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Part 22 - Braamfontein by Les Pivnic ©

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BRAAMFONTEIN YARD, LOCO, ERS and 
OLD KAZERNE GOODS YARD

Part 1 


Braamfontein and Kazerne were names that were synonymous with railways in Johannesburg and no doubt on a wider scale as well – certainly country-wide as far as railway servants were concerned.  In fact, in the early years of the Central South African Railways, Braamfontein actually served as the main passenger station for Johannesburg. 

Braamfontein was much more than just the first station to the west of Johannesburg.  The name was also attached to the large steam locomotive depot that served the city and which was situated immediately south of the station.

The yard carrying this name also had a large carriage shed which housed the Union Limited/Blue Train. This shed was appropriately named “Blouloods” which meant “Blue Shed” for obvious reasons.  It was big enough to house additional coaches and usually also provided shelter for several private saloons.

The electric running shed (ERS) came into use in 1937 for the new multiple-unit sets that took over from the steam-worked suburban passenger trains between Springs and Randfontein.  The original ERS was built to the north of the main lines and served for many years in that capacity.  However, when the yard was remodelled and the main line relocated towards the end of the 1950s, a new ERS was built south of the old Steam Depot and well south of the new main lines.  

The old Catering Department building was also located near Braamfontein Station – it was south of the station, behind the blouloods.

Braamfontein Loco did not have the space for a triangle to turn engines so an electric turntable was provided for this purpose.  It was situated east of the running shed and right near the large coal stage. There was no space for a track ramp to take coal hoppers to the top of the stage so they were emptied into bins at ground level and the coal was taken up to the bins by conveyor belt.  In the pre-War years two of the bins were filled with extra high-grade coal for the top-link passenger locomotives.  This practice ceased during the War.

There was a short period in the late 1930s when a few new class 23 locomotives were allocated to Braamfontein to haul the Union Limited and other passenger trains from Johannesburg.  Unfortunately, the turntable couldn’t accommodate a class 23 with its 12-wheeled EW tender so class 23s coming in from Klerksdorp had to detach at Johannesburg station and run light eastwards to India near Germiston to be turned on the triangular junction there.   GM’s Operating didn’t put up with this clumsy working for long – they transferred the 23s to the Cape Northern System and provided Braamfontein with 15Fs instead.  The Fs could fit onto the turntable – just!

Whilst on the subject of locos too long for the turntable, the class GM Garratts - all stationed at Braamfontein for the Zeerust line - had to detach and run around their water tank-cars to change direction.

Braamfontein Loco was essentially a “Passenger Shed” in that it provided the bulk of the steam motive power for passenger services departing from Johannesburg.  It also played host to visiting engines from other depots that worked passenger trains into Johannesburg. One such practice which survived until 1953 was the 16DAs and 16Es working from Bloemfontein.  When new, the 16Es worked into the city from Kimberley where they were stationed initially.  So 16Es were regular visitors to Braamfontein loco but were never stationed here.

In January 1961, in keeping with a new policy to remove steam loco depots from central city areas, Braamfontein Loco was removed to Millsite halt near Krugersdorp.  The electric turntable was transferred to Culemborg carriage and wagon depot in Cape Town – to be used there to turn coaching stock.

In 1953 as part of the new station complex for Johannesburg, the main lines to Braamfontein which previously took a more northerly route along a wide radius curve were straightened, taking a more direct route between the two stations.  This in turn permitted major remodelling of the passenger yards which resulted in the North Passenger Yard handling main line coaches and trains while the South Passenger Yard was provided for marshalling and stabling of the suburban EMU sets.

I am indebted to Bruno Martin for providing this map of these extensive Yards but at the same time having to use the remodelled track layout diagram dating from a SATS drawing made in the 1980s.  Unfortunately, a track diagram of the earlier layout was not to be found.  I would be happy to incorporate a map from say 1939 which would truly reflect the earlier layout.

Another simultaneous change that also facilitated this remodelling was the removal of the famous Kazerne Goods Yard to a township known as Prospect which was fed by the Rand Mineral Line to the south of Johannesburg.  The abattoir and the retail market were removed with the Goods Depot.  These moves freed up space for the South Passenger Yard.

