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.
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
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.
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 © 2011-2021. Images recreated 19/03/2016, link recreated 03/03/2018