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Braamfontein West to Klerksdorp (home signal) (2) by Les Pivnic ©

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Continuing on from the last segment, this chapter is carried forward from the early 1960s to the early 1990s which in effect, goes slightly beyond our basic cut-off point of 1990 and the end of the SAR/SATS era.

You will see the old Blue Train still in service and electric locomotives still carrying green livery.  There is also a somewhat nostalgic visit to Fochville when it was a quiet little branchline from Potchefstroom.

Mining activity in the Carletonville area caused several dangerous sinkholes, some close to the main line west of Bank to Oberholzer. Between 1978 and 1980 the main line was deviated at several points to avoid the danger of sink-holes affecting the stability of the track.  In previous years, these sections were almost straight but the Administration found it necessary to deviate the line quite extensively.  The map used in Part 1 and again with this Part 2 shows the original location of the main line in that vicinity.  

This extract from the 1:50 000 map published in 2005 by the Chief Directorate, Surveys and Mapping shows the current alignment as well as the limits of the sinkhole area.

We will also take a trip out to Potchefstroom AFTER the Fochville branch became part of a new main line link between Houtheuwel (previously Houtkop) and Potch in 1966. This was the third route linking Johannesburg with Potchefstroom as described in section 1 of this chapter. 

The new Blue Trains placed in revenue traffic in September 1972 were housed in a special purpose-built shed in Pretoria unlike their predecessors which had been stabled in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.  For some years they worked through to Johannesburg en route to the Cape using the routes as described.  However, in later years the Blue Train would in fact travel from Pretoria via Redan and Houtheuwel (near Vereeniging) direct to Potchefstroom via Fochville – effectively cutting out Johannesburg altogether – a sad day indeed! 

The trip to Potchefstroom, organised by the RSSA Reef Branch was led by Harry Ostrofsky who at that time was System Signal Engineer, WesternTransvaal.  After having a look at the Signal Control Room at New Canada, Harry showed us the new high-speed turnout installed at Loopspruit – a passing loop on the new main line.  We then went on to Potchefstroom itself where we visited the Siemens Signal Control panel in the new cabin.

We then move on to 1969 and an unlikely place to see a class 16E!  This is followed by a few shots of the special Blue Train working to Cape Town and return.

The alternative route to Bank via Midway from Johannesburg, opened in 1938, was destined to host the high speed tests conducted by Dr Herbert Scheffel and his team in 1978.

The section used for the tests was between Westonaria and Midway which provided a long straight to allow the train to accelerate – reach the projected maximum and then decelerate to conclude the test.  On 31 October 1978, SAR became the world record holder for speed on the 3ft 6in gauge!  Modified class 6E1 No 1525 reached 245km/hr!  The Loco Inspector at the controls was Mr C M Engelbrecht.  Driver George van Jaarsveld was also on the footplate.  These tests proved that the SAR had overcome the perceived speed limitations of the 3ft 6in gauge.  A photo of this test train at speed is included in this segment.

The tests would also lead to the eventual introduction of a regular high speed express service between Pretoria and Johannesburg in January 1984.  Known as the “Metroblitz” the service lasted only 12months being suspended – not due to its own shortcomings.  The problem was that the train did not enjoy the luxury of a dedicated line and the disruption to the OTHER services sharing the route became untenable. 

On to 1989 which was the year that saw a partial return to steam traction on passenger trains between Johannesburg and Klerksdorp.  I refer to the special arrangement that was organised by staff at the Electric Running Shed, Braamfontein with the System Manager’s blessing and which also probably carried the approval of the System Locomotive Superintendent, Mr Park as well as Mr Helmut Hagen, AGM (Tech). This arrangement initially allowed ex Beaconsfield driver Johan Harmse to bring 25NC No 3476 to Braamfontein to work the Trans Karoo Express to Klerksdorp on Fridays only.  It was later extended to include the return inbound working of the Trans Karoo ex Klerksdorp on Saturdays.  Johan Harmse had Polla van Rensburg and Dolf Swart with him on the 25NC’s footplate.  There would have also been other staff involved but I don’t have their names in my records – my apologies to them!

