Caitlyn Visits Reefsteamers

Caitlyn enjoys a trip with me to see what I do. She has been to my office twice and is still convinced I don’t do anything (which is partially true). One fine Saturday morning she decided to come along to Reefsteamers in Germiston to take a look at the steam engines there. The problem is, when you are 23 inches tall, most things look big, when you are up against a steam engine you are positively dwarfed.



“Hurry up, the train might leave without you and I will be stranded without any lunch!”


“You can sit here Cait, its got a dolly sized window.”


“Goodbye, bon voyage…”
“Cait, you aren’t going anywhere.”
“Oh pooh, that’s true too”
“Come along, lets go visit Susan.”
“Who is Susan?”


Caitlyn felt positively small next to Susan the steamer engine. “Oooooooooooooooooh, I like Susan. She is supa-dupa.”


“It’s kinda high up here, I should have brought a parachute.”


Then we went to visit Lyndie Lou, the GMAM. She makes everything look small. “oh look, a nice place for a Twinn to stand.”


“Lyndie Lou is great, but I feel positively small next to her.”
“Cait, I hate to say this but you are only 23 inches tall.”
“Yeh yeh, rub it in. One day I will have a spurt of growth and be 23.5 inches!”
“Somehow I don’t see that unless you get big shoes. Come along, lets go visit Janine and Elize.”


“Can I drive? huh? huh? huh?”
“I don’t think so, you have to start at the bottom.”
“I am 23 inches from the bottom already.”
“Not like that, you have to learn to be a fireman, and then you can think about it. It’s a lot of hard work and responsibility.”


“Where is the steering wheel? and the gear lever? come to think of it, I can’t find the ignition either!”


“Ooh, I don’t think I want to be in here when they make the fire.”


“This place is cool, but I can’t quite see myself working here. For starters I can’t even reach the office without a ladder to get onto the ladder.”



“Stop, stop, don’t run me over!! Runaway train!!!!!!”

And then it was time to head off for home.
“Caitlyn, you are going to need a scrub when we get home.”
“Why?”
“Just you look in the mirror and you will see why!”

DRW © 2011-2020. Created 16/09/2011. Moved to Blog 28/04/2015

Rhodesia Railways DE 1207

DE 1207 is one of 35 diesel locomotives built for Rhodesia Railways by English Electric and the Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows in 1958. Only two of them are known to have survived, and this particular example is the only one in South Africa. And while she is reasonably intact she would need a lot of money to restore.  She is currently housed at Reefsteamers in Germiston

DE 1207 Germiston

© DRW 2010-2018. Created 15/04/2015

GMAM Garratt No.4079 “Lyndie Lou”

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.

Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page
Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page

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.

DRW © 2010-2020. Created 15/04/2015. table fixed 20/06/2016

Class 25NC -3472 “Elize”

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.

“Elize” was the first steam locomotive I had been behind since 1981, and she is an impressive machine. Considered to be the “Cadillac” of South African steam locomotives she is fitted with a mechanical stoker, roller bearings and all the “mod cons” and is considered to be a “modern” locomotive. She was placed back into operation at Reefsteamers in 2006, and while very powerful and modern, is a bit too heavy on coal and water for day trips. She is however, a very impressive machine, and her sheer size alone make her worth seeing in action.

South African Class 25NC 4-8-4 Wikipedia page

Reefsteamers has a proper history of this locomotive and while I know they do not like using her for short tours they still enjoy watching her in action. Sadly worn tyres and flanges have temporarily grounded her, but she is sure to grace the iron road once of these days.

DRW © 2010-2020. Added to blog 15/04/2015. Fixed table 20/06/2016

Class 15F – 3046 “Janine”

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. 

Class 15F 3046 was put back into steam in May 2010 after many years of work by Reefsteamers. She is a firm favourite amongst passengers and has ventured quite far from her home in Germiston. She is also the only operational 15F in South Africa.

