The End of Reefsteamers?

It was with shock that that I read the following this morning. 

=== REEFSTEAMERS – CEASING OF OPERATIONS ===

It is with sadness that I must announce that as of this evening, the Germiston-based Reefsteamers Association NPC will no longer be trading. The Board of Directors have unanimously voted to place Reefsteamers into voluntary liquidation. The depot is closed to visitors and members from 16 Dec Onwards. It is presently under paid 24/7 security courtesy of Sandstone Estates.

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Reefsteamers – Germiston Steam Loco Depot – South Africa

Regular followers of my blogs will know that I was involved with them for a few years before coming to the UK in 2013, I did work as a volunteer for awhile until I had to give it up because of neck problems. I also did quite a bit of line siding and of course loved that class 12AR “Susan” that they had. The irony is that just recently that loco celebrated her 100th birthday too. However, Reefsteamers is not the only heritage operation that has had to shut up shop. Friends of the Rail as well as Atlantic Rail have both shut up shop too, although both are now operating more or less under different organisations. 

The real tragedy behind Reefsteamers closure is not only the loss of skills and knowledge but also the closure of the historic depot in Germiston as well as the collection of steam engines stored there, some of which are privately owned. 

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Unfortunately heritage rail in South Africa is an expensive business, especially when you have to deal with Transnet and ever rising cost of operation. Coal and security are major outlays and of course keeping a steam engine working is difficult because many repairs are labour intensive and spares and skills are few.  

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I have created two gallery pages showcasing some of what I did photograph when I had access to the depot,  and I hope that the depot and its treasures can be saved, because once we loose the depot it is gone forever.  Use the arrow to access page 1.

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My steam trips with Reefsteamers and Friends of the Rail:

DRW © 2019. Created 15/12/2019