musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Category: Pretoria

The Kruger House

No reading about the Boer War would be complete without mentioning Paul Kruger, and there is no doubt that he was a significant person in the history of South Africa. His house is situated in Pretoria and is now a museum, so with some spare time I decided to pop in for a visit. 

It is strange to find the residential property of a State President at street level, but from what I read this is what Paul Kruger would have preferred. If anything he was a deeply religious person, not prone to outbursts of emotion, and well loved by his friends and countrymen, and respected by his enemies. Situated in  Church Street, The house was designed by Tom Claridge and built by the builder Charles Clark during 1883-1884. Right across from the house is the magnificent Gereformeerde Kerk Pretoria (aka Paul Kruger Kerk) of 1889.

 

The house is not overly complicated, but is well built and very simple when compared to a house like Melrose House. By 1899 it was one of the few buildings in Pretoria that had electricity and a telephone, although from what I saw water borne sewerage was not on the cards. Paul Kruger and his wife lived there until he left the country in 1900. His wife remained in the house until her death in 1901. The house was bought by the Union Government in 1925 and it was restored and opened to the public in  1934, being declared a National Monument in 1936.  

Sitting Room

A lot of the furniture and fittings do come from the original house, and while it does have a bit of a cluttered old fashioned feel about it I did find it was a very personal house, not really the sort of place that you would expect a  President to live in. 

One of Paul Kruger’s offices

Dining Room

Bedroom

Bedroom


There are also two display halls: The ZAR Hall, and the Exile Hall. 

Exile Hall

The ZAR Hall has some amazing historic artefacts that pertain to the Boer War, as well as many of the awards and gifts give to the President and people of the ZAR. The Exile Hall is more about the period when Paul Kruger fled the country on board the Gelderland, and his subsequent exile in Europe. 
Also on display are an oxwagon, and his state coach.
   
Of special interest to me is the State Railway Coach which is on the premises. Sadly this wonderful old clerestory coach, with its observation platform, is not open to the public. All I could really see inside it were a conference room, sleeping berths and a small kitchen.
 
 According to the information sign, the coach was used by Paul Kruger when he was at Machadodorp and Warterval-Onder, and carried him to Lourenco Marques from where he went into exile. It was restored in 1951 and placed at the museum in 1952. 
 
A final stop in my tour was the kitchen and scullery where some sort of inkling of domestic life was on view. 
 
 
 
Paul Kruger died in Switzerland on 14 July 1904, his body being returned to South Africa and given a state funeral on 16 December 1904. He is buried with his wife and members of his family in Church Street Cemetery.
Out of curiosity, in my visit to the archives in Pretoria I found a document that may have been signed by Kruger himself, ok, he is mentioned in it. 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 26/03/2016
 
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 16:06

Completing the Cards

Followers of this blog may recall my post from 24 May 2012 “Reading the cards”  At the time when I wrote it we were facing the seemingly mammoth task of trying to find record cards for as many South African World War One casualties as we could.  It seemed like a daunting task. There were 339 drawers, each filled with roughly 700 cards. Theoretically they were in alphabetical order, and theoretically each should have had an indication of the servicemen/women’s status.

 

Today, on 9 January 2013, we closed the drawers for the last time. The number stamped on the last card was 113906. Between my partner and myself we photographed about 8500 cards of individual people, equating to just over 174 drawers each. In my case I did 30 trips to Pretoria and back to do it, driving to Marlboro and catching the Gautrain to Pretoria. The only real glitch in our routine was over December when the office was closed on the one day we were there. 

 
One thing that these cards did was provide a unique glimpse into the lives of a wide spectrum of people from that era. I was always fascinated by how many people lived in Johannesburg City centre, and how many lived in my old stomping grounds in Mayfair. I found the card of one of the early ministers of the church I attended, as well as the card of somebody that lived in the house I used to own in Turffontein. 
 