The 25NC was stabled at the ERS in Braamfontein – imagine a steam loco stationed in an electric running shed!  She was polished to perfection and over the following months got even better – so much so that I think that she was one of the cleanest engines that I have ever seen and believe me, over the years, I saw many beautifully polished engines on the SAR.  Initially, her smoke deflector plates were painted plain grey but later blue striping was added.  Then, with the compliance of management, Johan got another couple of 25NCs to add to “his stable” – engines 3404 and 3422.  These were also given the supershine treatment! 

To top all this, there were occasionally guest appearances from engines from Sheds on the East Rand.  Class 15F 3135 from Springs and 25NC 3472 from Germiston did a few trips working the Trans Karoo to Klerksdorp.  They were also smartly turned out by their respective Sheds.  The Springs 15F 3135 showed that she could match her younger sisters on this turn – putting in a very fine performance! The green-liveried 25NC 3407 “Pauline” (named after Helmut Hagen’s wife) was also used on the odd trip as a guest engine from Krugersdorp Loco.

It didn’t take long before Johan arranged for the train to be double-headed by two 25NCs. What a sight to see two beautifully polished NCs at the head of a top-link express in the 1990s! 

On 16 May 1990, Johan reached the pinnacle!  After working two short trips from Johannesburg to Pretoria, he was granted the opportunity to work the new Blue Train as one-off trip from Johannesburg to Klerksdorp.  What an achievement!  I made a video of this historic event but fortunately, I am able to include a Roger Perry still photo of the NC charging up Hamburg Bank behind 3476 which carried the name of GRIET.

The twilight of main line steam working dominates this segment and I offer no apologies for that – it was rather special!


This is in fact the final segment covering the Johannesburg – Klerksdorp main line and indeed it is also the final chapter dealing with the Western Transvaal System.  This System was renamed the Southern Transvaal Region after the Administration adopted the new title of South African Transport Services – SATS.


1. In August 1962 I took a trip on an EMU out to Klerksdorp and at New Machavie we were put into the loop to allow the north-bound Trans Karoo to pass unhindered.  Note the assistant on the 5E with tablet in hand and my driver with his arm outstretched.  Unfortunately I can’t recall if the assistant was about to throw the tablet holder to my driver or whether he had just thrown it across to the unit.  An interesting exchange of tablet – either way!  

2. Two 5Es were caught in action near Frederickstad working the north-bound Trans Karoo to Johannesburg in September 1963.  Note the extended pantographs to allow height over the level crossing just behind the camera.  In those days the Trans Karoo was a prestige train conveying 1st and 2nd class only.  A lounge car was part of the regular consist.   

3. Here we have two class 5Es working 2Up, the Blue Train to Cape Town just west of Potchefstroom approaching Crescent Bank in September 1963.  If you look closely you should notice that the driver is a grey-haired gentleman of vast experience on  the footplate.  In those days only drivers “special grade” were allowed to handle the Blue Train and it took 15 years to reach that level of competency.  

4. This is the original station at Fochville when it was still the terminus of a branch line from Potchefstroom.  This was all about to change as this line was going to be rebuilt to main line standards and extended eastwards to Houtkop on the Vereeniging – Midway line – thus providing an additional link to Potchefstroom from Johannesburg.  I decided to visit Fochville in November 1963 to record a few scenes of the branch before it changed character completely.  Note the little British Ford “Popular” under the station canopy.  This car was a cheaper version of the Ford Anglia.  

5. Class 19D 2755 has just arrived from Potchefstroom with a mixed train.  Note the clearance of the ground to the left of the engine – this was already in preparation for the new main lines and station that would soon appear on the scene.   

