Note that all photographs on these pages are Copyright © Trevor Staats 2002 and may only be used for personal viewing. They may not be used for any other purpose without my express permission.
Union Limited Hantam II Photos and Report
Klawer – Malmesbury 10th August 2002
|The outside air was warm even at 5:00am when I left Cape Town,
heading north to Klawer. The clear skies persisted, and arrival at
Klawer at around 7:30 saw a magnificent sunrise. Clanwilliam Dam was
running over and the wildflowers were beginning to bloom. What a
The Union Limited had staged overnight at Klawer and the passengers were enjoying breakfast as I arrived there. The station sign claims that the station is 33,530 km from Cape Town and 41,175 m above sea level. Quite impressive...
19D’s 3321 and 3334 were fussing about the yard, preparing for the day’s duty, and more immediately the long climb out of Klawer. I drove out to Kleipan station to await the train, a couple of gricers from the UK were there, as was a local chap. I had a chat with the latter fellow, turned out he is a forensic photographer with SAPS. He kindly parked his bakkie in a convenient spot for us to stand in the back and photograph the train, with a nice wildflower foreground to boot. Very kind!
The Dollies appeared down the valley a way, it seems a couple of runpasts were held down there. The sun was beating hot on my back as we waited for the train, and soon afterwards the locos picked up the train again and hauled up the bank, past our vantage point in fine style. Then the chase was on…
We drove down towards Skurfkop and snatched a long shot there, and set off in pursuit again down the dirt roads. We managed a couple of nice shots along that section, and soon after we arrived in Graafwater where the locos serviced. No fewer that 3 water pumps working simultaneously made fast work of this. We were warned off the dirt road south of Graafwater (this road being the one claiming one of my shock absorbers a month ago!) so after a departure shot we kept to the tar road and headed for Het Kruis.
A lovely shot there with a flowery foreground and mountain backdrop, and another possibility a little further on. The poor road condition put paid to any further shots along there, the rear-angle lighting making more sure the camera stayed in the bag.
Another service stop at Eendkuil, while this was taking place we reconnoitred a spot in the valley opposite the line, which gave a long shot of the train climbing away from Eendkuil. The day had grown very hot by this stage, almost summer weather. Soon the pair of Dollies whistled out of the station and began the climb out. We had a great vantage point, a nice long video sequence of the locos climbing out, through the curves, across a small bridge and into the distance towards Pools.
A runpast was held in the curves between the N7 and Pools station, but again the lighting was quite harsh. Pools station itself, aside from the large silos, still retains water tanks at both end of the station, no columns though.
Approaching Piketberg, the line runs through a green sea of young wheat and the numerous curves approaching the station give many nice photo spots. Beyond Piketberg the line descends past the cement factory at De Hoek and through a number of sharp curves into Moravia. Here the locos were again serviced. I also made a service stop at the Piketberg roadhouse, but it was a little difficult to get any sense from the staff there as they were all concentrating on the NZ vs. SA rugby match being played. To no avail as it turned out, the Kiwis won…
The road bridge at Moravia had been washed out during the previous week’s rain, so we had to drive the long way around to get to the Koringberg side of the river. After servicing was finished, the passengers walked forward for a bridge shot before reboarding and heading for Koringberg. A group of us waited at the Môrester Estate level crossing for a nice shot before heading up the dirt roads towards Koringberg.
As we arrived, we noticed the train stopping at the nice embankment shot down the hill a bit, so be drive down a little track to get there. It turned out to be a dead-end road – literally, as it led to the local cemetery! A nice glint shot was had there on the curve, and at the level crossing coming into town there were about 500 people (mostly kids) cheering the train on, really the highlight of their day!
The sun was sinking low in the sky, providing another glint on the curve departing Koringberg, and I sat and watched the hardworking Dollies crest the grade above Koringberg before rolling downhill towards Moorreesburg. At Moorreesburg station there was just enough sun remaining for a final video shot of their arrival, amidst a bunch of local brats that wanted photos, money, sweets, my cameras or anything else they thought I was good for… Time to head for home.
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