Update 15 December 2019: it was announced that the Board of Directors voted that Reefsteamers be placed into voluntary liquidation, with the depot closing on 16 December 2019.
When I was young, a Garratt was something you only read about, it was very rare to see one outside their usual stomping grounds, yet South African Railways operated a large number of these huge machines and in a number of classes too. Sadly, they are rare beasties, and as far as I know there are only two that are capable of steaming in South Africa. There are however, many derelict Garratts thoughout the country, which is really shame because these were very powerful machines.
The GMAM Garratt 4079 “Lyndie Lou”, is based at Reefsteamers in Germiston, after a period with Rovos Rail. She is a huge machine, dwarfing everything around her. Unfortunately her bulk makes her an unpopular choice for running day sitters because of the amount of coal and water she has to carry with her. I have always struggled to get a pic of her complete length, but after a lot of patience I was able to achieve it when they moved her from one line to another. I was fortunate enough to do a trip with her on the 6th of November 2010 and she was really amazing to watch in action. The beauty of the Garratt is that she can run equally well in either direction, so she was popular on the Reefsteamers open day trips that I took with her, unfortunately we were delayed on both occasions.
At the time of writing she was out of action as her wheels needed to be reprofiled, and it was hoped that one day she would amaze us all again. Sadly though, it is unlikely that I will ever see her again.
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