Apple's Away - South African Digest - June 28, 1974

THE Apple Express may already be a narrow-gauge relic from the age of steam, but it is still pulling its weight as the country's oddest tourist attraction on wheels.
Hundreds of steam locomotive enthusiasts flock to Port Elizabeth each year to re-live the steam age and to take a one-day excursion 70km up the line through some of the Eastern Cape Province's most picturesque scenery.    You  pass  through  stations
with such descriptive names as Bog Farm, Thornhill and Kwaaibrand (Bad Fire), and cross the world's highest narrow-gauge bridge.
Beyond Loerie lies the rich citrus valley of Hankey, and the apple orchards, whence the train derives its name.
The line was born out of the then Cape Colony's poverty. The standard gauge would have been too expensive, so Parliament  agreed  to the  building of
the   61cm  (two feet)  narrow-gauge.
During the week trains run daily, transporting fruit and vegetables to Port Elizabeth, but the weekends are reserved for the enthusiasts of steam.
And it is really the old "Puffing Billy" hauling its quaint, but spick and-span little carriages that they want to see. '
Like children with a new toy, they swarm over the engine and train, and the Railways' staff enter into the spirit of the occasion.