By train to Magaliesburg: GMAM-4079

This trip actually happened on 6 November 2010, and was previously documented at my website, but I have since decided that rather than loose all of these train trip posts I would reproduce them here. The train was operated by Reefsteamers.  This trip took place on 6 November 2010 from Germiston to Magaliesburg. This was the first outing of the GMAM – 4079 “Lyndie Lou” since she was re-certified. Unlike previous trips that started at Maraisburg, this time around the trip started out at Park (Johannesburg) Station before heading to Magaliesburg where passengers would be disembarked, before continuing west until we reached “Swallows Inn” where the train would unload the balance, before continuing to Vlakdrift where the loco would be serviced.

Fresh out of the shed and almost ready to go.

Fresh out of the shed and almost ready to go.

Shunting the water bottle

Shunting the water bottle

I boarded at the Reefsteamers Depot in Germiston so almost had the train to myself as we headed towards Park Station. It was the first time I had been through Germiston and Johannesburg stations since 1986.  

We also went past the apprentice school where I trained all those years ago, and through Braamfontein, Mayfair and Langlaagte, all my old stomping grounds.

Approaching Park Station

Approaching Park Station

Alongside the platform

How long ago was it that an SAR liveried train had stopped at this station? and how many memories were made at these main line platforms?  Braamfontein used to be a busy place, and I was trained at the apprentice school behind the station. There used to be a spur that turned right here and crossed into Milpark. That was where they made up the main line trains, and it was also used in January and July as the place where National Servicemen would start their two years military service from.

Approaching Braamfontein Station

Approaching Braamfontein Station

The weather was variable during the whole trip, starting out as grey and muggy, turning to sun and then rain and then sun which explains some of odd colours.

 Approaching Mayfair Station

Approaching Mayfair Station

Mayfair Station was my link to the SAR network, and you could actually see the back of our house from a passing train. It was a busy commuter station, and I travelled in both directions from here. I last used the station in 1984. There was a lot of talk of widening the tracks in and out of the station and a lot of houses were expropriated, but the expected construction never happened. 

Then we were passing through Krugersdorp, then passing Millsite and shortly after that the disgrace called Sanrasm, and then the long haul to Magalies, with its attendant curves and whistle blowing.

There were reportedly 600 people on board and it was a 16 coach consist, and probably one of the strangest trains to be seen by those who saw us go past. Steam engines still draw stares from those that have never seen them, or by those who remember them. Our Garratt was a rare beastie, and it was always difficult to know which way was the front.

One of my colleagues from work was at Magaliesburg Station to capture the train as it entered the station. The slog up the hill before the station is a good place to experience the loco working hard. Although I don’t think 4079 really struggled all that much. Special thanks to Clinton Hattingh for these images.


Then we were through the station and heading towards Swallows Inn. 

Where we disembarked, and the train headed on a bit further down the line for servicing and turning around. 

I drifted around Swallows Inn, the service was poor, and I seem to think I spent most of my time waiting for my lunch to arrive. Next time I would just stay on the train and go do some photography instead.  Then it was time to go and our train was ready to embark on the return trip, and this time we were water tank first.

The train is usually much quieter on the return trips. Too much alcohol has deadened the senses, children are worn out, and families sit huddled together. And of course the afternoon still stretched ahead. A lot can go wrong between here and Park Station, as has happened before.   

I enjoyed hanging out of the window and watching the loco in front, steamers are very alive, their noises change depending on how hard they work, and there are many tough grades in that area. But it was a reasonably uneventful trip home so far, and when we looked again we were in Krugersdorp. 

And its beautiful old station building.


The scenery had changed now, from grass and veld to buildings, roads and cars. The sun was also leaving us, so photograhy was becoming more difficult, although there are some who love this low down sunset light.

And even I started to take fewer pics, although some of the results were quite interesting. A suburban coach refurb area near Langlaagte

People waiting for a train at Mayfair Station

And looking back towards the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein.

And then we were at Park Station, and passengers were disembarking and I had the train to myself once more.

We wound our way past Ellis Park, Jeppe, George Goch, Denver, President and finally through Germiston Station before we came to the depot in Germiston yard. The lights were on, so somebody must be there. 

It is not a straight forward job to get into the depot, a lot of points have to be crossed and direction reverses made until the gate is reached. I climbed off the train and headed to my car. I had to drive back the way we had just come, while the Reefsteamers members had to shunt the train, tidy up and put the loco to bed before they could make their weary ways home. It was a long day, but it was also a glimpse into an era passed by.  

Special thanks to Les of Reefsteamers who found me a spot on the train, as well as Clinton Hattingh for the pics, and of course to the Reefsteamers crew who did such a great job.

DRW.  ©  2010-2022. Images recreated 10/03/2016

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