At the time I didn’t really go into it, but recently, while considering trains that pass through cemeteries I decided to revisit the grave and see what was available on the internet about the incident.
The other thing is, these models are not the sort of thing you buy out of a shop. The majority of them are handmade, and some take years to complete. The one model that was about 30% completed had already taken over 7 years to get there. And, once completed, you still need to get that boiler certified. No wonder the hobby seems to be dominated by older males. Youngsters come into it by inheriting their father or grandfather’s locos, they don’t sit down and make their own, unless they have a very highly developed machine shop and engineering bent.
By 11.30 I was heading to Pretoria from Sandton. I had already done the Rhodesfield trip before so wasn’t really a stranger to our own HST. It’s all slick and polished and a tad uneventful hurtling along at 160kph. I had been lucky enough to ride the Pendolino in the UK and that was amazing because of the traction motor noise. Gautrain is quieter. In spite of all this the trip went smoothly, infinitely better than trying to dodge mad taxis on the highways and byways.
Church Square did not disappoint. Its a beautiful space, surrounded by historic buildings, trees, and dominated by Oom Paul and his 4 sentries. Sammy Marks probably would have approved at what his creation looks like, however whether Oom Paul would is another story. Paul Kruger seems to have found some sort of tacit acceptance amongst those who now use this space. At any rate, the pigeons still enjoy visiting his hat.
When it comes to magnificent buildings I don’t think you get any better than the Old Raadsaal building or the Palace of Justice. They are absolutely beautiful, and definitely make the square. Of course there are other buildings there that are as stately and from another age, but those two just crown them all.
May 2012: An update to this post. Since this was written originally, there has been a change of policy with regards to photography of the Gautrain, it is no longer welcomed and expect to be accosted by security guards if you haul out your camera. Apparently this was always the “policy” although when Gautrain originally opened photographers were encouraged. It seems as if the whip has now been cracked. My comment about the staff still holds partly true though, although some of the security guards are becoming very officious.
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