bellville where extensive works icw the burrowing junction to the new Bellville marshalling yard were under way. Both the main line and the Stellenbosch/Somerset West lines were deviated around the excavations and for nearly two years trains were restricted to 20mph around the sharp reverse curves. The Orange Express was beginning to accelerate as it approached the end of the main-line deviation. In the foreground is the Modderdam Road level crossing, at that time a limestone-metalled dirt road. Today there is a six-lane divided highway over a bridge at this point.

26. In spite of its slow overall timing (39 hours for 675 miles), 9-down, the Port Elizabeth mail invariably enjoyed good loadings - possibly because of the magnficent mountain scenery along most of the route. 16 or 17 carriages was the norm at least as far as Worcester (17 was one over load but was frequently resorted to). The train is on the Cape Town – Woltemade avoiding line constructed in the early 1930s. By March 1954 this was a three-track section and twenty years later there were four tracks at this point but with the amount of traffic on offer in 2011 they could just as well revert to double track. Note the enormous double-sided coalstage on the left – long since demolished. With a capacity of 1,200 tons it was designed to cater for Paarden Eiland’s allocation of 200+ engines.


27. Another Box-Brownie shot showing 9-down slowing for the stop at Muldersvlei with a 17-coach formation, much heavier than the train with a class 15E depicted in the Railway Circle photo at the same location (see photo No 8 above). The Stellenbosch loop (original standard-gauge route) rejoins the main line here - its home signal can just be seen to the left of the engine. In 1953 Paarden Eiland still had an allocation of four 15Es but being hand-fired they were not favoured on passenger workings any more. Although their poppet valves made them more economical than a 15F they had the same size grate - 63 sq ft - without the mechanical stoker. They were nicknamed “Bongols” (saffa slang for a donkey) because the fireman had to work like one to keep it hot. Our neighbour in Newlands was a platelayer and he had a giant of a son, Nikolaas, who was a fireman. Nikolaas Brand always went on shift with trepidation in case he was booked to work a Bongol to Touws River. Incidentally, although it was still theoretically possible to see a 15E on a passenger train out of Cape Town at this time, the WTBs specifically forbade their use on the Blue Train.

28. Almost 90 years after the railway was opened to Wellington in 1863, a minor celebration was held to celebrate the opening of the first stage of the electrification of the main line to Touws River. Note whites and browns herded separately but about to enjoy the same bunfight. Celebration of the energizing of the section onwards to Worcester was deliberately held back until 8th April 1953 to allow it to be opened by Minister P O Sauer just before the 1953 elections. Even though electrification of the main line had been sanctioned by the previous government, it was made out to be a triumph for the ruling National Party. It was undoubtedly a factor in the Nat’s increased majority, enabling them to rake in some marginal platteland seats. This strengthened the Government’s hand when it came to the expensive policy of providing separate facilities for the different races at every station throughout the land.

29. This is the last photo I ever took of a real steam passenger train south of Touws River. It may well be the last occasion on which it happened. During the July 1956 school holidays our family had gone on holiday to Port Alfred via Port Elizabeth. Going there we traveled on 9-down with a 4E to Worcester. Coming back two days before the schools restarted we found ourselves on 888-up, the 3rd section of 8-up. At Worcester, to our astonishment and delight, in the bay road there was a rather unkempt 15F waiting to take over from the GEA which had brought us from Riversdale. Sadly its number has been lost somewhere during the past 50 years. It duly backed onto our train but no sooner done than the hooter of a 4E could be heard announcing its arrival on the up Orange Express. We naturally assumed it would overtake our less important train but no!.……… just as the Orange drew into the platform alongside us the boards came off for our train and with a triumphant whistle we lit out of Worcester. At Tulbagh Road we stopped briefly (see photo 10 in Part 3) while our driver and the station foreman had an altercation, the reason being that the latter wanted to let the Orange go by but the doughty driver was having none of it and threatened blue murder if he was not given the tablet for Gouda pronto. So while the foreman hopped back onto his bicycle to fetch the token I sprang off the balcony of the first (3rd-class) coach and snapped the picture at the very instant a miraculous shaft of sunlight burst through an overcast sky.

