© DRW 2012-2018. Images recreated 24/03/2016
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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