My first viewing of her was on 23 May 2010 when she was double headed with Class 25NC Elize. It was a day of steam and I am happy to say this loco was the star. I hope that she graces us with her presence for many years. In August 2010 she was named Janine and has since started to make her mark on the rails.

 

South African Class 15F 4-8-2 Wikipedia page

When she was still a “young lady”  3046 gained fame for having pulled the royal train in 1947, with the then-princess Elizabeth on board. Built in 1945, she was retired from service in 1988 but kept intact by Spoornet as a reserve and underwent steam testing for 4 consecutive years, until use of steam traction officially ended in 1992.

*Update*

In late 2016, 3046 was renamed “Vreni”  (pronounced ‘Freeny’ in English)

DRW © 2010-2020. Moved to blog 15/05/2015. Fixed table issue 20/06/2016, updated 21/12/2016

Refreshment Coaches

The two refreshment cars Kariega 128 (formerly 8479) and Buffalo 120 (formerly 8480) are laying derelict in the veld in Germiston. These coaches have been around for many years and are amongst the remnants of 20 similar coaches converted from C-33 all coupe coaches that entered service in 1951. Buffalo re-entered service as a catering car in August 1981, while Kariega re-entered service October 1982.

Reefsteamers still operates Kango 127 (formerly 8483) on their trains to Magaliesburg. She originally entered service in September 1951, and after conversion re-entered service in October 1983. As can be seen in the photographs they have a different window configuration on either side, with one side being a corridor and the service side consisting of a coupe with en suite toilet and shower, storage, service counter, kitchen, pantry, compartment, and then a public shower and toilet. In June 2009, Kariega and Buffalo were moved from the siding in Germiston onto one of the lines leading into Reefsteamers workshop where they are a bit safer from the veld fires during winter.

Kariega and Buffalo at Reefsteamers 2009 (1500×570)
Kariega (Corridor side)
Kariega (Corridor side)
Kariega (Kitchen side)
Kariega (Service side)
Buffalo (Corridor side)
Buffalo (Corridor side)
kariega
kariega
Kariega
Kariega
Kariega
Kariega
Buffalo
Buffalo
Kariega
Kariega
Kariega
Kariega
127 Kango (8483) – Reefsteamers
Kango (Corrider side)
Kango (Corrider side)
Kango (Service side)
Kango (Service side)
Kango (counter inside)
Ccounter inside
Kitchen
Kitchen
Builders plate
Builders plate
Counter
Counter
Shower and WC
Shower and WC
Corridor
Corridor
Storage
Storage
     

The other catering cars of this class were named as follows:

110 Amatola (8484) – Umgeni Steam Railway
111 Hartenbos (8468) – Scrapped
112 Hennops (8490)
113 Kamderboo (8462)
114 Komga (8461)
115 Kuruman (8469)
116 Matroosberg (8463)
117 Nossob (8489) – Scrapped SWA
118 Pokwani (8475) – Scrapped SWA
119 Stroomberg (8499) – Scrapped SWA
120 Buffalo (8480) – Derelict Germiston.
125 Franschoek (8488)
126 Kammanassie (8470 or 8472) – Shunters in White River
127 Kango (8483) – Reefsteamers
128 Kariega (8479) – Derelict Germiston.
129 Khami (8487) – Cape Town by the train lodge
130 Koonap (8481) – put up for auction and sold for scrap in Nov 2012
131 Nogalakwana (8493)
132 Wilge (8477) – Derelict Culemborg, Bellville C&W July 2009
133 Zebediela (8473) – Derelict Culemborg, Bellville C&W July 2009

© DRW. 2009-2018. Created 17/05/2009. Updated 09/11/2012. Moved to blog 15/01/2015. With thanks to Carlos Das Neves Vieira and Dylan Knott.

Coaches

I admit that I really love coaches. The all pervading memory I have of them is of polished wood, leather, and the smell that an old wooden coach had. Sadly they are usually overlooked in our quest to photograph steam engines, and the advent of the formica clad steel bodied saloon meant that those wonderful oldies would be lost forever.