This Yard was equipped with a new coach-washing plant whereby EMU sets were pulled through the plant by an electric mule running between the rails.  This washing plant was brought into use in 1958 to coincide with the introduction of the new imported 5M EMU sets that initially had a light blue livery known officially as “Smoke Grey”.

An uncle of mine (Louis Tromp) who was in the industrial laundry equipment business was invited to place a tender for coach-cleaning detergent to be used in this plant.  The detergent used initially was not cleaning off the dirt properly.  He duly won the tender for his new detergent which was then put into use.  The new detergent was so effective that it was not only removing the dirt – it was removing the paint as well!  The Administration was not amused!  A new milder detergent was provided which finally did the job to everyone’s satisfaction!

Braamfontein also had the Catering Department’s main laundry which prepared the bedding, table linen and towels for use on main line trains.

The creation of the remodelled North Passenger Yard also included an extensive new building and yard complex for the Catering Manager.  This became necessary when the remodelled yards placed the main line stock to the north of the main lines.  It would not have been practical to retain the old Catering Building and sidings to the south.

In later years, Braamfontein also had a dedicated yard for Vapour-Clarkson steam heating tenders.  This yard was just west of the main station building.

So to recap – Braamfontein originally provided the main station for Johannesburg; the Kazerne Goods Depot with associated shunting yard; the sidings for the Market and Abattoir; the large steam loco depot; the original 1937 ERS; the large Catering Department building and the “Blouloods” with its shunting roads. 

After several remodelling programs it lost the Goods Depot, Market and Abattoir sidings but gained a new ERS; large separate yards for main line and suburban passenger trains and a new Catering Department complex which was now situated nearer to Johannesburg Station alongside the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

With the foregoing in mind it was thus not surprising that Braamfontein as a whole, offered much scope to the railway photographer – me included!

Naturally the photography offered was more in the line of portraits of locomotives and coaches but passing train photos were also available on the main lines.

Braamfontein had another extensive passenger yard known as Milpark Yard which was fed by a single line that branched off near the Station and headed due north at right angles to the main lines.  This yard provided facilities to marshal main line trains and also served the Showgrounds of the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society on an annual basis when the Rand Easter Show was held.  Trains carrying prize –winning animals (cattle, pigs and horses) would be shunted alongside a platform that connected directly with the Showgrounds.

All of this became redundant when the Showgrounds were moved away to NASREC south of the City.

A final word – Braamfontein was one of the leading railway centres of the previous SAR & H but like the railways in general it has also suffered a measure of degradation which I would rather not chronicle in SoAR!


1. I’m opening this chapter with a few historical SAR photos and the first of which shows a line-up of steam traction engines that were used to haul trailers delivering goods to commercial houses in downtown Johannesburg.  So steam was NOT confined to the metals at Braamfontein or more correctly at old Kazerne Goods Depot!


2. Loading a heavy consignment (Lancashire-type boiler - thanks Clive Briscoe!) on two trailers to be hauled by a traction engine in 1915.  Can you imagine this “train” steaming up Bree Street in the middle of the City?  At least an SAR photographer was sent to Kazerne to record the event!


3. Nothing new under the sun!  The year 1972 saw the introduction of dedicated double-deck wagons to convey new motor cars in block-load (unit) trains.  These caused quite a stir when introduced but they were not the first double-deck wagons to carry motor cars on the SAR.  Back in 1926 the Railways experimented with double-deck wagons designed specially to carry cars.  In this SAR photograph we see cars being loaded in Kazerne goods yard.


4. The cars have been loaded and secured ready to ride the rails as part of a goods train.  The old SAR was a very inventive railway – in the following year a double-deck passenger coach designed by a Mr Hulse, an SAR draughtsman, was built in the Salt River Mechanical Workshops and this very coach would prove to be a forerunner in basic design for many double-deck passenger coaches used elsewhere in the world.  Here in Sydney where I live I got to know John Dunn, one of the Comeng leading engineers who played a major role in designing double-deck trains for Sydney and the USA.  When I showed him the photos of the SAR double-deck coach dating back to 1927, he was shaken to learn that such a design was feasible on 3ft 6in gauge at all and that it was the pioneer coach of that type world-wide!