6. Looking eastwards past the water tank is the stop-block of the line.  The 19D was probably wondering what she would do when the line was rebuilt?  This photo symbolically represented the end of the line in the real sense of the word!  The yellow and red number plate indicated that this engine was a Klerksdorp locomotive sub-shedded at Potch probably for two weeks at a time.  

7. On the way out to Fochville in 1963 I came across this Johannesburg tram at the Kraalkop Hotel.  Sadly she slowly deteriorated over the ensuing years and she was finally scrapped.  She had known better days when she was part of a batch of fifty that were ordered from Metropolitan-Cammell in the UK to coincide with the British Empire Exhibition held at Milner Park in Johannesburg.  These cars initially provided a direct express service between the city and Milner Park.  After that they were placed in general service of the Johannesburg Tramways.  

8. Witpoortjie 10th of May 1964 saw the Trans Karoo go through with a 5E1 leading a 5E on this prestige train en route to Cape Town.  The varied livery of the units and the coaching stock was typical of those times after the Administration had adopted a new colour scheme for all electric and diesel locomotives as well as passenger stock in 1960. It took time to see uniformity of colour again because rolling stock was only repainted in the new livery when undergoing programmed heavy repairs.  

9. Another shot of the same train shows one of the Wegmann-built type A-37/AA-38 twin air-conditioned diners in Imperial Brown livery in the mixed-liveried consist. The coach immediately ahead of the diner was one of the Union Carriage-built lounge cars placed in service in 1963.  

10. The Blue Train near Roodepoort-Wes in April 1966 with two class 5E1s in charge. New Union-Carriage lounge cars replaced the originals in 1963 and remained in service on these trains until 1972 when the new Blue Trains were placed in service.  Unfortunately, the new cars roof-line didn’t match the originals and they tended to spoil the elegant clerestory roof-line.  

11. This going away shot clearly shows the lounge car with its elliptical roof-line.  These trains were kept immaculate right up until their replacement in 1972.  

12. Seen between Boskop and Klington in October 1966 – two 5E1s 830 & 856 working the Blue Train to Klerksdorp.  One would have thought that Braamfontein ERS would have dedicated units in blue livery to work this train but it never happened until the advent of the new Blue Trains in 1972.  

13. The same train as seen in the previous photo – this time heading out of Potchefstroom and making haste towards Crescent Bank.  The original lounge cars 695 & 696 should have been retained on the two Blue sets – look at the out-of-character UCW lounge car in the consist.  The Administration obviously didn’t share my view on this – the UCW cars remaining in service until 1972 when the new Blue sets were placed in traffic.  

14. Moving on to 1968, this 5M train is passing Croesus on its way to Soweto.  These “N” sets were made up of 11 vehicles of which 3 were motor coaches.  Note the double-slip operated by electric point machines to the left of the train. The quadruple main line went as far as Nancefield from Langlaagte.   

15. In 1968 the Trans Karoo was using the Fochville route to Potchefstroom and is seen here in December of that year passing Croesus on route to Klerksdorp with 5E1 905 leading and 5E 341 in charge.  Due to stone throwing problems by Sowetan residents, this train would eventually revert to the old route via Krugersdorp and Bank.     

16. Two class 31 diesels nos.31.042 & 31.009 trundle past Grosvenor (district Mayfair) in 1968 with a mixed goods load heading towards Braamfontein.  It is safe to assume that they had worked the train off the Zeerust line.  

17. On 23 February 1969, Harry Ostrofsky led an RSSA outing to Potchefstroom, calling in at several places on the way out.  Our first stop was the modern control room at New Canada on the main lines to Midway. As can be seen from the track diagram, it is one of those rare places at the crossroads of two four-track main lines - a complex junction controlling incoming lines from Langlaagte, and the Rand Mineral Line (Booysens) as well as the routes forward to Midway and Naledi.  

18. Our next stop was at a passing loop on the Fochville line known as Loopspruit.  This loop was used as a test-bed for high-speed turnouts.  Note the two speed boards on the right – they BOTH indicate 45miles per hour!  In other words it didn’t matter whether you were routed into the loop or not – the driver could maintain the same speed!  

