25th September 1999
Pictures copyright © 1999-2007 - Trevor Staats
|Saturday 25 September
The day dawned quite overcast, but I headed up Montagu anyway to wait for the Oudtshoorn train to appear. GEA 4023 soon emerged from Tunnel 5, making easy work of the climb. It may not have been so easy for the fireman (firemen?) busy hand-feeding that huge firebox with coal though! The cloud cover stayed high, and there was enough light for a shot or two. I left the GEA to continue on its way and returned to George to stock up on gricer staples like fuel and film. I drove across to Oudtshoorn in the afternoon, arriving in good time to see the GEA crossing the bridge into the station as she returned from the airport siding on the Calitzdorp branch.
Waiting on the climb outside Oudtshoorn, the GEA looked great steaming under a brooding sky, belching black smoke in defiance to the darkening clouds. A few shots in the gorge out of Oudtshoorn, then the rain started. A very wet shot at Zebra, then a few more "viewings" as it was too wet to get out and phot the train. Between Holgate and Camfer, the rain eased as the train approached, just giving time to get the video and tripod set up for a nice pan of the train set against the mountains.
A water stop at Camfer, and 4023 departed for the chilly, wet and windy heights of Montagu once more. It was a rather damp wait at Topping while the GEA made the climb, the wind was howling over the pass bringing mist and rain with it. 4023 appeared through the mist, climbing faultlessly over the top, and disappearing through the curves towards George. Made for interesting video! The train looked very full, it's good to see that the trains were well patronised.
All pictures captured from video shot using a Sony TRV-7E digital video camera and Copyright © Trevor Staats 1999
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