5. Although not photographed in Braamfontein, I felt it necessary to include a photo of the double-deck suburban coach placed in service in 1927.  The photo shows the coach in service in Pietermaritzburg where it spent the bulk of its life.  This unique vehicle was saved for the S A Railway Museum’s National Collection but it was severely vandalised in De Aar where I had it staged and later again in Pretoria in storage.  So we lost a priceless piece of railway history!  When I travel on the local suburban trains in Sydney I can actually see the Hulse principle in design – obviously in modernised form.

 

6. During his visit to South Africa in 1934, His Royal Highness Prince George, Duke of Kent was conveyed around the country by the Royal Train.  The locomotives used to haul his train were given special treatment and here we have the Braamfontein Loco contribution in the form of class 16B no.809 in royal blue livery as photographed by Frank Garrison.  Frank told me that she was an absolute delight to behold. Her main frames were painted in a lilac colour to off-set the Royal Blue boiler and cab.  In the 1970s I added this locomotive (as a 16CR) to the National Collection but it has also succumbed to vandalism and neglect.

 

7. Frank, being in the GM’s timetable office, knew when to set himself up near Braamfontein Station to capture the beautiful 16B 809 working the Royal Train to Klerksdorp.  Note the crown headboard on the smokebox door!  The two vehicles not in white livery further back in the consist was actually the new twin dining car A-24/AA-25 PROTEA that now stands derelict in Cape Town – further evidence of how the old SAR’s history has been dumped.


8. Having left Johannesburg after arrival from Breyten, one of the two class 16A four cylinder engines (no 852) is seen bringing the rake of empty coaches to Braamfontein.  Her sister engine 851 was not kept as clean – her driver was not as enthusiastic as the man who had 852. 


9.  Kazerne Goods Depot eventually replaced the steam traction engines with a very large fleet of British-made Karrier Cobs – those curious little petrol-engined mechanical horses with just one leading wheel for steering.  As a youngster growing up in Johannesburg in the late 1930s, I clearly remember these little Cobs all over the city delivering parcels off their trailers.  In this photograph taken some years earlier, we see a group of Cobs with their white labourers posing for an SAR photo probably at the time that they replaced the steam traction engines  (judging by the bulging tyres of the nearest trailer one suspects that overloading was not uncommon even in those days).


10. This SAR photo clearly shows the single front wheel for steering. Note also that in those far-off days the SAR cartage services in the city had the Cobs licensed by the local municipality – hence the “TJ” number plate on the diminutive horses which was the registration code for road vehicles in the City of Johannesburg.  Note the cartons containing "Post Toasties", a popular breakfast cereal right into the 1950s.


11. Also in those far-off days, SAR carried everything and anything - from breakfast cereal, clothing and furniture to tractor tyres, livestock and whatever.  To deliver (and fetch!) all of it required probably one of the biggest fleets of Karrier Cobs in the world because they were also used departmentally in Cape Town and Durban. In this SAR photo railway policemen are checking the loads before they are allowed out of the depot and of course they also kept an eagle eye on possible pilferers. The Railways must have had good service from these Cobs because after WW2, they were replaced by Karrier Bantams to do the same work.  The post-War Bantams had conventional double front wheels under the cab.


12. A view of the Braamfontein turntable turning a Hendrie 15A for its next trip.  A class 4AR simmers quietly in the background while a class 16 waits for its turn on the turntable.


13. Dave also captured the typical saw-tooth roof of the main running shed with 2432 class GF sitting alongside.


14. A class 3R is busy shunting main line saloons near the running shed while passengers wait for the next train to the West Rand or Orlando.


15. Back at the turn-table two gents seem to be discussing the merits of the admirable 1543 class 12A – perhaps not!  The electric cable feeding the electric motor under the frame of the table can be clearly seen running from a pole to the centre archway.


16. A Kapenaar stationed in the old Transvaal!  1559 class 4A posed for her photo near the Braamfontein coal stage.  In the end, the 4As and 4ARs spent the bulk of their lives in Johannesburg – far away from their Cape roots.


