musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Category: Magaliesburg

Retrospective: By train to Magaliesburg 12AR-1535

One of the more obscure centenary celebrations coming up is that of 12AR-1535 “Susan”. This steam engine is the only remaining member of the SAR Class 12AR in the world, as well as being Reefsteamers’ oldest operating locomotive and the second oldest operating main line locomotive in South Africa.  
She was built in 1919 by the North British Locomotive Works in Glasgow and joined her sisters in South Africa for service on the Germiston-Witbank line moving heavy trainloads of coal. She first entered traffic on 15 March 1920. The sisters were all reboilered at some point in their lives, and 1535 was reboilered in 1944, although her existing boiler was commissioned in 1955. 

Boiler plate of 1535

I first encountered her in 1985 when I was posted to the Germiston Telecommunications Depot. At the time she was the “station pilot” for Germiston Station, and she shone so much that she could blind you in the sun. She never really retired from service and was not restored from scrap or in a derelict condition. Fortunately her original service in Germiston means that she is really back home in the depot where she worked for so many years. I have a soft spot for her and enjoyed linesiding this small wheeled “4-8-2 Mountain” as she spent her retirement running heritage train for Reefsteamers. 
According to the EXIF data on the image below, Susan was brought back into steam on 28 March 2009 and I was present for a photography session with the people who had walked with her to that point.

(1500×1092). Back in steam. 28/03/2009

You can read more about her history on the relevant Reefsteamers page. Special thanks for Lee Gates for his work on that page and his continued posts on social media. 
 
It is not very often (especially in South Africa) that a steam working steam engine reaches her centenary, and with this in mind I am reposting the blogpost about the trip I did 10 years ago on 4 April 2019.  

By train to Magaliesburg. 12AR-1535

I got the opportunity to travel with Susan on 4 April 2009 from Maraisburg Station to Magaliesburg. The same consist as before was used and the schedule was almost identical to my previous trip with Elize. Some of the images used here were taken linesiding or when I intercepted other trips at Magaliesburg.


The two images above were taken on another trip that she made on 27 April 2009, I would definitely not stand here taking pics if I had been travelling on the train.
 
And then we were off,  eventually passing through Roodepoort Station where the plinthed 10BR slowly moulders away in the parking lot.

Through to Krugersdorp where we could pick up any passengers that had wanted to join there,

Past Millsite and the rows of derelicts that were not as fortunate as Susan was, and any goods wagons that were being shunted, 

and then past the disgrace that was Sanrasm.

And once that was past you could really relax and enjoy the ride for awhile and listen to the loco in front. At some point you would start the long climb towards the grain silos,

and then power along towards the end destination,
although the cutting really was the first sign that we had almost arrived.

This time around I had opted for lunch at the hotel, but I did not bail out there, but hung around at the station for awhile to watch them turn Susan. 

 

I then had to make a mad dash down the hill for my belated lunch at the hotel.
 
Arriving back suitably satiated, I discovered that Susan had been turned and was now on the opposite end of the train in readiness for our trip back.

And as usual, there was brightwork to be polished. These preserved loco’s are always turned out very well because they showcase our proud steam heritage. Susan, as station pilot in Germiston, was always in a supershine condition, there was a lot of pride in these machines, and that is still true today.

The sitters were empty as the passengers did their thing at the picnic area, quite a few were already tanked up before we arrived and they would sleep the return journey away. 
The passing of some Class 34’s really provided a photo opportunity, although I know which is the more handsome engine out of all those in Magaliesburg on that day.
Then the passengers were roused and the whistle blew and we were off, pausing at the hotel to collect a few more errant people before attempting the level crossing on our way out of the town. 
In 2011 I was in the area and stood at the level crossing watching this spirited departure which is available on Youtube, and it amazed me how even though the loco had started moving drivers still try to get across in front of her! You do not tackle a steam engine with a car because you will loose. 
Unfortunately though we literally crawled through the cutting and the hills, and I asked some of the guys why this had happened, and it turned out that the coal was of poor quality so she was really struggling. Susan is a freight loco with lots of power, but even poor coal can turn a steamer into a snail. I did take some video of the climb and pullaway, so all is not lost
 
