Credits due to the Transnet Heritage Foundation, Nerina Skuy

Transnet Foundation, the social responsibility division of Transnet Ltd, reached a mutual understanding with the Heritage Railway Association of Southern Africa (HRASA) when the two parties entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how to best to preserve the assets and protocols of the heritage rail environment.
An aspect of the social responsibility mandate of Transnet Foundation is that it preserves, through its Heritage Preservation arm (TFHP), the country’s rail heritage. Once at the forefront of South Africa’s transport and logistics infrastructure, the roles of rail have been left behind by the increasing conversion to mechanisation and modernisation, the railway’s glory days of steam locomotives, wood-bodied carriages, sandstone stations and the like are all but gone.

With a common purpose and for the greater good of the preservation of rail heritage, TFHP and HRASA have reached a mutual understanding on how best to preserve the assets and protocols of the heritage rail environment. The agreement augurs well for the future of these, and brings together the two most significant role players in the industry says Eunice Maluleke, the Head of the Foundation. “We will all benefit from this protocol reached by our two organisations – commercial and non-commercial heritage ventures can now rest assured in the knowledge that, as the Foundation, we have opened up our processes to the scrutiny of the community-appointed custodians of our steam heritage”.

The MoU signed between the parties allows them to share relevant information, to jointly oversee the responsible preservation and disposal of any of heritage assets, and for HRASA to act as an advisory board on all future leases, sales or disposals of TFHP assets. “HRASA undertakes to execute its responsibilities under this agreement in a diligent and professional manner, said HRASA Chairperson, Mark Robinson. “We are delighted that both parties are on board the same train, headed in the same direction, something necessary and relevant for the times in which we live and operate,” he emphasised.

The steam locomotive, in particular, is an integral part of South Africa’s history and steam-hauled trains operating on the lines that criss-cross the country’s landscape fed the mass movement of people into the interior, as well as the once vast migrant labour system in the southern part of our continent. Steam haulage is remembered with awe as a prime example of the Industrial Revolution that changed the face of the world, but that also created opportunities for breadwinners, while also creating sadness as the sound of the Choo-Choo heralded the end of an era in the ways of family life as the advent of railway expansion gave the average man the ability to travel – both for work and pleasure – at reasonable cost. Many a South African story or legend, from the latter part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, have their origins on steam-hauled trains.

ALL ABOARD… Mark Robinson and Eunice Maluleke with the historic agreement entered into between Transnet Foundation – Heritage Preservation (TFHP) and Heritage Railway Association of Southern Africa (HRASA). Photograph: Len Smuts (ABOARD)

HISTORY ON THE MOVE… Almost 500 combined years of South African railway history on the move as these two Class 7 Locomotives (built 1896 and 1901) head a train of vintage coaches (built 1909, 1932, 1903 respectively) out of Oudtshoorn, which are all kept in working order at the TFHP Museum in George.
Photograph: Peter Rogers
MUSEUM LINE… The driver of world-renowned Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train, which runs along the south eastern coast of South Africa, opened the throttle for a brisk climb out of the Kaaimans River Valley.
Photograph: Peter Rogers
LEND-LEASE SUCCESS… A number of locomotives in the National Collection are formally loaned to enthusiast organisations for refurbishment. Here a recently restored Class GF Garratt leaves Mnyamana (south of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal) with a railway enthusiasts’ photographic charter train.
Photograph: Peter Rogers
MAJESTIC MONTAGU… Just half a kilometre to go, but the crew of this GMAM Garratt locomotive show no sign of letting up before reaching the summit of Montagu Pass. At this point the train is on a ledge some 250m above the valley floor below – this must surely be the most spectacular of South Africa’s railway passes!
Photograph: Peter Rogers
SCENIC STEAM… Double-heading Garratt locomotives head a tour train through the scenic Southern Cape rural areas.
Photograph: Peter Rogers

Requests for the above photographs in high resolution jpeg format may be sent to:
Nerina Skuy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by fax to 086 685 8251 or call cell 082 921 8512

24th floor
Carlton Centre
150 Commissioner Street
2001 Johannesburg

C/o Skuys Communications CC
20 Tarn Avenue
6070 Port Elizabeth

Ackerman, S (Reefsteamers); Brinkman, B (BNM) [Vice-Chairperson]; Bouchier, M (Umgeni SR); Janisch, C (FotR); Mensing, W (Rovos Rail); Meyers, M (Bloemfontein Steam Mus.); Murison, B (Transnet Foundation Heritage Pres.); Pethick, G (Independent); Pretorius, I (Spier Vintage Train); Robinson, MA (CREA) [Chairperson]; Richardson, D (Independent); Smith, D (Ingwe Municipality); Secretary/Treasurer: Skuy, N.

Member organisations (21):
Bloemfontein Steam Museum; Brinkman Ndayi McAll; Cape Railway Enthusiasts Society; Cape Western Vintage Railway; Friends of the Rail; Helderberg Vintage Railway; Ingwe Municipality; Natal Railway Museum; North West Transport Museum; Paton’s Country Narrow Gauge Railway; Railway Society of SA; Reefsteamers; Rovos Rail; Skuys Communications; SA Rail and Heritage Consultants; Spier Vintage Train; Steamnet 2000; Transnet Foundation Heritage Preservation; Umgeni Steam Railway; Victoria Falls Steam Train Co; Waterval-Boven Rail Club.
Individual members (5): Currie, S; Pethick, G; Richardson, D; Smuts, L; van den Heever, E.