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Experience the wonder of steam locomotion

April 16, 2010

Waiting for the train to arrive

 

It was a morning like any other – except for the chill on my cheeks and the fluttery anticipation in my stomach. You would think that being a grown woman now, becoming anxious about a steam train coming around the bend would not be an occurrence, but it’s not every day that you get to see a real live steam train in action either – the steam train that was the basis for the industrial revolution. 

My family and I were waiting at Maraisburg Station patiently, with many other families all wrapped up against the unexpectedly chill morning. The atmosphere was jovial as people carried children, cooler boxes, bags and picnic baskets around us. 

Eventually, we heard the train – before we saw it, naturally – and all craned our necks to see the plume of steam as the train made its way to the station. 

The locomotive of the day

 The chatting wheels came to a stop alongside the station, and we all made our way to our coaches, or, for those who wished for more privacy, the special compartments, and made ourselves comfortable on our chosen seats.

 

 The trip to Magaliesburg did not seem very long at all. The time swept past as we dined on chocolates from the kitchen coach, stuck our heads out of the window, got ash in our eyes, and generally enjoyed the scenery as we went past awestruck pedestrians. People really do love the sight of a steam train!

 

Our spot

 

At the picnic stop, the train settles for a bit of a break, allowing guests to climb into the locomotive and take a peek at the red-hot coals that power everything along. For our lunch, we opted for the picnic on the banks of a tranquil river underneath a willow tree. Soaking up the sun, it was the ideal opportunity to relax after a hard week of work. 

It was not long before the train’s whistle sounded, and we made ready to leave. Apparently for steam train enthusiasts, the trip back is the highlight of the day – the steam locomotive finds the uphill curves back to Joburg a bit of a challenge, and you can enjoy listening to the steam train talk to you and tell you “I think I can!” 

Reefsteamers aims to preserve and rebuild old steam locomotives, and running special day and weekend trips assist in funding their activities, as well as enhancing awareness of steam trains. The service is competitive, efficient and fun, and this day trip is certainly one that I’ll be taking again, if it means that my children can enjoy the wonder of steam locomotion!

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