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