It was not all honey and roses though. Most of the cards provide a glimpse into the service record of the soldiers, often recording their misdemeanours, illnesses, deaths and burials. Often the medical side makes for shocking reading, and yet it sometimes makes you rejoice to read about a severely wounded soldier finally being discharged after a long period in hospital. Bad boys also got their comeuppance, with punishment records often containing multiple sins and omissions. 
 
There were many events that are milestones that I looked for. The sinking of the Galway Castle and Mendi,  The Battle of Delville Wood, and the 1914 Rebellion and South West African Campaign. I also discovered the Hex River derailment, and the horrific losses through diseases such as Enteric and Blackwater Fever, Malaria and Influenza. I also saw the men that were escorted home suffering from dementia, heart complaints, TB and alcoholism.  And I saw the many that died in late 1918, just a few months before the end of the war.  The flu epidemic of 1918 decimated the ex-soldiers, many of whom were still suffering the ill effects of their military service.
 
It has been a magnificent project. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had. It really needs an actuary to look at these cards and make some sort of sense out of the data in them. My one regret is that we were not able to photograph all of the cards because they really need to be preserved.  We still need to extract a lot of information from the cards and I hope that we will be able to add a number of previously unrecognised casualties to the Roll of Honour from WW1. And, I hope that one day somebody will look back at this achievement and use it to keep the memory alive of those who never came home. 
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated and link fixed 26/03/2016
 
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 16:06

Revisiting Bays Hill

One of my favourite memorials has to be the South African Air Force Memorial at Bays Hill in Pretoria. It is a magnificent structure that epitomises “those who mount up with wings as eagles”. 

 

I recall going there as a toddler with my parents and an uncle. In those days the Book of  Remembrance used to be in a recessed holder, and it was in there that we looked for the name of my uncle that died in Egypt during World War 2.

 
The memorial was opened on 1 September 1963 by President CR Swart. Other additions have been the Garden of Remembrance, the Walls of Remembrance, and the recent addition of the Potchefstroom AFB Memorial.
Wall of Remembrance and Roll of Honour.

Wall of Remembrance and Roll of Honour.

The futuristic and angular design of the building is unique and it does not have the heavy often morbid feel of a memorial, if anything it is light and airy, reminiscent of flight. 

Garden of Remembrance

Garden of Remembrance

The interior houses a small chapel as well as spaces for the Rolls of Honour and guest books, while not a large space still retains a aircraftlike feel with its angular windows. 
bays_hill48
 
On the day of our visit the national flag was at half mast, probably to honour Chief Justice Arthur Chaskelson who had died that week. However, little did we realise at the time that the Air Force would loose an aircraft and its crew and passengers on the next day. Those names will be added to the thousands already inscribed on the Roll of Honour. 
 
Korean War Roll of Honour.

Korean War Roll of Honour.

It is a sombre place to visit, and seeing the names inscribed on the Wall of Remembrance always leaves one feeling humble, and as you leave this small haven of peace you may hear the sound of an aircraft flying overhead, and know that it is a kindred spirit of those who are remembered here.
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 26/03/2016
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:41

The Air Force Museum

Due to an unplanned party, our usual Wednesday Pretoria trip took a detour, and one of the places I revisited was the South African Air Force Museum at Swartkops AFB. I had originally visited there in December 2008, and had been somewhat disappointed, but also enthralled by their collection of aircraft. Nothing I saw though would really compare to the collection I had seen at The National Museum of the  US Air Force in Dayton Ohio in 2000. That place was truly amazing.
 
As usual I did have an ulterior motive in my visit, I really wanted to see the P51 Mustang that had evaded me in 2008, and was hoping to spot a complete Vampire too, the last Vampire I had seen had been incomplete. The images in this blog post are really a mix from my 2008 visit and the 2012 visit, because there have been changes since I had first been here.  There are aircraft that I have not added images of, that is because I did not have a specific interest in them on this visit.
Inside the museum (2008)

Inside the museum (2008)

The main display area on the apron housed the larger aircraft, and my special favourite has to be the Shackleton. She had been moved from her original spot, and as usual was really worth seeing up close and personal. 
 