I was fortunate to be able to encounter a few oldies still around, namely at Sanrasm and Heidelberg Transport Museum, strangely enough that feint smell was still there, even over the smell of dust and decay. This is my tribute to some of the beauts I have seen. Initially these pages will point off site to my website, but as I move pages they will remain within the blog area. Please be patient though, this page is still under construction.

 

Derelict Sleeper Millsite
Derelict Sleeper
Millsite
District Surgeons coach Millsite
District Surgeons coach
Millsite
C-13 Balcony coach 7936 Millsite
C-13 Balcony coach 7936
Millsite
Kango. Catering coach AC-1 127 Corridor side Reefsteamers
Kango. Catering coach
AC-1 127 Corridor side Reefsteamers
Kango. Kitchen coach AC-1 127 Corridor side Reefsteamers
Kango. Kitchen coach
AC-1 127 Corridor side Reefsteamers
"The Nigel Coach" Sleeper Reefsteamers
“The Nigel Coach” Sleeper
Reefsteamers
BJ's Branded Dining Saloon Germiston
BJ’s Branded Dining Saloon
Germiston
Shosholoza Meyl Sitter Germiston
Shosholoza Meyl Sitter
Germiston
Shosholoza Meyl mainline train. Germiston
Shosholoza Meyl mainline train. Germiston
Derelict 2nd class saloon Reefsteamers
Derelict 2nd class saloon
Reefsteamers
Regional Managers Saloon 83. Reefsteamers
Regional Managers Saloon 83. Reefsteamers
Slamdoor sub Friends of the Rail
Slamdoor sub
Friends of the Rail
Slamdoor sub Friends of the Rail
Slamdoor sub
Friends of the Rail
Slamdoor sub Friends of the Rail
Slamdoor sub
Friends of the Rail
Vintage Coach (1893) Florida
Vintage Coach (1893)
Florida
Engineers Caboose (Before) Sanrasm South
Engineers Caboose (Before)
Sanrasm South
Engineers Caboose (After) Sanrasm South
Engineers Caboose
(After)
Sanrasm South
2nd Class Coach 2123. Before SANRASM South
2nd Class Coach 2123.
Before
SANRASM South
2nd Class Coach 2123. after SANRASM South
2nd Class Coach 2123.
after
SANRASM South
CGR Private Saloon 15. "Wes-Vaal " SANRASM South
CGR Private Saloon 15. “Wes-Vaal “
SANRASM South
Kitchen Car 282 Corridor side (after) SANRASM South
Kitchen Car 282
Corridor side (after)
SANRASM South
Kitchen Car 282 Working side (after) SANRASM South
Kitchen Car 282
Working side (after)
SANRASM South
Dining Saloon 161 Phantom Pass (before) SANRASM South
Dining Saloon 161
Phantom Pass (before)
SANRASM South
Dining Saloon 161 Phantom Pass (After) SANRASM South
Dining Saloon 161
Phantom Pass (After)
SANRASM South
Compo Guards/Passenger coach. SANRASM South
Compo Guards/Passenger coach. SANRASM South
2nd Class E-16 Coach 8868. SANRASM North
2nd Class E-16 Coach 8868.
SANRASM North
Derelict balcony 1/2/3class 6086 SANRASM North
Derelict balcony
1/2/3class 6086
SANRASM North
Derelict slamdoor sub SANRASM South
Derelict slamdoor sub
SANRASM South
Dining Saloon Shashi 229. SANRASM South
Dining Saloon Shashi 229.
SANRASM South
Drakensberg Express SB van 2295 SANRASM North
Drakensberg Express
SB van 2295
SANRASM North
L-14-Drivers coach SANRASM South
L-14-Drivers coach
SANRASM South
L-14-Drivers coach SANRASM South
L-14-Drivers coach
SANRASM South
Articulated saloon C-22 Reefsteamers
Articulated saloon C-22
Reefsteamers
Sleeper coach Reefsteamers
Sleeper coach
Reefsteamers
Derelict refreshment coaches AC-1: 120 ans 128 Reefsteamers
Derelict refreshment coaches AC-1: 120 and 128 Reefsteamers
Southern Cross Sleeper Reefsteamers
Southern Cross Sleeper
Reefsteamers
Southern Cross Sleeper Reefsteamers
Southern Cross Sleeper Reefsteamers
Southern Cross SB Van Reefsteamers
Southern Cross SB Van Reefsteamers
SB and power van Reefsteamers
SB and power van
Reefsteamers
Day Sitter Reefsteamers
Day Sitter
Reefsteamers
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Vapour Clarksons Braamfontein Yards
Vapour Clarksons
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Braamfontein Yards
Derelict E-13 Saloon 14161 Braamfontein
Derelict E-13 Saloon 14161
Braamfontein
Derelict E-13 Saloon 14160 Braamfontein
Derelict E-13 Saloon 14160
Braamfontein
Reused sitter Fordsburg Square
Reused sitter
Fordsburg Square
Breakdown Train Millsite
Breakdown Train
Millsite
Breakdown Train Millsite
Breakdown Train
Millsite
Breakdown Train Millsite
Breakdown Train
Millsite
Mainline saloons Pretoria
Mainline saloons
Pretoria
Premiere Klasse Randfontein
Premiere Klasse
Randfontein
Breakdown Train Germiston
Breakdown Train
Germiston
     

