Steam & Safaris Eternal Hills Tour
Photos and Report
26 May 2001: Barkley East Branch
|I drove down with Jean Dulez to Lady Grey leaving Pretoria at
11:00pm, got to Lady Grey at 0630. Saw Derek Phillips and John
Middleton (who had arrived after a marathon flight from the US!) at
breakfast in the dining car. Caught up with a few other passengers
as well I know from other places. 3323 was ready to go, got a couple
of pics from behind the loco, with DZ, 19D, Lady Grey sign, water
column and mountains with sun highlight - quite nice. A runpast at
Bamboeskloof was cloudy, a pinprick of sunlight backlit the exhaust
for a second which was the only redeeming point of that runpast. At
1st Reverse, did a false arrival, then at 4th Reverse did a false
departure, all in sun. We then walked up to the bluff overlooking
5th/6th Reverse as the train (19D + DZ + DZ + FZK + sitter) climbed
up from 4th, through the gorge to 5th then 6th and beyond. Got some
nice shots, although standing atop the cliffs was very windy.
The train picked us up at 4th Reverse again and we set off for Motkop, with one runpast on the way (so-so). At Motkop the loco was turned and watered and the train shunted around to put the coaches on the back. We propelled down to Ulrie which was as far down the branch as we went. A superb runpast there, followed by another just shy of Motkop (the MMBA shot). More water at Motkop then back down to the reverses. Standing at the open end door of the coach, you could see the 19D swinging around the curves, glinting in the afternoon light with the mountain backdrop already in shadow. Took some video of this as it was really nice.
Somewhere along the way we ran out of sand, so when reversing back between 2nd and 1st Reverse the driver requested by radio that nobody use the toilets! I guess he didn't want the track greased... A stop at Melk for some late afternoon glints and a going away false start. I left the train there and joined Jean in the car once more. My favourite shot of the day was the departure from Melk, superb lighting, smoke and sound and of course that unbeatable backdrop of mountains. We dashed off to Bamboeskloof and managed a final going away glint as the sun dipped below the distant ranges. Then a 2 hour drive to Bloem and some much needed sleep!
- Trevor (Pictures and video copyright © 2001 Trevor Staats)
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