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The Caledon train © Charlie Lewis

 
1. The Caledon train, No 218-up working away from the Ruggens towards Elgin and Sir Lowry's Pass in May 1958, four years before it was unilaterally discontinued by SAR.
 
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Without sounding biased it is hard to adequately describe the part of the world where I was born. Rather let the late Sir Francis Drake do it: “This cape is a most stately thing, and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth

 

I like to imagine that the old salt formed his opinion after leading an expedition through the Boland (he didn’t).  Quite understandable then, that one of the chief exploiters of this fairest cape should be the Table Mountain Cableway.  Last year it carried 856,000 passengers.

 

Soon this will be more than a million – every year!  At an average fare of R150 that’s one hundred and fifty million rands/year collected by the cableway company. But the cableway is worth much more than that: its knock-on effect generates a conservative 15 billion rands/year from visitors to the Western Cape.

 

Why mention the cableway? 

 

Much of the Boland is threaded by branch lines penetrating some of the loveliest places on earth, and the Caledon line is no exception – in fact the views out of a train from the Hottentots Holland to the Ruggens rival anything the cableway has to offer.  How can it be that such a potential tourist moneypot has been overlooked?  The unwillingness of politicians, businessmen and railwaymen alike to think outside the box is inexplicable – they ought to be considering the new jobs that would be created by hordes of tourists riding trains and bringing in hard currency.  Whereas countries like Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the UK and many others too numerous to mention, thrive on rail-based tourism run by various public/private-sector combinations, we have only Atlantic Rail battling along with volunteer labour but with more demand than it can cope with. 

 

It is hard to understand why our branch lines have become neglected in spite of the efforts of those trying to save them.  Perhaps it is something to do with the word “heritage”.  When it is coupled with the word “apartheid” (which happens all the time) it becomes a blasphemy to present-day management.  Perhaps by concentrating on heritage rather than purely commercial considerations we are offending those in authority to the extent that they see no advantages in rail-based tourism.

 

 
2. On Good Friday, 20th April 1962 the Caledon train, No 213-down was so full it required two locomotives to pull it.  All nine coaches were crammed with passengers going home for the Easter weekend. The conductor (gripper in UK parlance) was enjoying a few moments of peace and quiet before battling with choked corridors and fare dodgers.
 
 
 
3. Early in 1962 ominous rumours began circulating that SAR was about to suppress the Caledon train.  Enquiries at the station and Paarden Eiland loco led nowhere so I asked old bashmate Don Baker (usually a fountain of knowledge) who didn't know either, but suggested contacting a new group that had started up in Cape Town - the "Railway Society of South Africa" (RSSA).  Thinking that its members might shed some light on the rumours I phoned the chairman and introduced myself as a keen enthusiast who would like to join.  This gent replied with Public School affectation: "Eau rareleh, yaw better come along and let us have a look at yaw"!  Well, toffs and me have ever been on opposite sides of the track so I never did go and that turned out to be a dead end too.
 
With still no official announcement by Easter, but rumours getting stronger, I decided to ride to Bot River and back on Good Friday, April 20th.  This turned out to be a good move as the train was made up of nine fully-loaded coaches and two 19Cs - No's 2435 and 2478.  You can see how well-filled the train was, every coach was like this.
 
 
 
4. Not yet in use, platform 1/2 of the new Cape Town station, from where this photo was taken, was built on the site of the old carriage sidings.  Our train, the 08:46 to Caledon is standing in Platform 14 of the old station while in the left background the diner and kitchen car of 203-down (newly named the "Trans-Karoo") can be seen in platform 12, awaiting its 10:00 departure.
 
The ugly box at the base of the smokebox and the fan-shaped carbuncle in front of the chimney need mentioning.  They were the culmination of long experimentation by Johannes Barnard, the assistant locomotive superintendant at Cape Town under Blackwell.  Wheatland fires in the Western Cape were the bane of farmer's lives, as well as SAR who had to pay out the claims so Barnard invented a way of blowing char out of the smokebox when the engine was standing in non-sensitive places such as at waterstops.  While on the run, excess char was supposed to be diverted into the box.  The consensus among railwaymen at the time was that these modifications were not entirely effective and this led to further, even more bizarre experimentation as we shall see in forthcoming chapters.
 