Also dominating the area was the SAAF Boeing 707,  I had never been lucky enough to see one of these up close and personal, and she is really the only one I have seen. 
 
Actually that is a fib because I have been on board the 707 at Wright Patterson AFB. That particular aircraft, Boeing VC-137C – SAM 26000 (Boeing 707) had served President John F Kennedy as the presidential aircraft (aka “Air Force One”) before it too was replaced by a 747. Personally I prefer Boeing aircraft, these new fangled Airbus aircraft don’t work for me.

Also on the apron is the DC4 Skymaster, She too had been moved from my last visit, and she is deteriorating rapidly, the fabric of her elevators and ailerons is falling apart and she really needs to be under cover and restored.

A new addition that had not been there on my previous visit was a Puma helicopter. There was another Puma (or Oryx?) doing circuits and bumps while we were visiting but I never got any decent footage of her. 

Most of the Mirage and Impala had been moved under cover which should protect them from the elements, but the larger aircraft are really in a precarious situation.  Even the sleek Canberra is looking somewhat faded.


I have not shown images of the C160 Transall or the Ventura or Super Frelon that are parked on the apron. Neither have I shown images of the aircraft parked under cover.

Moving indoors to the display hangers I was delighted to find my missing Mustang!

As well as the restored Vampire.

I was also hoping to get better images of the Sabre while I was there, and was delighted to find her in a much better position than previously.

Another addition that I had not seen previously was an SAAF trainer, I am not sure whether this is a Pilatus or the local derivative.

I was also hoping to get a better image of the Fieseler Storch but it lived in relative darkness so this is the best I could do…
There are a lot of other aircraft to view at the museum, like the wonderful Sikorsky S-51 which is a real blast from the past,

And the Communist Bloc era Mikoyan MiG21 BIS which ran out of fuel while on a flight over Northern South West Africa in 1988. (Returned to Angola in 2017)

 

Our own South African Air Force aircraft also feature strongly, and one of my personal favourites is the Mirage IIIBZ in her original delivery colours.

And, the Westland Wasp in her Naval colour scheme, hankering back to the days of our 3 frigates.

Unfortunately though the museum does not have a complete Harvard on display,  that stalwart trainer did our country very proud, and the snarl of their engines overhead is only a memory. Like most museums though, this one lacks funds and dedicated people to keep it going.  We are very fortunate to have this small collection available, and it would be tragic if we were to loose it. It is well worth the time and effort to go through to Pretoria for a visit, because if you are an air force and aviation buff, these are the machines that you may soon only read about.
 
A postscript. At the time of writing this, the Air Force had just lost a Turbo-Dak with all her crew and passengers in bad weather over the Drakensberg. This is the second Dakota that has been lost recently, maybe its time the museum acquired one for the collection before they too become extinct.  
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 26/03/2016
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:42

The National Archives in Pretoria

Having done a bit of genealogy in the past few years, I know about the National Archives and the potential they have for research. There are a number of archives in South Africa, and each houses material pertaining to activities in their provinces. It’s difficult to really describe what they are about though until one actually goes there and draws a file.  Most genealogists or researchers use what is loosely known as “Naairs” (National Automated Archival Information System  to look up files in the archives. It’s a slightly finicky way of doing things, but it is all that we have. The results returned often do not really say very much. An example would be:
 
TAB is the National Archives Repository (Public records of the former Transvaal and its predecessors, as well as of magistrates and local authorities), and it is in Hamilton Street, Pretoria.  There is a very good explanation on the Naairs website as to what all that mumbo jumbo in the results actually means. 
 
It is best to request files before heading to the archive; in my case I faxed them the day before and confirmed that they received the list and that would have as much ready for me as possible. The reading room contains desks and tables where researchers are able to photograph or collect information.  I was really there to take photographs of files for later research, and that is what I did. Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the Cape Archives (KAB) which really makes things very complicated. 

What really amazed me was the information that is there if you really look for it or know what you are after. Amongst the material I was after was pre Boer War era material and one item I saw was a petition to Paul Kruger for a pardon. I did not really explore it more, but I am sure somewhere amongst the many signatures on it I  would have found that of Paul Kruger himself. 