19. While we were at Loopspruit the Cape-bound Trans Karoo express came through behind a pair of 5E1 units.  Of interest in this photo is that the leading 1st & 2nd class reserved saloon is a type C-22 articulated saloon which had started out in Union Limited service in 1928 and here she is – still serving a top link passenger train 41 years later!  

20. Here is the movable frog of the high-speed turnout at Loopspruit.  Apparently, this was the key to its success.   An electric points motor controlled the movement of the frog.  

21. The north-bound Tran Karoo also passed us while we were at Loopspruit.  All in all we had a very interesting stop-over at Loopspruit.  

22. Our final destination was the Siemens control room at Potchefstroom.  Harry provided us with a good run-down on what the control room’s functions were.  It was fascinating to see how modern signalling worked.   Judging by the expression on the face of the bloke in the top-left of the photo, I don’t think that he was happy with all these guys crowding his domain!  

23. A general view of the CTC control room at Potchefstroom – at that time it seemed pretty sophisticated and right up there with the latest signalling technology!  Sadly, I understand that many such control rooms now stand out of service and the Train Control Officers use two-way radio to talk to each other and the staff driving the trains.  

24. On 9 April 1969 one wouldn’t have expected to find a class 16E in Welverdiend Yard!  Well, here is engine 859 at the head of a test-load of cement ready to depart for Krugersdorp via Bank.  This was all arranged as part of the preliminary tests to see if a 16E could handle such a load in the form of the Blue Train WITH an additional lounge car in the consist.  The S class on the right must have wondered what was going on.  

25. Driver P.J.A. van Wyk was booked to work the special Blue Train on its return leg from Klerksdorp to Johannesburg and he was now at the throttle to work this test run.  Engine 859 steamed out of Welverdiend Yard majestically with her load of cement wagons which approximated to the load of the Blue Train.  

26. As she steamed past there was no sign of any slipping – she just picked up her load and set off for Krugersdorp.   She would have made her designer, A G Watson, very proud!  

27. Here she is at speed heading towards Oberholzer – driver van Wyk was enjoying himself!   The real test would come between Bank and Randfontein where a few tough grades would be encountered.   

28. Now for the real test!  859 had just left Bank and would soon encounter the tough climb towards Randfontein.  According to her driver, she did it in fine style!  This raises the question as to why the 16Es were transferred away to Bloemfontein from Kimberley in 1939 when the air-conditioned steel stock came into service on the Union Limited/Express trains.  There were doubts whether a 16E could handle to load.  Well, here was proof that she not only handled the standard 12 saloon load – she coped with an extra air-conditioned lounge car to boot!    

29. On the 11th of April 1969 a very special event kicked off.  The Blue Train set off from Johannesburg en route to Cape Town – steam-hauled all the way – a journey of almost 1000 miles!  The first leg from Johannesburg to Klerksdorp was worked by class 16E 855 with driver Cooper in charge.  Roger Perry took this photo just west of Randfontein. Frankly, I always felt that headboard was an affront to the dignity and proud tradition of the Blue Train.   

30. Roger got another shot of the train as it steamed into Potchefstroom.  The 16E cut-off from its prestigious load to take on water before continuing on to Klerksdorp.  

31. The special Blue Train trip would be extensively covered when SoAR deals with the Cape Northern and Cape Western Systems but here, being confined to the Western Transvaal System, we pick up this special event on the train’s return journey.  Engine 855 with Driver van Wyk in charge is seen with the special at Welverdiend just before departure for Johannesburg via Randfontein.  Further to my comment on photo 29, as a passenger on this train I wasn’t impressed with the headboard specially designed for the trip but just being on board was an incredible experience!  

32. On the entire trip, back-up engines were provided to ensure that no unforseen delays would occur if the engine assigned to the job should fail.  In the case of 16E 855, her sister 859 was the back-up, seen here at Welverdiend.  These back-up engines ran behind the special to be available at short notice if required.   

