End of the track for local steam train

My son Thomas on the Choo-Tjoe

My son Thomas on the Choo-Tjoe

THE future looks bleak for the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train and heritage museum in George after staff were told that all operations would cease at the end of next month.

Western Cape Tourism MEC Garth Strachan yesterday appealed for calm after employees and tourism operators panicked when they heard from officials last Thursday that all operations would cease at the museum next month.

“I understand why the people of the Southern Cape are keenly interested in the decision about the future of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. After all, it is a major tourism and steam heritage icon, not only for the Western Cape but for the whole of South Africa,” Strachan said yesterday.

Click here for full story from EP Herald

Click here for a short history of the Choo-Tjoe


3 Responses to “End of the track for local steam train”

  1. 1 ian in hamburg February 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog at Alphainventions.

    I’m really sorry to hear this! We loved our two trips to South Africa – first time in 2003, again in 2006 – both for a month. On our first trip we took this train, and loved it. We have such great memories of the whole day. Are they just not getting enough passengers to make it pay?


    • 2 Jeannine February 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Ian
      It is very sad – and I’m glad you had a chance to go on the train! It’s not due to lack of passengers, it’s due to flood damage. We’ve had two massive floods over the past few years and large portions of the track and the bridge over Swartvlei lagoon were damaged and washed away. There was also damage to the track at Victoria Bay. The cost of repair is prohibitive and it just doesn’t seem likely to be done. The train is still running between George and Mossel Bay (for now), but the really scenic part from George to Knysna is no more.

  2. 3 ian in hamburg February 27, 2009 at 7:18 am

    That’s too bad. Timing couldn’t be worse, either. When you think of all the tens of thousands of additional tourist who’ll be flocking to your great land next year for the football extravaganza, business would be booming. I guess that even if they found an investor to fix it up, they’d not be able to complete it in time.

    BTW… this isn’t shameless blog promo, but if you want an idea of how much of a fan of your country we are, feel free to check out “A month in South Africa and Lesotho.” It’s a free-standing page with a link at the top of my blog under the banner.

    You might also check out “Charlotte’s Web” if you don’t already know her. She’s a South African lady living in Germany with her three kids. Lovely blog. You’ll find a link to her on my sidebar.

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