 There we also a number of interesting old maps that somebody had requested. And amongst them was one from Johannesburg, dated 1896 and loosely described as “The Residents’ and Strangers’ Friend”.
 

It is a wonderful glimpse into Johannesburg of the past, and this was probably the original. It is interesting to see how the city had grown from when it officially became one in 1886 till then, and of course Braamfontein Cemetery was in use, and its register from that era is equally interesting.  

What I did find interesting is how well developed the machinery of filing and bureaucracy was, with its arcane language, revenue stamps and formal forms of address. SMSspeak did not exist in the civil service, and proper spelling was extremely important. You also “humbly begged to be your obedient servant” and signed your name with a flourish. Of course the occasional gem can also be found in those reams of  formality…
139
 
To say that my curiosity isn’t piqued would be an understatement, there is so much to discover at the archives, but like most things you actually need to have a distinct purpose when calling up files; whether they are for genealogy or curiosity, randomly choosing a file may not really be fruitful, and I am already contemplating what to look for next. 
 
I did find the staff very helpful, and the experience was an interesting one. There is much to see, and so much to discover hidden in that building that it should be a compulsory exercise for children in school. I just wish we had been able to do this when I was young. 
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 25/03/2016
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:13

Detour in Pretoria

Following my initial trip to Pretoria on the Gautrain I was determined to start exploring a bit further. There is a lot of history in the city, and it is not really a place I know well. My weekly trips to the archives are very busy, but occasionally I may need to break these off to explore something along the way.  One of two possible places that I needed to see were Melrose House, and to find a memorial in Burgers Park. Both of these are next to each other, so it was just a matter of actually doing it. 
 
We parked at Melrose House, which is between Jacob Mare and Scheiding Streets.  The house is quite famous, as it was here that the peace documents that ended the Boer War were signed on 321 March 1902. The house was originally built for George Heys, and was completed in 1886. It was named after Melrose Abbey in Scotland. 
The back of Melrose House

The back of Melrose House

It was designed by WT Vale of London, and has stables and a tennis court in the grounds. The house has seen many famous personages living in it, including Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener and has always been somewhat of an iconic structure in Pretoria. It was declared a national monument on 17 May 1971.
 

Just across the street from Melrose House is Burgers Park.  The site for the park was set aside in 1874 at the recommendation of President TF Burgers, and development was started in 1889. It is a very pretty space and of special interest is the statue of President Burgers, as well as the South African Scottish Memorial which was what I was really looking for.  The park was declared a national monument in 1979.

The ornate gates originate from the house “Parkzicht” but these have since been vandalised, as has the Victorian bandstand. Fortunately the SA Scottish Memorial is in an excellent condition. 

South African Scottish Memorial

Bandstand

Bandstand

There is also a Florarium on the site, and a tree that was planted by Queen Wilhelmina in 1898,  although the original tree is long gone. Finally, a quick visit to President Burgers and then it was time to dash off home. 

FT Burgers (State President 1872-1877)

The one thing that struck me the most about this park was what a nice green space it was in Pretoria. Unfortunately, like everything else in South Africa, metal thieves are going to reduce it to rubble.

© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 25/03/2016

Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:15

The Police Memorial

Following my the wreath laying ceremony at the VTM I went and did a spot of gravehunting at Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria before heading to the Union Buildings to photograph the SAHA Memorial and take a closer look at the Police Memorial which I had only seen from a distance before.
When I had seen the memorial originally I noted that there were a lot of plaques with names on them, but when I actually stood at the plaques then I only realised how many there actually were. By my reckoning there are roughly 4114 names on the memorial, dating from roughly 1920 till 2011. Being a policeman in South Africa is not for the feint hearted. Unfortunately the sun was in a really bad position for photography, so my pics were not great at all. But, it is worthwhile returning here one day to capture all of those names and see how it compares to the ROH of the police.
 
For those that are interested, the cornerstone was laid on 20 May 1983 and it was unveiled by the then State President PW Botha on 17 October 1984. 
 
