Way back in 2010 I was in Pretoria for some or other reason and decided to have a look at the Friends of the Rail site at Hermanstad. I had never been there before and wanted to do a trip with them at one point so this was more of a recce, and I did manage a trip a few months later when they celebrated 150 years of railways in South Africa. I had been a member of their very interesting forum for some time too, so this gave me some added impetus. Between then and now my images of this short trip got overwhelmed by so many others that I think it was time to drag them out to the light so that people can see a bit of what existed back then.
FotR no longer operates steam train excursions and is now simply an enthusiasts’ association. They recommend that you contact FOTR’s successors, Wonder Steam Trains (WST) There is no info on their webpage but they do have a Facebook page
Unfortunately on the day that I visited Hermanstad nobody was home apart from one of their members that was working on one of their coaches. But I did get to walk the line but I am no longer able to identify any of the steamers that I saw there. I do not know what the situation is like 11 years later.
The ticket office/station building.
Friends of the Rail had some really stunning slam door subs that they used on their excursion trains. They were really coaches from the past, and I remember them being used mostly on the 3rd class trains out of Johannesburg, and never got to travel on one until the Cullinan trip in September 2010.
Of special interest was a slam door sub style driving trailer. It was a rare vehicle and I hope that it eventually got restored. Sadly the driving trailer that was at Sanrasm was broken up. The image below is taken from the passenger side of the trailer.
I have no idea what the coach below was, but it was not in a very good condition.
I did not take too many pics though as I did not want to keep the people out of their work, so shot a few randoms and then headed out of there, hoping to be back again one day.
And just outside of the boundary fence a pair of class 35’s grumbled away as if to show who was boss.
And that was my brief visit to Friends of the Rail. Or should I say that was just a prequel?
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