 
 
5. In much happier days, soon after the 19Cs arrived at the Cape c 1937, Eric Manken found 213-down leaving Bellville with a motley assortment of SAR and CGR day/sleepers.  Thanks to Pierre de Wet for providing this classic photo from his collection.
 
 
6. In December 1954 it seemed such scenes would carry on forever.  That's the conductor in the 4th coach waving to the guard that all his passengers got on or off at Bellville OK and the guard in turn will wave his green flag at the fireman indicating that the driver may carry on accelerating away from the station stop.  

Probably breaking every regulation in the American rule book but not the less severe SAR one, the two old trackworkers sitting on a stock rail were supposed to be cleaning and lubricating the points.  On the right is an almost new S2 0-8-0 (Krupp, 1953) on the Bellville goods yard shunt.  When delivered those 100 S2s put a lot of 6th classes out of work, and in a forthcoming chapter we'll show some of them lined up in a back road at Bellville awaiting their fate.
 
 

7.  We've reached Firgrove now, making slow but steady progress with 213-down.  The North British standard industrial 4-8-2T in the background is African Explosives and Chemical Industries's (AE&CI)'s green-painted No 3 "Ryan Fry".  February 1962. 

The name of AE&CI's tank engine intrigued John Carter who googled it.  Turns out that Ryan Fry was an RAF pilot killed in action in 1940 during the Battle of Britain.  He had three brothers, two of whom played representative rugby - Stephen, who played on the flank for the Springboks and Dennis, flyhalf for Western Province.

 
 
8. On 10 October 1973 the RSSA organised a goodbye to Paarden Eiland's last 8th class, No 1132 cl 8B, suitably painted CGR green, seen here between Firgrove and Somerset West.  Six coaches was an ambitious load for Sir Lowry's Pass but she did it with aplomb (well, not quite.  She needed a blow-up and assist on this side but came up the pass from the Elgin side without a hitch).  The trip was overbooked so they subsequently ran another with enough coaches to justify doubleheading with a 14CRB - also fully booked.  Unfortunately the weather was bad. 

Incidentally, that's AE&CI's dynamite factory in the background. Also visible is False Bay, backed by the mountains of the Cape Peninsula.
 
 
 
9. Les's picture featured in the previous chapter but no apologies for showing it again as it is appropriate.  At 09:56 the Caledon train had a booked connection with the Strand shuttle on the right.
 
 
 
10. The shuttle has gone and the Caledon train is heading up the line to Van der Stel and Sir Lowry's Pass.
 
 
 
11. All engines stopped at Sir Lowry's Pass to fill their tanks, for a fire-clean and a general oil around. The station nameboard tells us we're 304 feet above sea level.  In the next nine miles we'll climb 1,100 feet to the summit tunnel, which the line can be seen approaching just to the right of the telegraph pole.  The timetable allows us 41 minutes from here to Steenbras siding, a mile the other side of the summit. For a single engine with 7 coaches this was a challenge.
 
 
 
While our engines are being serviced let us pause for a moment to study Bruno's map. The thick red line marks the course of the railway.  As you can see, the route hugs the foothills of the Hottentots Holland all the way up.  The alignment is severe with many check-railed 5-chain reverse curves - that horseshoe beyond Knorhoek on the full 1-in-40 invariably brought engines down to their hands and knees.  The panorama just before plunging into the tunnel is one of Africa's most memorable, with False Bay and Table Mountain beyond it on the left and the sweep of the Boland ranges to the right.
 
 
 
12. Whereas a singleheader was allowed an optimistic seven minutes for the service stop at Sir Lowry's Pass a doubleheader needed more than double the time because of having to draw up twice to the water chute and (in later years) the ashpit.  There was plenty of time for pictures - just imagine these scenes in today's digital world.
 
 
13. Take no notice of the numbers painted on the driving wheels, our front engine was 2435 and that's her driver oiling around. 
 