17. Class 16E No 854 was the first of her class to visit Johannesburg from Kimberley where she was stationed.  She and her sisters regularly worked passenger trains to Johannesburg – a distance of 307 miles. Here is 854 at Braamfontein loco posing for the SAR photographer.  Doesn’t she look splendid – brand new out of the erecting shop at Salt River.


18. Frank Holland made it his business to visit Braamfontein Loco to see and photograph Watson’s sole class 21 No 2551.  She started her SAR career at Braamfontein in 1937 working trains 1398/9, the Rhodesian Mails, from Johannesburg to Mafeking.  Unfortunately for Watson, who didn’t favour Garratts, the class GMs that arrived a year later outperformed this good-looking engine and she was transferred away to Pretoria where she spent the rest of her life.  When she was scrapped in 1952, I noticed her cab with numberplates still attached lying loose on a bank near the old erecting shop in Pretoria.  I applied to buy the plates and got them both as scrap for the princely sum of 10/- (ten shillings).  The clerk who handed the plates to me in the ME’s office thought that I was mad spending 10 bob on two bits of aluminium scrap!  


19. Here is the loco-type that out-performed the class 21.  A driver poses next to his class GM at Braamfontein for Dave Parsons where all these engines were stabled to work the Mafeking road.  The GMs did extremely well on these duties, resulting in a decision to scrap electrification plans of that line that were under discussion in head office.


20. The original ERS at Braamfontein was equipped to handle major overhauls of the type 2M motor coaches.  A motor coach is being mounted on its bogies before returning to service.


21. Several 2M1 motor coaches undergoing maintenance in the old ERS.  Note the traction motors in the foreground on the floor of the workshop.


22. The very first class 23 to visit Johannesburg from Kimberley, No 2561 arrived on 29 April 1938.  She made a splendid picture for the SAR photographer who was sent to the depot to record the event.


23. In the introduction I mentioned that a few class 23s were briefly stationed at Braamfontein.  In this 1939 view here is one of them arriving from Kimberley with the partly air-conditioned Union Express.  The train is seen on the sharp curves of the original main line approaching the golden city from Braamfontein.  At this stage the train was still running with a non-air-conditioned dining car which can just be seen appearing from behind the goods train on the left.  The vehicle immediately behind the tender was one of the special mail vans that brought the overseas mails off the weekly Union Castle mailship arriving in Cape Town.

 

24. In this busy scene near the Braamfontein coal stage and turn-table (just behind the photographer) we see a 4AR and a 12A facing the camera and a 15F on the right with a 15A just showing itself left bottom.  This SAR photo really portrays Braamfontein as it was in the 1940s and early 50s.


25. A banked train of TZ dairy wagons being worked from Braamfontein Yard to the milk depot adjoining old Johannesburg Station (pre-1950).  The banking engine is a class 4AR but the leading locomotive is unfortunately not identifiable. This photo clearly shows the original curved alignment that linked Braamfontein to Johannesburg.  Nestling inside the curve is the old Kazerne goods depot, still in full use together with a classic array of old goods vehicles in the various strings of wagons.  The engine in the yard (middle distance) is a class S shunter. Railway Headquarters and part of South Station Building can also be seen in the top middle of the photo.

26. Visual evidence of how the railways were the lifeblood of the nation in earlier times.  A string of coaches standing on a track in the Yard surrounded by countless wagons that have brought all kinds of goods to Johannesburg. Plum in the middle is a class 13 shunter which dates this photo to pre the mid-1930s. 


27. Here is another view of the electric turntable at Braamfontein loco with the skyline of Johannesburg dominating the horizon.  As can be seen, there wasn’t enough room for a balloon or triangle.  A class 15AR simmers quietly behind the turntable.


28. Dave Parsons found the same footbridge vantage point as used by the SAR photographer in photo 24.  A class GEA is taking on coal and in the foreground is a string of type A hoppers with plenty more to fill the coal stage.  The engine between the Garratt and the hoppers is a Watson reboiler – probably a 4AR.

  

29. Pat Cavanagh was a fitter stationed at Braamfontein Loco.  He took this photo showing the two class 18s staged out of service in the depot.  I remember him telling me that not long after he took this picture, they were hauled away to be scrapped. 