And even today people wave at steam engines going past, because it is just something that is done. I feel sorry for those who have never experienced steam trains because they have lost a little bit of magic. Fortunately most people opted to relax on the trip home, and the kids stopped with the “pooop pooop” imitations and I was able to get some peace. I was not really in a mood to take too many pics, besides, everything you see here is very similar to what you saw in the other trip post. 
Even the desolate landscape that we passed just after Millsite was devoid of life, but then that area has been ravaged by mining and will take many years to rehabilitate, assuming that even happens in the first place.
And eventually we were home. The sun was low on the horizon and the people who climbed off were much more subdued than those that had climbed on this morning. Even Susan seemed tired, and she still had a long way to go before she could be bedded down for the night,
 
 
 More video: 
 
DRW © 2009-2019 Created 04/04/2009. images recreated 07/03/2016, edited and reposted as a retrospect on 04/04/2019
Updated: 07/04/2019 — 13:05

Linesiding and graves in the veldt

Saturday 01 October 2011.
This morning I decided to go do some linesiding. For those that are not in the know, its when you head out to some obscure section of railway, preferably on a hill, free of any obstructions, and then wait for your train to come along. Today’s steam engine was the very impressive Class 25NC-3472 Elize, operated by Reefsteamers.

http://www.reefsteamers.com

She is an impressive lady, and about as hi-tech as the old SAR locos got. Originally designed as a Class 25 Condenser, these class 25’s were used extensively on the long stretches in the Karoo where water is scarce. They re-used their water and were extremely efficient. This particular 25 is number 3472, and somewhere along the line she lost her condensing capability and was converted into a normal class 25. She is a bit too big and heavy on coal and water for day trips, but she makes up for it by being visually very impressive and a firm favourite amongst steam buffs. 

Sadly, today was lousy weatherwise, it was (still is for that matter), overcast and very windy, not really ideal photography weather at all. I was at my spot at roughly 09H45, waiting, kicking stones, taking long looks through the viewfinder and trying not be too bored. Geminis don’t do standing around very well. 
She finally came past about an hour later,  hurtling up the hill with nary a puff of smoke or steam. Then the chase was on, to reach Magaliesburg before she did.
By the time you reach the road that loco has a head start, and if nothing delays her at Tarlton theoretically you are cutting it close. However, today a bakkie decided that 30km/ph was the speed and a line of roughly 15 cars sat behind him as he dawdled along. Overtaking was not possible or advisable.  As I reached the last stretch to Magalies I saw the loco and her coaches approaching the level crossing, it was going to be a close one,  there were 4 cars in front of me, would I make it? Naturally I didn’t. There is no way I will try take on a thumping great steam powered engine in my tiddly car and I grabbed the camera and filmed her as she went through the level crossing, whistle screaming for everybody to get out of the way or get squished.
I ended up at my other fav spot near the goods shed, watching her tackle that hill from a standing start. I have to admit, steam engines still make for the best photography when it comes to effort. 15F-3046 Janine is fun to watch and feel on that hill, she shakes the building as she goes past.
 
There is video available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZk1uHtO4do
 

16/06/2011 Linesiding at Vlakdrift

Once she was turned around (quite a process in itself), I was ready to head off gravehunting again and  I had scheduled two tasks for today. My first task was to get GPS co-ordinates for the one Steenkoppie site. Naturally my stupid GPS said I was somewhere in Roodepoort, its the same problem I had last time I tried to get these co-ordinates, only that time it said I was in Randfontein. After much ranting and raving at Garmin, the Tannie inside the GPS and thorn trees in general I was all finished, and I could head off to my next task which was roughly 14 kilos east of where I was.
 