Our thrilling journey continued, we had lost a few minutes because of the miserable foreman at Tulbagh Road which made our driver even more determined. As we approached Gouda I leaned over the balcony and noticed that we were signaled through on the main line – oh boy, they were going to keep us ahead of the express..... But as I looked the board for the main line dropped back to danger and that for the third road pulled off instead. We had already reached the distant for Gouda! With a full emergency brake application our speed was brought down sufficiently for the F to take the facing points with a hair-raising lurch and we snaked into the third road. Fireworks over, I thought. But no, here comes the Gouda foreman leaping over the couplings of a freight on the second track just in time to hand the pill to our crew. Instantly the regulator was opened fully, with acceleration quite alarming for there was still the pointwork at the trailing end of the loops to negotiate. That F got out of Gouda in style indeed - as I looked back the guards van whipped first one way then the other, almost overturning on the tight-radius points. Onwards we raced, but this was a 15F, not a Condenser or a 4E and we had already come 64 miles without a drink so we had to take water at Wellington which still had its fast-watering column (the valve handle was connected to a switch that cut off the power to the overhead while the engine was being serviced). In three minutes the tender was full, just enough time to get photo 19, the last one I ever took of a 15F on a real train on the Cape Main Line south of Touws River. As I snapped it a loud PAAP told us the Express was not far away. With a clang the tender lid closed and once more we were under way. A thrilling last lap lay ahead – or so we thought. Unfortunately Operating thought otherwise. At Huguenot we were shunted, much to the chagrin of our wonderful crew. The Express came by with smug raspberries from their crew in their white dustcoats and ties. The rest was an anticlimax.

Last word on these two photos. They were taken on Anscochrome, a 60ASA colour film which appeared c 1957 and which seemed to be the answer to the problem of the slow speed (10ASA) of Kodachrome I. Had I but known that Kodachrome keeps its colour forever whereas 20 years is about the limit for Anscochrome I'd never have changed. The one at Tulbagh Road has at least retained some colour which I tried to enhance with Photoshop but the Wellington shot is practically a lost cause and is only included for sentiment’s sake.

30. To emphasise how lucky we were in 1957, here is the up Port Elizabeth “Fast Passenger” (overall average 23mph!) approaching Bellville 2½ years previously with a new-looking 254 cl 4E in charge. Looking back it seems incredible that the phasing out of the 15Fs at the Cape took so long.

31. In Part 2 I mentioned 55-down, the fish. Here it is, passing under the Koeberg Road bridge in December 1953. This all-bogie reefer express ran to the High Veld on passenger-train timings. Under the bridge you can see Don Baker holding his nose. Nowadays the fish is all transported by lorries that cause untold damage and accidents along the N1 highway. This two-lane bridge has been replaced by a veritable spaghetti junction of concrete flyovers where the multi-lane N1 crosses at right angles with the busy north-south M5.

32. Les photographed a grubby 249 cl 4E leaving Cape Town on 1-down in January 1960. It is already on the down avoiding line. We have spoken about the teething troubles with the class 4E bogies as supplied by Metropolitan Vickers. The problem was hunting which became increasingly severe from 45mph onwards. This made timekeeping difficult with fast passenger trains but was no problem at all for the Operating Department who were only too happy to keep the 4Es employed on goods traffic. By 1956 their bogie faults had been ironed out but Operating continued to maximise their utilisation, resulting in too little time to clean them properly between turns.

33. The pristine condition of the three class 5E1s and the new Blue Train date this view from the collection of Les Pivnic to 1972, shortly after retirement of the original train. Compare this official SAR photo with my amateurish effort (photo 19) taken at the same location - the Koeberg Road bridge - some 20 years earlier.

34. In March 1952 the legendary 10C No 776, which has survived to the present day, was nearing Bellville North on the temporary deviation around the earthworks for the burrowing junction mentioned in caption 15. The train is an up livestock working bound for the abattoirs of Maitland. Behind the guards van you can just see where the electrification poles start. The deviated tracks of the Stellenbosch loop can be seen on the right.

35. Until the 1970s there were only three tracks between Woltemade and Belville. The third one was mainly for freight but during rush hour it was used by passenger trains as well. In September 1953 this 15F was heading for the north with break-bulk freight direct from Table Bay Harbour along the still un-electrified third line.

36. A 15F on an up Pick-up and Tranship (P&T) paused in Stellenbosch in March 1956 - and yes, the station was pink then. By this time most of the important jobs had been taken over by the 4Es. All that was left for the Fs were some passenger links, in particular Nos 1 & 2 (these with diminishing regularity), 8, 9, 51 and 52 and the pick-ups. Because hardly any private sidings were electrified the latter would remain steam until the diesels started coming in the late seventies. By September 1957 all the Paarden Eiland Fs, had been transferred away. It would be more than 15 years before they returned to the Cape for much humbler duties.

37. Departmental workings, being non-revenue, were naturally lowest in the pecking order. During 1975 the 120ft rails between Muldersvlei and Klapmuts were replaced by continuously welded rail while at the same time re-sleepering and re-ballasting was undertaken. Until 1978 the ballast and rail trains were handled by steam. This was a poppet-valved 19C on ballast empties heading for Klipheuwel departmental quarry. Note the large box at the base of the smokebox. It looks like a toolbox but in fact is a receptacle for char thrown out by Johannes Barnard’s1 design for a self-cleaning smokebox. These must have been fairly successful because the Western Cape locomotives carried the ugly appendages around for at least 10 years.

1 Johannes Barnard, Locomotive Superintendent at the Western Cape, brother of Dr Chris Barnard the heart surgeon.