30. Class 15F No 3028 waiting outside the running shed foreman’s office before leaving to work a train either to Kroonstad or Klerksdorp.  The building behind 3028 also housed the loco foreman and the roster compiler’s staff. 


31. Roger Perry photographed a virtually brand new class 3E departing Braamfontein Yard with a goods train for Pretoria.  Although a few of the 3Es spent a brief period in Natal, they were all destined to work in the Transvaal hauling anything from goods trains to the Blue Train.


32. At the old ERS north of the main lines a class 3E and a 2M1 motor coach EMU set take what will no doubt be a short break from duty. This photo clearly shows how the steam depot coal stage stood out prominently in the overall Braamfontein scene. 

 

33. A class 3E departs Johannesburg for Cape Town.  In 1951 a portion of the Cape main line was electrified by extending the catenary from Randfontein and Midway to Welverdiend via Bank.  This was part of a scheme to eliminate steam traction out of Johannesburg.  Class 3Es ruled the roost on this section with all the top-link passenger trains.  Just look at the paint finish on the 3E and the Blue Train!


34. Same train on another day – this time passing through Braamfontein yard.  The 3Es were the only electric units to have on-board steam-heating boilers so at a quick glance one might think that the locomotive is blowing off from its safety valves but it appears that the steam is actually from a steam locomotive in the background.


35. Class 7s were no strangers to Braamfontein – here is one of them simmering quietly while labourers shovel ash into the DZ wagon.  Although a little worse for wear, with its grimy and broken glass the old paraffin headlamp was still in place on her smokebox. 

 

36. There was a ritual carried out every afternoon between Braamfontein and Johannesburg platform 17.  A locomotive would haul a rake of empty vans and associated vehicles from the yard to the station in readiness for the evening’s departures.  In this photo a class 16CR is doing the honours but the usual motive power on this turn was a 4A or a 4AR.


37. In spite of the earlier use of smoke cowls on class GL Garratts in the 1930s in Natal, tests were considered necessary with these appliances before ordering the new class GMAMs in 1953.  A class GM at Braamfontein was used as the test-bed for the cowl.  Here she is in the loco where Dave Parsons managed to get a photo of her. 


38. When the class S2s were delivered in 1952/53 a few of them were stationed at Braamfontein Loco.  Two (3701 and 3702) were allocated to regular crews (most unusual for shunting locos!) who vied with each other to produce the smartest engine in the shed!  Here is 3701 shunting main line passenger stock near the Depot.  Both of these diminutive shunters looked very smart with polished boilers and tenders! 


39. Braamfontein was not only about trains and locomotives – even tractors got in on the act!  The catering department was also responsible for train bedding and here we see a load of used bedding being taken to the laundry. 

40. Two 15Fs and a class 1 simmer quietly alongside the saw-tooth profile of the running shed.  Apart from the veteran class 7s, Braamfontein also had a few Natalians on its roster in the form of classes 13, 1, 3R and 3BR. 

 

41. Class 5E No 337 is seen in the late 1950s approaching Johannesburg with a passenger train from Welverdiend.  The first five coaches are an alternating mix of main line and side-door stock - a very interesting consist for a coach historian!


42. Back at the coal stage we find an S1, 16CR and 15F replenishing their bunkers.  On one occasion I walked up the conveyor belt ramp to gain height to photograph the yard and loco. Not handling unprotected heights too well, that was one very big mistake!  When I got to the top on the rickety walk-way and looked down I went cold with fright!  No time for photos – I needed to get down as quickly as possible!  I learnt my lesson and never attempted that again.


43.  An “N” set from Soweto approaches Johannesburg from Braamfontein with a 2M1 motor coach leading.  The large train number box on the face of the motor coach was an add-on fitted to these vehicles after the War. On the extreme left is a 5E on a mixed goods (something we never see anymore) while on the extreme right is a class 4AR on carriage shunt duties.


44. Sometime in the mid-1950s I took this photo of the class 3BR and one of the “special” class S2s busy with shunting passenger stock in the yard.  The two clean S2s stood out prominently in a Shed of mainly pooled engines. 
   

45. In previous chapters I have dealt at length with the final days of steam on the Johannesburg – Vereeniging locals.  In September 1959 I photographed class 15AR 1817 passing the yard on her way to Vereeniging with a local passenger train.