33. On 31 October 1978 the SAR became the world record holder for speed on the 3ft 6in gauge! On that day I accompanied SAR Chief Photographer, Johan Etsebeth out to Westonaria where we saw the final preparations being done to the test train that would soon make history!  I recorded this event with my ciné camera much to my subsequent regret but I was able to obtain one of Johan's images from Luca Lategan in the Cape. This is the photo reproduced here showing the train hitting 240km/hour between Westonaria and Midway. Thanks to Dr Herbert Scheffel, the 3ft 6in gauge was no longer a factor that would inhibit speed on the narrower gauge!  As mentioned earlier, these tests led to the introduction of the Metroblitz service between Pretoria and Johannesburg - a daily service running at speeds up to 160 km/hour!  There are those who would like to promote the idea that the Gautrain was the first fast train between Pretoria and Johannesburg but this is simply not true!

34. Immaculate Class 25NC 3476 works the southbound Trans-Karoo Express through Welverdiend on 2nd June 1989. The highly burnished condition of the locomotive lives up to the tradition of top link SAR steam and shows the great pride that the Braamfontein shed staff and crews took in their three NC's in steam's final express swansong.  While steam continued on this duty on Fridays only for another couple of years, by 1989 the days of full maroon and grey liveried passenger consists were almost over. The manicured, if a little work worn appearance of Welverdiend station is also notable. It seems incredible that this was 25 years ago, how things have changed.

35. In the introduction I mentioned the background to the use of steam on the Trans Karoo on Fridays out of Johannesburg.  In this photo we see one of the guest engines – 15F 3135 ex Springs Loco – working the train to Klerksdorp on 15 December 1989.  She was photographed at speed near Maizelands Halt. 

36. The same train approaching Oberholzer.  The blue liveried saloon behind the tender was a test-bed for a new livery for the Blue Train.  It was not adopted.  

37. On a temporary alignment, 15F 3135 rounding the curve approaching Welverdiend.  Springs Loco did a splendid job in polishing this engine for its prestige turn of duty.   

38. Chasing on, we see 3135 silhouetted against a typical Transvaal summer sky as she climbed Crescent Bank en route to Klerksdorp.  The blue test saloon stood out prominently from the rest of the train.  

39. My last shot of 3135 with the Trans Karoo was taken just beyond New Machavie where these engines were given their head in the climb up to Koekemoer.  They stormed up the grade as if it wasn’t even there!  This was the place to be if you wanted to see big SAR steam power in full flight!    

40. Returning to more mundane things, here is a Reef 5M2A EMU set passing Westgate Shopping Centre.  These sets operated the Reef suburban services between Randfontein and Springs.  

41. At the same spot as the EMU, the Tran Karoo in-bound from the Cape is seen with two 6E1s in December 1989.  Our trains looked smart and clean then – sadly, not the case these days!  

42. By December 1989, the Metroblitz had been discontinued due to disruption of other services on the Germiston - Pretoria main lines.  So the class 12Es that worked the high speed service were adapted for Blue Train service and here are two of them working the prestige express near Georginia heading for Johannesburg.  Note that one of the 12Es has a standard pantograph in place of the original single-arm type as seen on the leading unit. 

43. In January 1990 I photographed 25NC 3476 GRIET working the Friday Trans Karoo from Johannesburg to Klerksdorp near Maraisburg.  This engine was the first 25NC to be stabled at the Braamfontein ERS.  This in itself was history-making – a steam engine being maintained in an electric running shed!   

44. I planned to follow this train all the way out to Klerksdorp and took the next shot of it near Central Halt between Krugersdorp and Randfontein.   

45. My next shot was taken at Oberholzer where the train stopped briefly for passengers.  

46. No 3476 leaned into the curve as she approached Welverdiend with the Trans Karoo.  This was quite a novel experience – to witness steam at the head of the Karoo long after electric traction had taken over these passenger services.  This was all due to the enthusiasm of men who were now stationed at Braamfontein ERS – with Management’s approval of course!  