This is a good view of the rotary-cam operated valve gear for the poppet valves with which all 50 of the 19Cs were equipped.  Somehow that camshaft with its universal joints look a bit flimsy, and according to Roelf van Wyngaardt who did his apprenticeship on 15Es with the identical equipment, they were.  Roelf tells of unscrupulous crews who would give the knuckle of a universal joint a sharp blow with a 4lb hammer thus causing it to shear clean off and fail the engine if they wanted to attend a rugby match - or whatever. 
 
The formidable climb to the summit is clear in this photo, that's it almost straight above the driver's head.
 
 
14. A few drops more in the tender of No 2478 and we'll be ready to roll.
 
 
15. The Caledon train was also one of my Father's favourites, but after the service was discontinued he loved to go on railtours.  This was a Cape Town Society of Model Engineers (CTSMEE) special on the slopes below Knorhoek some time in 1965 - just look at the fabulous twin diner.
 
 
16. The penultimate trip of 1132 up the pass was hampered by the fact that her fireman wasn't used to the long (almost 10ft) and narrow (2ft-3") grate of this class so they had to stop for a blow-up.  This took place almost exactly where we had set up for a photo!  Restarting with 6 coaches on the 1-in-40 proved too much for the old girl so a GEA (complete with its train) was roped in to assist.
 

17. After some delay and some furious slipping the whole lash-up got under way and set off for the summit - 1132 doing her bit with her six coaches and the GEA with mt FZ grain wagons for the Overberg wheatlands.  By the afternoon 1132's fireman had worked out how to keep her satisfied and the return journey up to Steenbras from the Elgin side went off without a hitch.  As you can see, the train was crammed full of passengers and check those ragamuffin press photographers looking sheepish by the lineside (spot the writer).  The Health and Safety boys would have a field day with such a situation today - all those dangerous wooden carriages with passenger's lives in jeopardy.

 
18.  Dad took this one of a normal service train nearing the summit some time during 1959.  The 19C is lifting her exhaust high.
 
 
19. The 19C on 213-down accelerating away from Steenbras siding in May 1958.  The original N2 ran parallel to the railway for a couple of miles at this point and this was an early experiment with a new technique for me - chasing trains by car!  (Of course I knew that the railway circle photographers were already doing this in the twenties). But my old 1939 Morris Series E, four cylinder, side valve, 850cc with three-speed box and top speed (with a following wind) of 50 mph had its work cut out to keep pace even with the Caledon train so there was only one photo between each stop.  Also, there were no maintenance roads alongside the track in those days so any ambitious lineside photography meant a lot of foot slogging.
 
 
 
20. By 1962 I had advanced to an Austin A40 so was better able to get ahead.  Towards the end of the life of this wonderful train, No 2473 was rolling into Elgin, in May 1962. 
 
 
 
21. This is the 2nd of a series of four photos of train 213-down with locomotive 2473 at Elgin on 31st May 1962.  As can be seen, the stationmaster was very houseproud, he kept his station and yard immaculate.
 
 
 
 
22. By the end of May the cavernous fruit-loading shelters were standing empty (nowadays they're permanently empty!). In the third of the series 213-down has stopped for passengers but soon will be under way again.
 
 
 
23. To break up that boring sequence of black and whites here is a colour one of 213 down at Elgin in May 1958, the very same one that I chased down from Steenbras (photo 18) and only just made it.
 
 
 
24. The last of the sequence shows No 2473 accelerating past 4116 cl GMA which had arrived earlier that morning on a test run from Cape Town.
 
 
 
25. Meanwhile, back on board 213-down on 20th April 1962 we were snaking downhill from Groenrug (formerly Lebanon) towards Houwhoek around a succession of comparatively wide-radius reverse curves but the one immediately ahead of our train at this point was a sneaky 5-chain reverse curve leading into the station.  Trains had to crawl around those curves at a maximum speed of 20mph, something that the driver of 213-down on 3 May 1957 failed to do, with tragic consequences.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
26/27/28: The aftermath of the overturning accident at milepost 60/1 on 3 May 1957.  Note the underframe of the 3rd-class coach which had been coupled immediately behind the tender.  It ran past the overturned tender and locomotive which completely stripped its flimsy wooden superstructure.
 