46. A class 15F with train 432/3 approached Braamfontein in September 1959. I was waiting for her at the junction to the Milpark carriage sidings on the left.  She made a fine sight as she rushed past with her express for East London and Port Elizabeth. Note the string of dining cars on the right as well as the paint-weathered 5M EMU set. This problem would be solved by changing the livery.


47. With the arrival of the class 1-DE diesels in 1958/9, it didn’t take long for Operating to arrange a trial run with two of them with train 432/3 to Kroonstad.  This train ran from Johannesburg to Vereeniging via Midway and Lawley en route to Kroonstad.  The diesels didn’t immediately replace steam on this turn in spite of a successful test.


48. Trains 1398 and 1399 were the so-called Rhodesian Mails operating between Johannesburg and Bulawayo.  SAR and RR had an arrangement whereby the trains would be made up of RR stock but SAR would provide a 1st & 2nd "reserved" saloon in accordance with the country’s segregation laws which SAR was obliged to observe.  The twin dining car was also provided by SAR as far as Mafeking where an RR diner would replace the SAR one.  In this photograph of 1398-up taken in May 1960, class 5E No 546 is working the train past Braamfontein yards.  There was a relatively brief period when the class GMA would be worked “light-engine” to Krugersdorp from Braamfontein while electric units took the trains to Krugersdorp. The class GMA would then take the train on to Zeerust and Mafeking.  When the loco depot was moved to Krugersdorp (Millsite) , the Garratt was close at hand to replace the electric loco at that station. This was all part of the general scheme to eliminate steam from Johannesburg station.


49. The German-built class 61 diesel hydraulics became a familiar sight in Braamfontein yards after they were confined to shunting duties.  Here is one of them photographed on 26 June 1960 - the 100th birthday of railways in South Africa. This blue and orange livery would soon be replaced by the new standard Gulf Red.


50. Another 100th birthday shot!  Class 5E no.331 in the yard near a “smoke grey” 5M EMU set.  This green livery always weathered well in the SA climate – much better than the subsequent liveries used. 


51. Class 3E No 213 slowly moves off a siding alongside the main lines at Braamfontein with a local that will load passengers for Vereeniging at Johannesburg.  The roof of the “Blouloods” can just be seen above the main line saloon to the left of the 3E. 
   

52. Private saloon No 67 was one of two mounted on 6-wheel bogies – her sister was No 68.  Saloon 67 was set aside for the use of the Chief Civil Engineer and was extremely well-appointed offering all the facilities of a luxury apartment!  Note the frameless windows with a chrome hand-grip set in the glass.  These windows were also originally fitted to the C-22 articulated saloons and A-22/AA-23 twin diners.  Unfortunately in general service they proved to be troublesome and required a lot of maintenance with the result that they were replaced by standard framed windows on the C-22s and dining cars.  With much less activity they could be retained on the CCE’s private saloon.  The frameless window had a sprung scissors-arm which in good order made it easy to close the window from the open position.

 

53. Back in the steam depot in July 1960 I found class 7 No 1025 having a chat with her much younger sister – a class S1. This scene would not be around for much longer – Krugersdorp loco was virtually ready and the big transfer of engines was imminent.  


54.  Class DS1 No D514 was originally placed in service in 1939 and with her bigger sister they worked in Durban – I remember them groaning past my residential hotel on the Esplanade taking trains from Umbilo to the docks during the War.  The irony of German-made machines helping the Allied war effort!  They ended up shunting in the Transvaal and this one was eventually plinthed at the Braamfontein ERS where I photographed her. 

55. For the benefit of model makers I have included a photo showing the other side of this loco.  During the War they were both painted in the green livery as applied to electric locomotives but I particularly remember her bigger sister seemingly covered in oily grime as she travelled along the Esplanade.


56. The late Roger Perry was also active in Braamfontein yard – here is one of his showing 5M EMU set No P6 which was used on the Johannesburg - Pretoria service.  When Roger made this photo the 5M sets hadn’t been fitted with roof gutters yet – this was rectified when the vehicles were put through shops.  Note the single diner No 174 "SENYATI" and her reserved staff saloon on an adjacent track.  