47. Boskop Station – the station foreman gets the tablet holder ready to hand over to the fireman as the Trans Karoo bears down on him from Frederickstad.  

48. The next shot shows the tablet ready to be grabbed by the fireman who was really a driver who relished the idea of working on steam again!  I always thought that the nameplate “GRIET” was a little too big for my liking but who was going to dampen the enthusiasm of the blokes at Braamfontein!  

49. In February 1990 I was again chasing the Trans Karoo.  This shot shows 3476 just as she topped the grade at Crescent Bank.  I couldn’t get enough of this Friday working!   My car almost drove itself on the road between Hamburg and Klerksdorp.  

50. New Machavie was one of my favourite spots to photograph 202-up behind steam.  The NCs opened up as they passed the station to attack the grade up to Koekemoer – always a thrilling sight!  On 17 December 1993 the load was over 20 saloons of which two were still in the SATS red & grey livery. The blue and white livery was the current colour scheme that had replaced the earlier Spoornet orange & white which in turn had replaced the SATS red & grey. The NCs were pristine as one had come to expect from the shed staff at Braamfontein ERS.  

51. In March 1990 this unusually long 12-coach EMU was seen on Hamburg Bank near Georginia.  I can only assume that this extended set was provided to cope with larger passenger numbers during the peak period.  

52. On 4 August 1991 classes 15E 2878 and 15F 3016 - were double heading a special near Frederickstad.  This image brought a lump to my throat because I had a direct hand in adding them to the S A Railway Museum’s National Collection.  In the case of 2878, I got word that she had gone to Rhodesia with a batch of her sisters and I immediately arranged with George Barclay for a replacement to be sent up north so that she could be returned and added to our collection. She was the engine that had been feted at the Henschel Works in 1936.  With regard to 3016, she was having a Heavy Repair in Bloemfontein Shops for the Museum when I visited that Depot on 29 July 1988 to attend the function arranged for the last 25NC to be outshopped – 3407 which would later be named “Pauline” after AGM Helmut Hagen’s wife. I noticed 3016 had been fitted with an austerity boiler which was technically correct.  However, I decided that aesthetically it would be better if she had a boiler with the radiused edges to the firebox seeing that she would be used on special trains. I arranged with the Erecting Shop Foreman for her to get the more pleasing style of boiler which he was able to do before the repairs were completed.  So I felt very good seeing my two “special babies” thrashing past me with the special train!  

53. Back near Georginia in March 1990, the Blue Train bound for Cape Town headed up the Bank with the class 12Es that had odd pantographs – one standard and the other – a high speed single arm.   

54. The staff at Braamfontein ERS were angling to work the Blue Train to Klerksdorp – just once!   After a couple of tests taking the Blue Train on to Pretoria from Johannesburg, the powers eventually succumbed to the pressure and said – okay but just once!  I recorded the event on video on 16 May 1990 but I was fortunate to have access to Roger Perry’s photo of this one-off event to use here in SoAR.  Roger took his shot as 3476 thrashed up Hamburg Bank heading for Klerksdorp.  She made a fine sight at the head of SATS premier express!  

55. By 1991, Braamfontein ERS had added extra 25NCs to their stable.  This resulted in the train being double-headed and – instead of working back from Klerksdorp light engine on a Friday – they were granted the pleasure of laying over at Klerksdorp on the Friday afternoon and working the north-bound Karoo into Johannesburg on Saturdays!  It didn’t take long for me to latch onto this additional working and I spent many Saturday mornings rushing out before dawn to get into position to photograph this train in early morning light.  In this scene near Frederickstad we see 3404 and 3422 heading the Karoo in-bound from Cape Town.  

56. The crisp winter’s morning made ideal conditions for a good exhaust effect!  Semaphore signals added their charm to this scene at Welverdiend.  