I had been in this area before, investigating what I thought was the battlefield for Dwarsvlei (which it wasn’t). Those images are in my camera which went AWOL at Blaauwbank. For once the tannie in the GPS was right and I was soon standing at Weltevreden 493. As farm cemeteries go, this was a well maintained one. I have been in much worse.  Its quite interesting when you find these cemeteries to see the same surnames crop up. This one was predominantly Oosthuizen, Duvenhage and Viljoen. Now where had I see those names before? Cem photographed it was time to head home.
 
 

(1500 x 652)

All in all it was a productive day, all tasks were accomplished, more data was collected, a train was admired, batteries were flattened and the rain stayed away although the overcast conditions did not make for good photography. I don’t think that will be for long though, its looking pretty grim outside, and the weather forecast is for light rain. We will see what happens tomorrow……
 
DRW © 2011-2019. Images recreated 19/03/2016, link recreated 03/03/2018
Updated: 04/07/2019 — 08:03

Linesiding 12AR-1535

One of my all time favourite steam engines in South Africa is 12AR-1535 “Susan”. The pair of us go a long way back to my days when I worked in Germiston. Like me, she is still around, albeit she is much better looking. I did a Magaliesburg trip with her in 2009 and whenever I have grave hunting to do in the area I would try to tie it in when a steam engine is in the area and try get some pics too. This is more of a photo essay type post, there is not a lot to say.

My favourite spot for line siding is near a set of grain silo’s at the top of a hill with a view of the mine dumps of Randfontein in the distance and a long climb up to where I would be patiently waiting.

The area is called “Battery”, and I expect many many years ago there was even a station here. The derelict building certainly points to it.

I would be armed with rough timings as to where the train would be, the last known point probably being Krugersdorp station. After that anything is possible. At parts the line is a single one so any oncoming trains from Magaliesburg side could mean a delay near Millsite. On this particular day a diesel with a load of empty wagons came trundling past but stopped on the downward slope. Which meant my train was on the stretch between Millsite and Battery.  If you can zoom in far enough you can sometimes spot the train travelling along the flat section before turning into the uphill stretch.

Eventually there was movement and I could turn on the video camera and start filming. It is very possible that I have video of the event, but finding it is a whole different kettle of fish

Look, here is our train climbing the hill. I seem tor recall that I had problems with the video camera on this occasion, so only a few stills exist. Sadly though, Susan was not making clouds of smoke like she is supposed to. 

The goods train on the other line continued its journey towards Randfontein once the line was completely clear.

Once the train was past I hopped into my car and barrelled along to Magaliesburg, There is no guarantee that you will get there before the train does either. I generally was not interested in catching her at the station, I had bigger fish to fry. Once the train has offloaded her passengers at the hotel she then faces a long upward slog and a left turn immediately at the top of the hill. 

 By the magic of television, the video of this hill climb does exist on my youtube channel. You can also click on the pic below and theoretically it will open in a new window.

Previously the train would spend the afternoon at the station, with passengers using the facilities at the station, but Reefsteamers started using a place called Vlakdrift instead and the loco would continue from here to Vlakdrift. 

Once the train had stopped Susan was uncoupled and run around to be serviced.

At this point I left the area and went gravehunting close by, the intention being to catch up with the train a bit later, or go home when I was done. It really depended on time.  

And while I was rooting through the veldt traffic would occasionally pass me on the single line to Krugersdorp or in the other direction (I believe the line eventually ends up in Botswana). 

I seem to recall on this particular trip I wanted to watch the pull away at the station so made sure I was in position round about the time the train was ready to leave Magaliesburg. 

Lo and behold, there is video of her arrival at the hotel  and if you stick around long enough there is her pull away too (1.18 minutes into the video), or you can cheat and click on the link below for the edited version. 

