He wants to put a loco in Walmer for kids to play on - Evening Post - [About 1985]

Post Reporter

PLACING an old locomotive for children to play on near the Walmer Town Hall was an idea that dawned only last week on a Walmer businessman, Mr Martin Nefdt. Today it is almost an obsession.

"This is something that can and must be done," he said today. "I've spoken to lots of people in Walmer and in my business circle and they all say it's a fantastic idea.

"We businessman can show the moaners of this city that we have get-up-and-go in us and that we can do things for PE."

Yesterday Mr Nefdt applied to the regional manager of SA Transport Services, Dr Friedel Mülke, to buy an old loco.

"As a little boy," he said in his written application, "I used to sit next to the Apple Express rail line and gaze in amazement at the 'koffie-pot' steaming past.

"I have never forgotten this experience and still today take my little ones up to the rail siding in Ninth Avenue in Walmer to experience this thrill.

"I have also taken my kids on the Apple Express on many occasions so that they may enjoy this marvel of yesteryear.

"I had the good fortune to grow up in Walmer. Now I would like to do something for the kids of the community, and I'm sure a loco would be a big attraction there.

"Having spoken to a few of our city fathers and businessmen and told them of my idea I have had nothing but exciting response.

"I appreciate that we may have a huge expense on our hands but as a local businessman I am quite prepared to go all out to promote this venture."

Dr Mülke was asked yesterday if Sats would give Mr Nefdt an old loco free of charge, especially in the light of the publicity Sats would receive and the goodwill that such a gesture would generate.

He said Sats would not make a gift and that anyway Sats would have to think twice about making the loco available at all.

"We have locos on display elsewhere in  South  Africa,"  he  said,   "and   in

Mr MARTIN NEFDT, a Port Elizabeth businessman, wants to buy an old loco-
motive like the one in the picture and set it up for children to play on at the
Walmer Town Hall.      
                                                    Picture by Jack Cooper

some cases Sats is now saddled with the expense and responsibility of getting them back because of vandalism."

But he said a loco could be made available if Mr Nefdt could give him the assurance that the venture would not become a nuisance to Sats.

"A splendid idea!" said the Mayor, Mr Solly Rubin. "I'll do anything I can to support Mr Nefdt."

Mr Nefdt points out that PE is the last city in South Africa, if not the world, in which active locos are still to be seen.

"In 20 years' time, when all our old locos have gone to the scrap dealers, our kids won't have a clue what a loco looked like - just like today's city kids who've never seen a cow."