 

57. Roger took this fine shot as well. R11 was a 5M set used on the Springs – Randfontein service from 1958/9 when these Metro-Cammell built  trains were placed in service.  Note how the colour was prone to fading in the South African sunlight!  As mentioned in the introduction, the powerful detergent used for a while didn’t help either!

 

58. General Manager DHC du Plessis fancied the “smoke grey” livery of the 5Ms but it was not a success.  This prompted further thought on coach livery for the SAR and in 1960, to coincide with the 100th birthday of railways in South Africa, it was decided to adopt a new coach livery for all passenger stock.  "Imperial brown" and "smoke grey" were out and would be replaced by "gulf red" and "Quaker grey". On 2 July 1960, I photographed the very first 5M plain trailer painted in the new colours at the ERS in Braamfontein.  The livery included an aluminium finish on the roof and black underframes and bogies.  


59. I photographed this 2M2 3rd class motor coach on the same day as the 5M trailer in the new colours.  This proved that not all Paint Shops changed livery overnight.  In fact the changeover from brown to red and grey took a few years to complete. 

 

60. With the closure of this famous shed now imminent I decided to have another walk around the Depot in September 1960.  This view is from the eastern end of the running shed – the exit roads passing behind the camera.  It already looked deserted because electric traction had taken over the main line services to Kroonstad as well as the suburban services to Vereeniging.  Basically, all that Braamfontein loco had left was providing Garratt power for the Zeerust section and a few steam shunt turns in the yard.  


61. Walking further into the depot I found a class 16CR basking in the sun outside the running-shed foreman’s office and a GM with its water tank detached. This area would in the not-too-distant future be completely flattened – leaving just a few pit roads out in the open to service a couple of shunting engines. (Les: I take it smoke wasn't laid on for the photographer!) 

  

62. Talking of shunting engines – a lonely and clearly unloved class S at rest between shifts alongside the main shed building.  These class S locos were synonymous with the Braamfontein yards – the bulk of them worked all their lives in this area. 


63. Cleaners were busy sprucing up this class GM prior to her going on duty for a trip to Zeerust.  Understandably, the corrugated sheets on the saw-tooth roof (top right) were no longer being replaced – the whole roof would soon be history!


64. On 13 November 1960 I got a tip-off that Braamfontein loco was closing and that the engines would be transferring to Krugersdorp shortly.  I grabbed my camera and drove down to the north passenger yard first just to have a quick look around. I found this class 32.058 at the head of train 199 the fast passenger to Durban ready to draw into platform 16 at Johannesburg to load her passengers.  This train would now become well-known as the "Trans Natal" while her equivalent heading to the Cape would carry the name "Trans Karoo".  Note the special centenary headboard on the diesel.  During 1960 all the top-link passenger trains carried special Centenary headboards – even the Blue Train and the Orange Express carried Centenary boards in place of their normal round headboards. 

 

65. So here I was walking around Braamfontein Loco for the last time as an operating shed.  This view from the western side shows tracks filled with GMAs and a GM way back. They would all soon be gone – it brought quite a lump to my throat! 

 

66. This shot further west was taken from the old Catering Department platforms where dining cars were stocked.  The sumptuously appointed private saloon on the left is No 42, aptly named “VORENTOE”!  She was used on the 1947 Royal Train as accommodation for the then Minister of Transport, Sturrock.  After the Royal Tour she was retained for the Minister’s use for several years. 


67. Turning around and facing west I took this photo of the previous Catering Manager’s building with saloon 42 on the left.  Looking straight at that empty road in the middle to the stop-block I thought about all the dining cars that would have stood on that road over the years having their larders stocked with the finest meats and vegetables!  

 

68. A last look but one of the Garratts at Braamfontein – GMAs and GMs – their home for a few more hours!  


69. My final photo on this notable but sad occasion shows two class GMs with a GMA alongside and a class S behind the GMs.  Note that the water tank cars weren't attached until engines left the depot, the reason being that although Braamfontein was a big and busy shed in its day, it lacked the elbow room of other major sheds.

The above is not the full story of Braamfontein – there is more to tell and illustrate!  In fact, although the depot was closing, steam was not finished with Braamfontein – all will be revealed in Part 2.