The Garden Route Steam Train Society,Woodmill Lane,Knysna.
1/9/2009
Cell; 0732577503

Chairman’s report, 2008/2009

Dear fellow members,


It’s that time of the year when we should all be praying for a miracle, concerning our railway. I notice in to-days EP Herald that Transnet is giving financial support to the Apple Express, well bully for them as they do need it, BUT we are the older of the two, and HOPEFULLY we will be getting our support pretty soon, if only they would stop shifting the goal posts and get down to brass tacks with the public in general. After all just who is doing all the support around here? Good question. A short while ago I went for an outing to look at the line with Stan and J0 Davis, and we really had a fine day. The line at Victoria Bay was out of the question as it was fenced off so we went on to George Museum, where we photographed the original photos taken of the damage done to the line at Victoria Bay. A tea stop was in order, and then a general tour of the trains and exhibits in general, where I thoroughly brainwashed Stan and Jo about the railways in general. Mind boggling but very necessary, as every country needs a railway, not only for goods but for passengers who want to relax and enjoy the scenery in general. We had a lovely picnic at the Wilderness Park provided by J0 who certainly knows her catering, mouth watering stuff man.


We noticed just how badly the line had sunk into the ground after leaving the park due to the rain, and I bet the moles are having a field day on the line while it is not operating. we took photos from the Sedgefield bridge of the smaller rail bridge, which seems to have lost a lot of connecting ground on the eastern side of the track., and again a lot of rail that has sunk quite deep into the ground. Let us remember that this area is famous for its floods, and to my mind of thinking it has stood the test of time since 1928. Remember that most of the rails, sleepers etc were second hand, and that it had to cost no more than 5000 English pounds per mile in those days. No helicopters to pre survey the area, just foot slogging up hills and down dales, and being bitten by all the bugs in general. A grand job they did for our Heritage of our area. I wonder just what the value of the land would be at to-days prices.? We must continue to strive for the re-opening of our wonderful line, as it means so much to us all.


Many of our members have shifted to other parts of the country and also overseas, so we are down to 22 members, which I hope that could be rectified in the near future. A meeting was held recently in George by the role players, and I INSIST that a general public meeting be held here soon at Ashmead Hotel. Should a buyer for the line come to light, well good and fine, BUT LETS GET IT ROLLING ONCE AND FOR ALL. The longer the delay the more expensive it becomes. So that’s it for now, keep praying. Geoff Pullen, Chairman.
WE ARE NOW 16 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR, HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOLKS..

“We are hooked on steam”

Geoff Pullen

Chairman

 


Choo-Tjoe News

MEC WINDE MEETS WITH OCT STEERING COMMI1TEE


Earlier today, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, met with the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe Steering Committee. Present were the Mayors from Eden, George, Knysna and Mossel Bay, representatives from local tourism associations, provincial government and Transnet.


Minister Winde was informed that the maintenance presently being undertaken by Transnet on the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is nearing completion. It is anticipated that the operations of the OCT from George to Mossel Bay will re-commence by the 1st of October. We will use this occasion as an opportunity to re-launch the Choo-Tjoe, in coordination which the Municipalities and Tourism Associations in the region.


Transnet has assured Minister Winde that it will continue to operate the current service until it can be handed over to an appointed operator through an open and competitive tender process, preceded by an information and awareness sessionthat will be jointly facilitated by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and Transnet. The purpose of the information and awareness session will be to provide a briefing to all stakeholders, affected parties and the private sector on the call for Expressions of Interest.


It is envisaged that the process will be separated into two phases: phase one will deal with the George to Mossel Bay line, and phase two the George to Knysna line. Although the processes culminating in the handover will be operated by Transnet, agreement has been reached that the Provincial Government will be meaningfully engaged on all matters leading up to the handover.
Minister Winde is pleased with the outcome of the meeting, and said that in order to increase patronage and boost interest in the Choo-Tjoe, he will ensure that the current service is marketed extensively at provincial and local level. 

Please send your comments to us at:
021 483 3531.