There is even video of her passing through Witpoortjie. Those were good memories that helped me reconnect with steam and our rare steam heritage in South Africa. I really enjoyed linesiding, although did not always have the patience to do it regularly. I had to be able to tie it into some other activity. This time around I was just lucky to get some interesting footage of a machine that still succeeds in captivating everybody that sees it. Live steam has the ability to make people stop and stare, to forget about their cellphones and admire the elementalness of it. And every child instinctively knows how to make the noise of a steam whistle.  

© DRW 2011-2018. Retrospectively created 05/06/2016

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 19:15

Gravehunting in Magaliesburg

Lets face it, Magaliesburg is a small town stuck in a slightly different era. Its history isn’t really written down and finding anything about its past has been a pretty fruitless exercise. Looking at the area through Google Earth reveals heaps of abandoned and derelict structures, large tracts of open land and no way of knowing what it looked like before. 
My reason for the trip was two-fold. Firstly I wanted to photograph Susan on her day trip out to Vlakdrift. Although for some reason part of the video I shot did not come out. Still, I did get some great material. 

 
The second aim of my trip was to head out to the small cemetery I found last time I was in the area. I was defeated that time around by bees and thorn trees. 

Between then and now a fire had decimated the undergrowth so I could at least see the graves. This little cem is part of the farm Steenkoppie. Almost within spitting distance is yet another Steenkoppie relic, and a bit further than that a much larger cem perched on a downslope on the same side of the Blaauwbank River as my old Zuickerboschfontein nemesis is. We were able to see 63 graves in that cem, but 95% were without markings. 

This graveyard is identified and posted at Egssa as “Zuickerboschfontein 151, farm cemetery 2”   We had to cross the river (Blauwbank?) to get to the cem, and it has a strange other worldliness about it, almost like an alien landscape.

I also managed to get down to the Jennings Family cem (identified as “Zuickerboschfontein 151, Blauwbank farm cemetery 1”).  and the fire had revealed all the graves, it seems as if I had missed at least one during my last trip. I think I have them all now. The comparison between before and after the fire is quite amazing.
 
This is what the grass looked like before the fire. 
 
 
And after the fire. What a difference it made.  I have also had a better look around that rambling old derelict house, its amazing how the undergrowth is trying to bury it. From what I heard the place was intact not too many years back, but it has since been stripped of everything. I would have loved to have seen it in its heyday, especially the interiors as some of the rooms are tiny. 
 
  

 
There was no sign of my dropped camera either, so I was still very peeved at this place. I am going to have to go back to Magalies soon, probably this next weekend. Susan is rostered again, and I have a cem up near Bartons Folly to go photograph, and I need better GPS co-ordinates for Steenkoppie. Its all good fun though, and I have to admit that Saturday was a real scorcher. Is that a portent of the weather to come this summer? Its enough to drive me indoors. 
 
DRW © 2011-2018. Images recreated 18/03/2016, links recreated 03/03/2018
 
Updated: 04/03/2018 — 20:01

Ruins in the veldt

One of the questions that cropped up during my explorations of the Jameson Raid remnants was the whereabouts of the grave of a certain “Trooper Black” that is listed as being buried at “Blaauwbank”. I no longer recall where this information pitched up, but Blaauwbank was a clue. At the time the only Blauuwbank that I was aware of was a mine that sat on a hill close to Magaliesburg Station, and my exploration of that did not provide any answers apart from a hint that there was a cemetery associated with the farm where the mine was. Further explorations then pointed to the derelict farmhouse and cemetery that was on the track leading up to the mine itself. I covered a some of that in the relevant blogpost at the time, this post is more about the derelict farmhouse.

Its a derelict for crying out loud, what could be so interesting about it? 

Not much as it turns out. There is a bit of history floating around on the net, but today it is really just a pile of ruins, or should I say, at the date of this blog post it was more like a ruin being overtaken by the bush.

This is also the ruin that ate my camera! Sadly, the pics I took from the mine were in the camera when it went missing so I was never able to show the pics from that particular day, and there was no way I was going to take my strange car up that hill again.