 
 
 
 
For permission to reproduce this riveting account of the accident and subsequent enquiry we are indebted to the publisher of "Railways Africa" Ms Barbara Sheat, and editor, Rollo Dickson.  The author was the late Wally Brass who was a senior engineer in the office of the Chief Civil Engineer when he retired.
 
 
 
29. Ravenscroft made this marvellous photo of the hamlet of Houwhoek c 1905.  The curve where the accident happened is below the grassy knoll on the left, shortly before the warning board for Houwhoek.  Halfway up the right-hand edge is the siding, you can just make out a type F short covered van standing at the goods platform.  On the the same level left of the siding you can see the pointed roof and chimney of the Houwhoek Inn, already more than sixty years old.  That little 4-wheeled van had brought a week's supply of groceries for the hotel, a service that continued for almost eighty years. The cleft in the line of hills in the left background is Houwhoek Pass (see pictures 32 and 33).
 
 
 
30. My old Morris just managed to beat 213-down to Houwhoek in its sylvan setting.
 
 
 
31. Many passengers disembarked from the Easter 1962 train and made for the hotel, which is just across the tracks.  That's my old mate Vernon Wilson, his new wife Sylvia and little sister Lynn under the oak tree.
 
 
 
32. Not more than three or four years after George Pauling the contractor had completed the railway through Houwhoek Pass, Ravenscroft made several photos of it.  I have chosen this one as it shows the road constructed by Andrew Geddes Bain in 1846 although it looks as if the road had to be deviated to accommodate the railway at this point.
 
 
 
33. Almost fifty years later, but with a camera that performed woefully compared to Ravenscroft's pin-sharp glass-plate equipment, my late Dad was riding an Easter doubleheader through the lower gorge, almost at the same location as photo 31.
 
 
34.  Bot River.  My last trip on the Caledon train ended here on Good Friday, 20th April 1962.  We got off and waited for 218-up with which we would return to Cape Town.  Unusually, our doubleheaded 213-down overtook a very late-running doubleheaded 273-down tranship and perishables parked in the 3rd road to make room for 218-up.  After the discontinuation of the passenger train a single tri-compo van was attached to 273-down and its opposite number, 244-up on Fridays and Sundays, of which more anon.   
 
 
 
35. And we're back with 213-down on 31st May 1962 which I followed from Elgin to Caledon, here running between Mission and Caledon slap through the middle of a farmyard.  Note the traditional Cape architecture of the Ruggens.  The simple but harmonious style developed over centuries blended perfectly with the countryside.
 
 
 
36. The Caledon train arriving in Caledon station - always busy in those days it justified a permanently-allocated shunting engine, which we shall see more of in the chapters about the extensive freight services on this line.
 
 
 
37. One of the handsome Watson railcars about to leave Caledon for Bredasdorp c mid 1930s.  This was a booked connection (both ways) with the Cape Town service and took a leisurely 3hrs 21 minutes to cover the 68 miles. 
 
Thanks to Les for further information about these vehicles: "RM 16 was one of 18 similar passenger vehicles placed in service between 1929 and 1932 for service on SAR branch lines. Two of those placed in service were built for the CFM leaving 16 in SAR service. These successful railcars were designed by A G Watson CME and all were built in Durban Shops. They worked on branch lines on several SAR Systems but also did limited work on some main lines where full passenger trains were not cost-effective.

They were all equipped with two Hudson 6-cylinder motors which could be used in unison or separately to propel the vehicle on easier grades.
 
One of these vehicles - no.25 - was rebuilt as a private vehicle for the SAR Health Officer (Dr Booker) and was fitted with a laboratory, sleeping compartments and lounge in the 1930s. It was probably the only self-propelled private saloon on the SAR."
 
 
 
38. Les also sent the official SAR diagram of this vehicle
 
 
39. The last Caledon passenger train left Cape Town at 08:46 on Saturday 28th July 1962, arriving in Caledon at 13:33.  Its opposite number left Caledon at 11:00, arriving in Cape Town at 15:50. As so often happens, after radical changes things fall apart. 
 