Many people have helped contribute to this page, but special thanks must go to Carlos Das Neves Vieira for help in identifying some of these old beauties.

DRW 2009-2018. Added to Blog 23/08/2014

Class 12AR-1535 “Susan”

My favourite locomotive; Susan, was a regular on my daily trips to work when I was stationed at Germiston Telecomms Depot during 1985/86. She usually lived on a short spur at the end of the mainline platform and served as the pilot loco for Germiston. When I left the railways I also left Susan behind, never considering that one day she too would face possible extinction.

I was very glad to hear that she still survives, and was fortunate enough to see her make her debut at Reefsteamers after a long period of being “unroadworthy”. She is still a perky loco, and as shiney now as she was in 1986. I hope that she lives for much longer, and that the effort put into her by Reefsteamers does prove to be worthwhile.

She was built in 1919 as a 12A by North British Locomotive Works for service for heavy coal trains on the Germiston to Witbank line.  Along with her sisters she was reboilered a few years later with a new boiler (Her current boiler was installed in 1955) and redesignated 12AR. Susan eventually fortunately found employment in the 1980’s as the Germiston Station pilot, which was where I saw her many years ago. Unlike many other steam engines she never really retired, but was withdrawn from service with long standing issues. Reefsteamers repaired and returned her to steam in 2009. She was recertified in June 2012 which gives her a few years of life before major work is required in 3-6 years.

She is the last remaining class 12AR in the world (and the only one), and is the second oldest operating mainline locomotive in South Africa.  She a firm favourite with everybody, and is a tribute to those who built her, and those who maintain and drive her.  Long may she grace us with her presence. 

Update: Susan celebrated her 100th birthday in 2019, sadly shortly thereafter it was announced that the Board of Directors voted that Reefsteamers be placed into voluntary liquidation, with the depot closing on 16 December 2019. 

Back in steam. 2009
Back in steam.
2009
Back in steam. 2009
Back in steam.
2009
Back in steam. 2009
Back in steam.
2009
2009.
2009.
2009
2009
2009
2009
Maraisburg Stn
Maraisburg Stn
Vlakdrift
Vlakdrift
On Shed
On Shed
Old stomping grounds
Old stomping grounds
Depot pilot
Depot pilot
Magalies trip
Magalies trip
Hard pull away
Hard pull away
boiler plate
boiler plate
Depot day
Depot day
South_African Class 12A 4-8-2 Wikipedia page
South_African Class 12A 4-8-2 Wikipedia page

DRW © 2009-2020. Moved to blog 16/08/2014, fixed broken link, added RS banner 21/06/2018