Helderberg Vintage Railway - Botrivier Centenary Photos and Report
22nd September 2002

Photos

We followed the the Helderberg Vintage Railway trip to Bot River today. The weather was a bit dodgy up Sir Lowry's Pass, with gale force winds at the top! It seems there were some problems with water at Firgrove (I heard that the hydrant fittings had been stolen) so the GO was piloted by 35-001 and 35-040 from Firgrove to Elgin where water was available. The train looked nice nonetheless, with 7 side-door suburbans in the consist. My son Lachy wanted to know why the Garratt had to pull 7 coaches *and* push two diesels up the hill (and look how fast it can go Daddy!) :-) We got a decent shot (sunny too) at Patryslaagte after the GO had ditched the diesels, roaring up the hill.

There was a small crowd at Houhoek to welcome the train, but nothing like the huge turnout at Bot River! Quite a celebration! There was singing, dancing, bands, a craft market, food stalls, ice creams and lots more... Certainly no shortage of things to look at, and the station building looks superb - the locals have done a great job of restoring it.

On the way back, we stood in Houhoek Pass, watching the train wind its way through the gorge, doubling back and then again over the two bridges before heading toward the station. No sun of course, but standing in the pass while the Garratt hauled up the grade was quite an auditory experience!
GO 2575 hauling up Houhoek PassListen to the GO hauling up the pass (52 sec 819k mp3).

Coal and water was taken at Elgin before heading back up Sir Lowry's Pass, but we'd already hit the road by then. A very enjoyable day. Thanks to John Carter and the HVR guys for putting on the train, and of course all the happy passengers today who supported it!

All pictures Copyright 2002 Trevor Staats

Somerset West Station
Somerset West Station
35s and GO 2575 Somerset West
35s and GO 2575 Somerset West
35s and GO 2575 Van Der Stel
35s and GO 2575 Van Der Stel
35s and GO 2575 Sir Lowry's Pass
35s and GO 2575 Sir Lowry's Pass
Bot River Band
Bot River Band
 
Bot River Platform
Bot River Platform
 
Bot River Station
Bot River Station
 
Dancing Kids
Dancing Kids
 
On the Platform
On the Platform
 
GO 2575 Houhoek Climb 8
GO 2575 Houhoek Climb 8
GO 2575 Houhoek Station
GO 2575 Houhoek Station
GO 2575 Houhoek Depart
GO 2575 Houhoek Departure

 
GO 2575 Patryslaagte
GO 2575
Patryslaagte
GO 2575 Elgin Departure
GO 2575 Elgin Departure

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