After July 1962 it was still possible to travel to or from Caledon by train for another 22 years if you were in dire straits, or a foolhardy railway enthusiast, as the advertised service (a tiny note in the passenger timetable) was a tri-compo day coach attached to the T&Ps, overnight from both ends.  This required those commencing their journey in Cape Town to change at Bellville (at 22:30!). In the usual casual SAR fashion, at weekends carriages were attached to certain daytime trains, as in this case.  Far from being publicised, these did not even feature in the Working Time Books (WTBs) - such attachments were authorised by the Local Appendix - only railwaymen and a few of the local population knew about them!  What is more, they could run ahead of time so it was a good idea to get to the station an hour or so early. 
 
Such a train was 264-up, 07:15 off Caledon, shown here in John's magnificent photo on Langhoogte, the long climb from Mission to De Vlei in July 1975.
 
 
 
40. It was difficult to find out with any degree of reliability which trains would have passenger accommodation for apart from the Friday and Sunday overnight T&Ps there seemed to be no recognisable pattern to the workings - they weren't even mentioned in the WTBs, let alone the public timetables.  This was 246-up, 16:45 off Caledon in December 1975, descending from De Vlei to the bridge over the Bot River and the tall mountain on the left is Babilonstoring (the Tower of Babel). 
 
 
41. From earliest times, Bot River, Elgin and Sir Lowry's Pass were the servicing stops between Caledon and Cape Town.  This was 4015 cl GEA on 264-up having a service at Bot River in July 1975 preparatory to tackling Houwhoek Pass. It is not generally known that the difference in altitude from the Bot River crossing to the siding at Groenrug (formerly Lebanon) is almost 1000ft, most of it in the seven miles between the river and Houwhoek.
 
 
42.   First Garratts to work the Caledon line were the GDs from 1926 onwards.  After the NCCR was absorbed by SAR in 1925 their class GKs were moved to the Caledon line.  I have been unable to find out how long they worked here but they were much lighter than the GDs so not such a useful traffic machine.  Eric took this photo of No 2220 cl GD on the up passenger (it was 282-up in those days) right next to the Caledon road some time in the early 1930s.  The train is just about to enter the lower reaches of Houwhoek Pass.
 
 
43. At long weekends and even on normal Fridays and Mondays the train could load sufficiently to require doubleheading.  This was 218-up with a pair of 19Cs in Houwhoek Pass in May 1958
 
 
 
44. Entering the gorge carved by the Houwhoek river on our return journey from Bot River on 20th April 1962.  The gent with the white hair halfway along the coach ahead is the late A G MacMahon, at that time chairman of the CTSME and a modeller of the highest calibre of the Great Northern Railway in gauge one.  
 
 
45.  In those last few weeks of the passenger workings a 19C brings 218-up across the lower of the two bridges over the Houwhoek River.
 
 
 
46. The same train on a spectacular stretch of line between two cuttings through solid sandstone.  The nomad ex-CSAR Limited Express coach 4656 (2nd in consist) was used quite frequently in this service at that time.
 
 
 
47. Framed by some fine Witels bushes with characteristic silvery pointed leaves, 218-up crosses the upper bridge over the Houwhoek river.  Note how alien Australian black wattle has already clogged the water course. 
 
 
48. Classic view of the upper bridge as seen from just above Andrew Geddes Bain's road, which you can see on the right hand edge. 
 
 
49. Back on our Easter 1962 excursion we paused for passengers at Houwhoek.  The damsel in the first window is wife Melly complete with anti-cinder doek.  She is quite unaware of the original Watson bogie underneath her! The coach immediately behind the engine is a brand-new and uninspiring Union Carriage caboose, probably for the operating inspector.  It definitely wasn't allocated to the Cape Circuit - no self-respecting Judge would be seen dead in a tin box like this one.  

The hotel at Houwhoek is but a stone's throw from the siding. In early days trains used to dally here long enough for passengers to have their lunch.  Later, dining cars were used on the Caledon run as the town grew in popularity thanks to its therapeutic hot baths.
 
 
 
50.  SAR's official photographer made this fine photo of 218-up coming up the verdant valley above Houwhoek siding, c 1948. Les suggests the first coach behind the engine is the Baldwin dynamometer car No 60. Perhaps they were using it to see if a few minutes could be clipped off the Caledon timing.  If so, they didn't succeed (see the conclusion). 
 