57. A glint going away shot was essential to fully capture the beauty of this scene!  It was worth getting out of a warm bed to get shots like this early on a Saturday morning!   

58. Moving on to Oberholzer we witnessed more grandeur!  3404 and 3422 were providing memorable scenes of big SAR steam power at work and this in 1991!  In this shot the two NCs are departing Oberholzer for Krugersdorp – their final stop before reaching Johannesburg. 

59. A final shot of these two NCs at work with the in-bound Karoo was taken near Bank. They would now climb to Randfontein and on to Krugersdorp and Johannesburg. By this time, the conveyance of only 1st & 2nd class passengers had already fallen away – the Trans Karoo was now conveying 3rd class passengers as well.  This was unfortunately the start of a decline in prestige passenger services on the railways in South Africa which was evident under the new Administration known as Spoornet which in turn fell under the Transnet umbrella from 1990.  The glory days were fast coming to an end. 

60. The combinations of 25NCs working on this special turn varied from time to time.  In this shot taken in October 1991 near Welverdiend we see 3476 the resident NC working with 3472 (Germiston engine) on the in-bound Karoo.  The coaches immediately behind the Vapor-Clarkson heater are painted in the new Spoornet livery which wasn’t destined to last too long!   

61. Here is the same train departing from Krugersdorp on its final leg to Johannesburg. The two NCs put in a dramatic performance as they tackled the grade up to Luipaardsvlei!  

62. In September 1992 the Blue Train livery was changed in that a brighter shade of blue was adopted – exactly 20 years after the new trains were placed in service.  Here is one of the sets passing Westgate near Roodepoort in its resplendent new livery.  The locomotives are both 12Es now fitted with standard pantographs.  

63. On 16 January 1993, I witnessed a situation where one of the two NCs failed at Klerksdorp and her sister 3422 had the task of working the Trans Karoo single-handed to Johannesburg.  She is seen near Klington in this photo.  By this time the coach livery had changed again!   The first saloon behind the tender was in the first new livery adopted by Spoornet – then we have two coaches in the SATS red and grey followed by the latest Spoornet blue and off-white livery.  This was not destined to last either!  

64. On 9 April I was waiting at Hamburg for the Cape-bound Trans Karoo expecting the usual steam double-header.  The train came by on time but with two Spoornet orange-liveried 6E1s at the head-end!  Something must have gone wrong and I immediately abandoned the chase! 

65. On 1st May 1993 at Westgate near Roodepoort, I had the pleasure of seeing steam back on the Trans Karoo.  Here are 3404 and 3422 working the in-bound Karoo to Johannesburg. 

66. A special day and a special train!  On 20 March 1994 an excursion was run from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom, hauled by 25NC 3476 and 3E 201 which had been selected for the National Collection and returned to working order by the staff at Braamfontein ERS.  Here the two locomotives are at the head of the train at Potchefstroom.  After this photo was taken, the train worked back to Safarcamp which allowed us access to Potch Dam – a well-known picnic spot near the town. Some of the coaches used were off the Sun City Fun Train.  

67. Here is the train at Safarcamp with 25NC 3476 and 3E 201 at the head-end.  The diesel was just passing through.  On the return leg between Welverdiend and Bank we experienced one of the most exciting trips that could be imagined.  The NC uncoupled and with 201 in charge we set off from Welverdiend heading for Bank.  Soon after leaving Welverdiend on the Down Main, we heard a roar as 3476 started to pace us on the Up Main!   My coach was parallel with the NC for some distance and to witness this train flying along the track behind the veteran 3E and have an NC thrashing alongside was something else!   At Bank it all came to an end with the NC rejoining our train for the final leg home to Johannesburg.  Hats off to the late Jack Woods (System Electrical Engineer) for organising a VERY special railway event!   

This brings our coverage of the Western Transvaal System/Southern Transvaal Region to a close.   In my next chapter I will be visiting the Eastern Transvaal System with its HQ in Pretoria.