Friday, August 10, 2012
2005-02-17 Riding the George-Knysna "Choo"
The following pictures are courtesy of Juan and Nanel Pieterse.
These were taken on 17 February 2005. They made a return trip starting in George.
By coincidence a Union Limited Steam Tour was also in town on that morning!
Here Class 19B no 1412 is heading the Union Limited
2nd in line for the double-header was GMAM 4122
9:36 George Station with the Union Limited on the opposite side
The Choo on the descent to Wilderness
9:59 Victoria Bay
10:02 Kaaimans Bridge
10:06 Wildernis Station
10:18 Ebb & Flow Rail/Road bridge
10:55 Sedgefield Station all ready with refreshments
10:58 The westward train at Sedgefield
10:09 Departing from Sedgefield
11:31 Crossing the N2 between George and Knysna
11:31 Entering Goukamma siding
12:06 Arrival at Knysna station
Watering point at Goukamma
15:32 The afternoon eastward train arriving at Sedgefield
16:18 These rail cars were used to transport people to the Grotto restaurant next to the Kaaimansbridge tunnel
16:21 Wildernis station
17:06 End of Journey at the OTM platform in Knysna - Class 19D no 2698 looking good!
The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe was the last remaining continually-operated passenger steam train in Africa, ending operation in June 2009. The railway was completed in 1928, and links the towns of George and Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa. The 3 hour journey also stops in the towns of Wilderness, Goukamma, and Sedgefield. The scenic 67-kilometre (42 mi) route hugs the rugged coastline of the Garden Route before ending by crossing a bridge over the lagoon in Knysna.
It was declared an officially preserved railway in 1992, carrying about 40,000 passengers per year at the time. A decade later, it carried 115,000 passengers per year, 70% of whom were foreign tourists.
The trains are usually pulled by SAR Class 19D steam locomotives, of 4-8-2 wheel arrangement with Vanderbilt-like "torpedo" tenders, although the task is occasionally handled by SAR Class 24 steam engines. When dry conditions in the summer increase the risk of wildfires, diesel locomotives (SAR Class 32s) are used instead.
During August 2006 the line was damaged due to heavy flooding - effectively ending all operations on this line.