It is a sobering memorial, because many of the police mentioned here may not have covered themselves with glory, and given the amount of controversy surrounding the police in South Africa at the moment I think many of those named here would be ashamed to associate themselves with the police force. 
 
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 25/03/2016.  Links replaced 20/05/2015
 
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:22

Remembering our lost soldiers.

On Sunday 3 June I attended the annual wreath laying service at the SADF Wall of Remembrance at the Voortrekker Monument. This is the 4th time I have attended the service, and the second time I have laid a wreath on behalf of the South African War Graves Project. The wall was officially unveiled on the 25th of October 2009, and has grown from strength to strength. Almost 100 wreaths were laid on Sunday, with representatives from a variety of countries, including Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, and quite a few European Nations. This time around, we had a representative from the South African Government  in the form of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who laid a wreath.   
The SAWGP Wreath

The SAWGP Wreath

The good thing about this wall is that it has become almost a living memorial as more names are added to it. SAWGP has been instrumental in finding many of the names that are being added, and when you compare the list at the wall to that at Fort Klapperkop there is a big difference. Sadly, we still struggle with the issue of information that is missing, or incomplete or just not available, and many names are merely surnames with “FNU” on them; “First Name Unknown”.
 
The complex at the VTM also houses the 32 Battalion Tree of Honour, as well as the 31/201 Battalion Memorial. It is also going to become the home of the “EBO 4” who’s remains are to be repatriated in the immediate future. And, a separate wall with niches for SADF or ex-SADF  members who wish to be interred there.
 
The one interesting addition has been 4 plaques that list the recipients of the Honoris Crux, Van Riebeeeck Medal, and the Louw Wepener Medal. This is the only place in South Africa where they are commemorated. The small group of 3 medals that I have does not compare to the groupings I saw amongst some of those men.
Medal recipient wall

Medal recipient wall

The one thing that always strikes me when I attend these services is the people who attend. Many of the events where casualties occur happened before 1994, and many of the parents of those names on the wall are long gone. Today it is their children, or siblings, and occasionally a parent. This wall should have happened 20 years ago, to help bring closure to many of those people. I suppose though, the so called “Freedom Park” was supposed to help, but given the hostility from that place and its “management” I don’t think we would want our dead to be remembered there.
After nearly 100 wreaths, it was time to go home, or, at least to stop and have lunch before heading off to my next destination. In a few days time the wreaths would have withered, and the birds will be less nervous, and maybe a cleaner will guide his broom around the edge of the wall, the only thing left behind will be that long list of names, and the reflective marble, and the solitary memorial to the Unknown Soldier.

At the going down of the sun,
And in the Morning.
We Will Remember Them.
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 25/03/2016
 
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 15:23

The Gautrain and Pretoria. 22-09-2011

Better late than never. On 22 September I had to go to Sandton. Everybody knows I hate going to Sandton. That traffic drives me completely and utterly insane. However, nowadays you can drop your car in Marlboro, and then catch the Gautrain to Sandton. I decided on this option, although a slight deviation via Pretoria would be made after my appointment. Twas supposedly car free day too, but the traffic, once again, was standing on the highway.
 

The Gautrain at Marlboro

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.

I had no real plan for Pretoria, in fact the original intention was to ride to Hatfield and then come back, but once we hit PTA I decided to head out to Church Square and check out the statues and buildings.  
 
Pretoria Station in itself is a piece of history, my last journey through here had been in 1981 when I was in the army. Today it has changed considerably, gone are the railway coaches and steam engine, replaced by security and unfamiliar signage. Its still a pretty building though, and well worth seeing on its own.

Stitched image of PTA Station

I passed the old Victoria Hotel, which looks so out of place. Its a wonderful old structure though, and was supposedly completed in 1895. 
  
 
Continuing up Paul Kruger Street, I came to Pretorius Square with its 3 statues and town hall building that is a magnificent edifice all on its own. A beautiful statue of Chief Tshwane fronts it today, and that gives it an almost ironic feel.
 
 

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. 