 
 
 
51 & 52. I quote from the SAR&H magazine (don't have the date yet): "The photographs reproduced here are illustrative of an accident which occurred on the Caledon line near Lebanon* at a spot 36½ miles from Cape Town, on the 17th March last.  The engine and four coaches, including the dining car, left the rails and came to rest against the bank of the cutting. Fortunately no one was injured.  The photos are by Mr A C Cripps."
 
Thanks to Lionel Penning for this interesting cutting that briefly reports a derailment that occurred "near Lebanon"*.  If this is correct then the distance mentioned should be more than 57 miles from Cape Town.  Note the class 7 locomotive.  Classes six and seven were used more or less indiscriminately on the Caledon line, the former were used as helper engines on doubleheaders right into the 1950s.
 
* The original name of the siding today called Groenrug and a much more appropriate one as it was named after the forestry station on which the railway station is situated.  
 
 
53. At two o'clock on a winter's morning in July 1971 all was furious activity around the 19Cs of 246-up T&P at Elgin to prepare them for the final 8-mile pitch to the summit of Sir Lowry's Pass half-a-mile beyond Steenbras siding. 
 
This was the advertised working for the up mixed (for that is what it was in effect) which left Caledon at 22:55.  Its passengers were carried in accordance with this note in the WTB: "On Fridays and Sundays passenger accommodation will be provided from Caledon.  Passengers to join numbers 200 or 204 at Firgrove for Cape Town" (my emphasis).  The mixed was booked to arrive at Firgrove at 04:24 and its connection, 204-up (a Cape suburban EMU), at 05:33 or 200-up even later, at 06:15, so an hour and ten minutes to wait in a rudimentary waiting room, perhaps on a freezing winter morning.  No worries mate!
 
246-up and opposite number 273-down T&P were used to ferry locomotives proceeding to or from their three-weekly boiler washouts at Paarden Eiland.  These were the only regular doubleheaded workings beyond Elgin and almost impossible to photograph in daylight except for 273-down in midsummer beyond Bot River.
 
 
 
54. Halfway up the continuous 7-mile 1-in-40 from Elgin to Steenbras and how good does 1132 look in her CGR livery?  This was the return working of the RSSA's trip to Elgin on Paul Kruger day, 10th October 1973. That looks like Alec Watson in Loco Inspector's kit on the footplate.

 
55. I'm afraid we're jumping backwards and forwards in time, if not geographically.  We're over the summit of Sir Lowry's Pass and descending to the village of that name, c 1935 in this shot from the train by Eric Mankin.  Note the usual motley array of carriages as laid on by the Cape Western system.
 
 
56.  We'll say goodbye to 1132 and the RSSA excursion after this.  The cute (and genuine) CGR splitting home signal is directing the train into the platform road at Sir Lowry's Pass. 
 
 
57.  Meanwhile, on Good Friday 1962 I took my last photo of the last train I rode on the Caledon line.  The mountain we have just descended is like a wall in the background and you can just make out the course of the railway.  It isn't the steep white slash made by the Provincial Roads Department when they widened the road.  The railway is on a flatter gradient momentarily vanishing behind the top flange of the chimney of our engine.
 
 
 
58. A barely restored photo taken during my disastrous flirtation with Anscochrome in 1957/8 - only about a quarter of the photos I took over a period of 18 months have survived.  Included here for several reasons: the train is 218-up, doubleheaded even though it was just a normal weekend in October 1957; pictures of Van der Stel, the junction for Somerset Strand, are rare; the interesting stacked starter signals are for trains to Sir Lowry's Pass (the top one) and Somerset Strand - the branch takes off to the right immediately beyond the end of the platform.  Note the neatly-attired station foreman handing over the tablet for the section to Somerset West.
 
 
 
59. Quite literally, the 19As, introduced in 1929, ran like Swiss watches.  They were built by SLM and did not disappoint.  Frank Holland was taking inch-perfect pictures already in the twenties.  How about this one of No 697 on the up Caledon, coming through Woltemade No 1, c 1930?
 
