NGG16 153 went around the whole line in the morning, once again proving that it was well capable of handling the heavy gradients of the Vailima circuit.
|158 makes light of the climb at Vailima (again)|
|Dave Rollins posing with a mug of tea on 113.|
Following this, back at Hoekfontein the mammoth train was marshalled, headed by NG15 17 followed in order by Garratts 49, 153, 113 and 88. The accompanying messing around allowed for plenty of time to wander around.
|The massive Emerson Brantingham Big 4-30 of 1913.|
|The Sandstone rail depot|
The logistics of organising five big locomotives to be ready to leave at the one time are major ones. It took a lot of time and effort but eventually the train set off for Grootdraai.
There was a lot more messing around while a range of other vintage equipment was organised to appear alongside the cavalcade at the airstrip.
|The experience of a Voortrekker oxcart ride with an 11-wagon steam-hauled road train in the distance|
After returning to Hoekfontein and reducing the train length, the train set off for the Vailima Loop.
I thought it might be nice to ride the train from Vailima Siding around the loop. This turned out to be a bad decision. Torrential rain intervened. The road vehicles made a hasty retreat. The rail passengers were left on the train at Vailima Loop as the weather deteriorated and memories of horror journeys on Brtisth Rail in the 1960s were revived. It was too wet and cold to be taking photographs and it soon became too dark. After about 2 hours sitting on the train as it was shunted and divided, we eventually limped back to Hoekfontein. No complaints - all JGF and a reminder that nothing goes right all the time as far as railways are concerned..