Back to the farmhouse:

The building was a brick built single storey structure with a shallow roof and a front stoep. At some point it was supposedly used as a hotel and Paul Kruger stayed there.

The interior consists of small pokey rooms, that were still relatively free of vegetation.

 

All interior and exterior fittings like door frames, ceilings, roof etc. have been stolen over the years, and i have no idea when this place was abandoned.  

Given the size of some of the trees I do suspect it has been derelict for quite some time.  

Technically this building may be over 100 years old, and as such should have been protected as a heritage space, but it is not situated in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg so has been forgotten completely.

There are other structure behind the ruin, and it was probably near one of these where my camera went awol.  

I suspect these may have been stables of stores, maybe even ablutions? there is no real way of knowing.

The people who lived here were the Jennings family, or rather, that is what I can gather from the graveyard

There was a low wall that ran in front of the property and the overgrown graveyard was right at the end of the wall. The grass was so high in places that I could not even see the wall. 

The farmhouse may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates:  26° 0.252’S,   27° 31.759’E.

I revisited the farmhouse later in the year after a winter fire had burnt the grass and vegetation down and this is what it looked like; all a part of the cycle of growth in the veldt. 

  

 
© DRW 2011-2018. Retrospectively created 22/05/2016 
Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:27

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. 
 
Here 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.
 
I was also shooting video on that trip and these can be found on Youtube. I seem to recall there are 4 in total.
 
http://youtu.be/h_hcoTxln48
  
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.  ©  2010-2019. Images recreated 10/03/2016
 
Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:52

SIA Evaluation: Sanrasm South Site

On 10 September 2010 I was unofficially included in the team that went to Sanrasm to evaluate the collection and make recommendations. I will not go into the backdoor politics that had to happen to even get to this point, and neither will I name any names. The biggest obstacle that was faced was that North Site was no longer connected to South Site or to the line to Magaliesburg that divided the two sites. Moving anything would involve a crane, and there weren’t really funds to do this. Some very difficult decisions had to be made though, and I am glad that logic finally overcame pig headedness.

These are probably amongst the last images taken of these two sites before they started being rationalised.

NGG 13 Garratt No.58.

Berliner side-tank 8786

NBL Side tank

161 Phantom Pass

Class 14R-1909

Aveling & Porter steam roller.

Fowler or Foden steam roller

Slam door sub

GDA Garratt No.2259

siasouth11

L-14 Driving trailer

GF Garratt No.2404

4-10-2 NBL side-tank 23722

Class 1 No.1252

Shashi interior

Class 1 No.1253

GF Garratt No.2404

Slam door sub

Class 14R-1909

NBL Side tank

Class 19D-2644 Wardale

NBL Side tank “Jenny”

Hunslet Tank No.790

Kitson Tank No.2269

Class 6 No.473

Class 1 No.1252

Slam door sub

Class 14R No.1705

Class 14R “Joyce”

Class 3BR No.1483

Class 16CR No.816

Class 6A No.454

Class G side-tank 206

Class G side-tank 206

Class 15CB

GMAM No.4125

2-10-2 industrial Tank 61553

Class 15CB

GMAM No.4125

DRW ©  2009-2019. Retrospectively created 12/06/2019

Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:53

By train to Magaliesburg: 25NC-3472

This was my first train trip with Reefsteamers, and it took place on 7 March 2009 from Maraisburg Station to Magaliesburg.

The loco doing the hard work was 25NC-3472 “Elize” and the consist was daysitters, a catering car, a much used traveling bar, the catering coach “Kango”, compartmented coaches, a power car and a water tanker in case Elize got thirsty. 
 
Then the whistle blew and we were off, threading our way west via Krugersdorp and Millsite to Magaliesburg.
 
 
 
I hadn’t been through Krugersdorp Station since I was an apprentice in 1982 so it was an interesting pause for me, and of course 3 passing 6E1’s just made it so much better.
  