Church Square looking towards Paul Kruger

The Palace of Justice

The Old Raadsaal building

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. 

Then it was time to head off home, my mission accomplished. Looking back though, I should have explored the east side of the square, and taken more time to try find some of the other significant sites in that immediate area. 
I was fortunate to be able to grab the next train heading south and didn’t have a 20 minute wait. And, on the drive home from Marlboro the robots were all dead along William Nicol Drive. Traffic was backed up onto the highway for at least 2 kilos. Had I gone through to Sandton by car I would still have been sitting in traffic! Car free day my eye.
 

Gautrain at Sandton Station

The one final comment worth noting is that Gautrain’s biggest asset is its staff. They are really great and I just hope that they don’t go down the road of surely, unhelpful and apathetic.

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. 

DRW © 2011-2018. 
Updated: 08/04/2019 — 19:35

Friends of the Rail to Cullinan

I had always had a hunkering to go on a Friends of the Rail trip, but never seemed to do it, until one day Reefsteamers was offered seats on the 150th Celebration of Steam Railways in South Africa trip to Cullinan.
 
This trip took place on 26 September 2010 from Hermanstad to Cullinan, and I was really looking forward to seeing their train as it had magnificent vintage slam door suburban coaches. I had always wanted to ride in one of them and this was my chance.
The loco up front was 19D-2650 “Cheugnette”. We were blessed with great weather were soon ready to go.

Friends of the Rail (aka FotR) operates out of Hermanstad in Pretoria, and they have a very nice collection of rolling stock and loco’s at their disposal. Unfortunately though, Pretoria is a bit out of my range, and I had only visited their site once before (and nobody had been home).

And then we were off. I do not know the route that the train takes, although I do recall we went past Capital Park and Hercules, although where they fit into it is beyond me. I had also never ridden behind a 19D and she was really romping up front, she had a wonderful whistle too and the coaches were a pleasure to travel in.

 

At some point we stopped. The line is a busy commuter line too, and naturally precedence is given to Metrorail. We were passed by a 10M5 here, and it was interesting to see the difference between two the generations of suburban traction.

 
 

From here we had a clean run to Reyton where we collected the Staff which gave us permission to use that line. A few years ago a 15F operated by FotR derailed on the way to Cullinan after sleeper theft, but we were fortunate that all sleepers were intact as we wound our way into the sleepy mining town.

Once we were alongside a short ceremony was held to celebrate the 150th Celebration of Steam Railways in South Africa. It also gave me an opportunity to have a look at the whole train without a platform in the way. Unfortunately the light post I could do nothing about.
 

 And there were photo opportunities with Cheugnette.

 

At this point I headed off to the local cemetery and to do some sight seeing. The town isn’t really very big, and one of the major attractions is a large hole (and you cannot even see that properly).  There is also a very strong military heritage to the town, but I did not have the time to explore it.

 

 



I soon ran out of things to see so headed back to the station where our loco was being serviced and having a drink of water.

Once that was completed she was turned around and then ran back down the line to be at the front of the train in readiness for our return.

A few last minute photo opportunities were provided and then we were ready to leave.

There were quite a few linesiders on the way back and I bet they got better pics than I did, the curvature of the track did not give me enough of a view of the loco ahead, so opportunities were few and far between. 

 
And of course as we got closer to Pretoria we started to encounter many of the Gautrain works that were extending to Hatfield. The Gautrain was still a few months away from being in operation, and I believe that some great images have been taken on this stretch of track of the Gautrain since it opened. 
 
 And there are still remnants to be seen of the old South African Railways along this route, even if they are long disused watertanks and SAR liveried coaches.
 
The end destination was in sight, all that was left was to shunt into the Hermanstad and disembark.
 
 
 
It was over. Time to head off home. I had a long drive back to Johannesburg, and it was getting dark quickly. Hopefully my GPS would not get me lost like it did last time I was here. Well done Friends of the Rail for great trip, and long may you go on preserving this heritage.
 
DRW ©  2010 – 2019. Images recreated 10/03/2016
Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:56
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