'Apple Express' now big Tourist Drawcard - E P Herald -

The ALMOST toy-like "Apple Express," which carries sightseers through the Langkloof Valley and some of the most wonderful mountain and forest scenery o be found in the Eastern Cape.

THE diminutive steam train, "Apple Express", which puffs its way along a
61cm wide track, is rapidly becoming an important tourist attraction, as an
excursion train.

During the December and January holiday season, six passenger coaches are added to the train, which usually hauls fruit - from the fertile Langkloof Valley in season.

The train, with its royal blue seats and old-fashioned luggage racks, leaves the Humewood Road station at 9 a.m. every Saturday.

It is a slow trip which allows passengers to enjoy the scenery at leisure.

Some of the most attractive mountain and forest scenery in the Eastern Cape can be seen from the train. It passes the Groot Winterhoek Range

with its impressive Cockscomb rising to about 2 000 metres. The train climbs west until it reaches the Van Stadens gorge, 43km from Port Elizabeth.

Here the train crosses the highest narrow-gauge railway bridge in the world.

This steel girder bridge is over 78m high and 195 metres long.

The "Apple Express" then, begins its descent to the Loerie valley, where the village of Loerie is the turning point for a normal day's excursion. It stops at all
the small stations on the way and returns to Port Elizabeth about 5 p.m.

Booking for these trips is heavy, a spokesman for the railways said, and
people often booked up to three months in advance.

Not only is the express of great interest to South African holiday- makers but it attracts many people from overseas too. Recently an American train enthusiast traveled 6000 miles to Port Elizabeth just to have a ride on the little train.

Overseas railway study groups often arrange trips on this train, which is the only narrow gauge railway open to the public in South Africa.

The "Apple Express" plays an important part in carrying deciduous and citrus fruit to the Port Elizabeth harbour and it is also a valuable supply line to the farmers of this area.
This 72,4km journey through the Langkloof costs R1,98 for adults and 99c for children.

Children under seven, accompanied by their parents, may travel free.