Steam Loco Safari Tours Photos and Report
Caledon - Elgin 19th June 2002
|Another early start... This is getting a bit much! Warwick was
driving, and when conversation in the car gradually faded he
realised that everyone was out to it! Arrival at Caledon at 7:50 saw
GO 2575 simmering in the yard in the pre-dawn darkness, with a
feeder tank, 3xFZJ, 2xDZ, 2 x suburbans and a crew caboose as the
train for the day. The passengers were to meet the train near
Mission, so it was just the four of us riding the first section.
This was okay as it gave a chance to get things organised, the
coaches cleaned etc.
The pax all boarded and we set of up the hill a way from Mission, the first runpast was a magnificent glint with the rising sun - beautiful. A couple more runpasts were held in the Mission area, the sun for once cooperating - sun and steam effects on 2575 were great. Then 2575 dug her heels in once more for the climb up to Die Vlei, again showering us all with black dust! At Botrivier we stopped for water before heading up into Houhoek Pass.
First stop was at the lower bridge where we all climbed the steep hill that overlooks the lower bridge. Quite a steep little climb. The sun again played peek-a-boo, but with superb anticipation by the loco crew we managed a shot in semi-sun, which was followed by a heavy downpour!
We beat a hasty retreat to Houhoek station where we crossed a goods train hauled by 35-002 408 and 043, their train consisting of the THF coal grab and 21 FGLJ's. 2575 ran around and hauled us back down to Bot River where we took coal and water. Servicing done we headed back up to Houhoek Pass for some more runpasts. The gloomy weather had set in so we had to make the best of it. A looong run of the train ascending the pass, across the lower bridge, round onto the upper bridge and beyond, all visible from then handy koppie in the middle of the pass. The roar of the GO's exhaust was fantastic echoing around the cliffs and gorges as she scaled the pass. A few more runpasts were held at the upper bridge before heading up to Houhoek station and a final runpast there before arriving back at Elgin where we all unloaded.
All pictures Copyright © 2002 Trevor Staats
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