 
 
60. For many years it was the unusual custom of the CGR and the Cape Western System to run the heavier engine of a doubleheader in front, thus 19C piloting 6th class (here west of Bellville) was a familiar sight on Caledon trains.  This was the combination which hauled us the first time I ever rode the line - to Bot River in March 1951.

Unfortunately none of my box camera photos of that trip are worthy of this column so I scanned in this one from Allen Jorgensen's fine article on Strand trains and the Caledon line in SA Transport for May 1977.  And while we are on the subject it is appropriate to name all the different classes that were used on the line up until 1990:
 
1903 - 1926: classes 6, 7 & 8.
 
1926 - 1935: classes 6, 8, GD, GK, 19A, 19B
 
1935 - 1976: classes 1, 6, 8, 14CRB, 19C, GEA and (briefly) GMA
 
1976 - 1990: class 35
 
These dates are approximate.  If anyone would like to pinpoint them more accurately I should be grateful.
 
 
61. 19Cs were the mainstay of the service for 40 years from 1935, only now is this record coming under threat as the diesel's 40th year looms in 2016.  In June 1956, 218-up was coasting into its stop at Salt River.  The solid, rather than handsome, junction signal cabin built in 1928 is on the right.  Note the neatly-attired railway policeman on the left - what a contrast to today's morbidly obese, lounging louts in dirty day-glo jackets masquerading as "security" officers.  
 
 
62. We're almost home as yet another 19C brings 218-up past Fort Knocke (where the Avoiding line takes off) in mid 1955.  The terminus's welcoming Platform 12 is barely a mile ahead. On the right is the biscuit factory which in recent years was converted into a chic boutique shopping centre and craft mall where Cape Town's glitterati (that's an oxymoron if ever I heard one) like to hang out and be seen.
 
With your indulgence, I will close this chapter with a summary of the service over the years (the distance by rail is 87 miles or 140 km):
 
1912:  Cape Town - Caledon: Depart 08:15; Arrive 15:23; elapsed time 7hrs 08 minutes, average speed 12mph
1912:  Caledon - Cape Town: Depart 10:30; Arrive 17:25; elapsed time 6hrs 55 minutes, average speed 13mph
 
1921:  Cape Town - Caledon: Depart 08:15; Arrive 14:06; elapsed time 5hrs 51 minutes, average speed 15mph
1921:  Caledon - Cape Town: Depart 11:37; Arrive 17:39; elapsed time 6hrs 02 minutes, average speed 14mph
 
1941:  Cape Town - Caledon: Depart 08:35; Arrive 13:21; elapsed time 4hrs 46 minutes, average speed 18mph
1941:  Caledon - Cape Town: Depart 10:50; Arrive 15:40; elapsed time 4hrs 50 minutes, average speed 18mph
 
1950:  Cape Town - Caledon: Depart 08:48; Arrive 13:33; elapsed time 4hrs 45 minutes, average speed 18mph
1950:  Caledon - Cape Town: Depart 10:55; Arrive 15:46; elapsed time 4hrs 51 minutes, average speed 18mph
 
1960:  Cape Town - Caledon: Depart 08:46; Arrive 13:33; elapsed time 4hrs 47 minutes, average speed 18mph
1960:  Caledon - Cape Town: Depart 11:00; Arrive 15:50; elapsed time 4hrs 50 minutes, average speed 18mph
 
The Down and Up trains generally crossed at Bot River, this was great for a day excursion from Cape Town.  Even though the journey was slow the scenery was sublime and, as always with steam, there never was a dull moment. As you can see, there was very little improvement to the timings over the years, and none at all in the final two decades. 
 
 
 
There have been several people involved in this chapter, without whom it would have been impossible.  Apart from the usual suspects, Les Pivnic, Bruno Martin and Andrew Deacon, with much gratitude I acknowledge vital input from the following (alphabetically): Dave Battison, John Carter, Pierre de Wet, Tony Elliot, Wally Greig, Chris Jeffery, Leith Paxton, Lionel Penning, Peter Stow.... (the dots are in case I've forgotten anybody. If I have please put it down to senility and I beg your forgiveness).