We stopped just outside Millsite and stood still while something was happening in front of us, the entrance to the loco depot was not too far off, and some of the things I spotted here I would later go investigate,
 
 
and of course once you pass Millsite you would come to Sanrasm, and that sad L-14 driving trailer that looked worse each time I saw it. I would do a lot of photography at Sanrasm, and watch it being demolished. 
  
 
After Millsite it was an almost clear run through to our destination, you leave “civilisation” behind and enter mining, and later agricultural area.  The trip is not too long though, it really depends on whether there are any other trains on the line at the time.
  
And of course once we reached the cutting we were almost there. It was just a matter of going through the level crossing and it would be time to get off. The level crossing is quite a good spot for photography, but you really have to get there long before the loco arrives, or ideally as she leaves, and of course be on the correct side of the track. There is a certain smugness about leaning out of the coach window and watching all the cars with their drivers staring back at you.
 
I had not made any prior lunch arrangements and really intended dwaaling around town to pass the time. There was an option of lunch at the hotel but you had to disembark at the stop before the long climb into Magaliesburg Station, and I really wanted to see them turn the loco around and clean the fire before thinking about food. I had been through here previously to do some gravehunting, so was not a total stranger to the sleepy town. 
 
Rationally though, there is not a lot happening at Magaliesburg, its the sort of place you can see in 10 minutes. The real history is not in the town, and the places I wanted to see you needed a car, with a GPS and a map to find. 
 
 
 
And then we had arrived. Grabbing my stuff I headed for the end of the train to see if I could catch them moving Elize onto the other line. She is a big loco, and as she went past you could see the sleepers sink into the trackbed, and hear the creaks as she passed.
 
 
  
 
Reversing down the track she would be turned at the triangle and serviced a bit off from the station. I did not follow her to the triangle but headed off in my own direction to find food and do my thing. I would be back by the time she had been turned and serviced.
  
 
In fact I was back a bit earlier (I said the town was small), so parked off after doing some photography. There was one interesting building which I photographed:
 
 
It was supposedly part of Johannesburg’s original station. However I could not really prove it, but I did see pics of it at Park station when it was used for the Rand Tram celebrations (1989?)
  
 
Then the whistle blew and we were off, first collecting our passengers at Magaliesburg Country Hotel,
 
 
then over the level crossing, and powering our way home.
  
  
 
The loco has quite a struggle leaving the immediate area of the station as she has to pick up speed to make the grades in this area, this is probably when you get to hear the best stack talk and feel the brute strength of the powerful old ladies of the rails.
 
I think it was at Tarlton where we stopped to let another train pass, the line is not really suited for heavy two way traffic and there are a number of spots where one train is able to pass another. I believe this line eventually ends up at Mafeking or Zeerust, and is not heavily used, although a number of container and fuel trains do use it. 
 
 
The line is not electrified either so is home to “paraffin burners” (as steam enthusiasts call diesels). 
 
 
Just pass the silos is a long downgrade which is quite a favourite spot for line siding, I would stand there myself for quite a few hours in later months, but I had not done that before so did not know about this spot. 
 
 
We were now close to Randfontein and many of the people were stirring from their alcohol induced slumbers, even the limp children were running around, having catnapped since we left Magaliesburg. It was getting decidedly noisy in our sitter coach.
 
 
As we went through Millsite I managed to grab a few shots of the old coal stage that still stood there, and if my memory serves me right it was demolished not too long after I took these images. There was a Garrat standing next to the stage, and I wonder if she managed to survive the breaking up of the coal stage? Then we were going through Krugersdorp once again, passing some toasters along the way.
 
 
Our final destination was Maraisburg, and it had been a long and hot day. I was covered in specks of soot and ash, and my camera lens was making odd noises, but it was worth it! 
 
 
I disembarked and watched the train pull away and carry on with its journey back to Germiston. I would take 3 trips with Reefsteamers to Magaliesburg, and ended up line siding on a few occasions. It was nice to feel the sway of a train beneath my feet,  it had been way too long since I had last experienced that feeling. 
 
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