Hospital, business and Lions restore room at Railway Museum

2016-10-06 06:00
=Lion Malcolm van Vuuren, Riaan Schmidt (Smart Cabinets & Fittings CC), Balise Mvoko (Curator: Uitenhage Historical Museums) and Lion Pat Clohessy inside the Health & Safety Room.

=Lion Malcolm van Vuuren, Riaan Schmidt (Smart Cabinets & Fittings CC), Balise Mvoko (Curator: Uitenhage Historical Museums) and Lion Pat Clohessy inside the Health & Safety Room.

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The Old Railway Museum in Uitenhage receives visitors from around the world, as well as local steam train enthusiasts. Sadly, it is in a poor state and needs urgent structural maintenance.

The Uitenhage Historical Museums consist of three sites namely, the Old Railway Museum in Market Street, Drosty Museum in Caledon Street and the Cuyler Manor Museum on the R75 road.

Balise Mvoko, curator of the Uitenhage Historical Museums said it is a non-profit organisation and does not run without challenges. The worst of the museums is the Old Railway Museum.

She further confirmed that they had applied to Lotto for funding to address the renovation of the buildings as well as the coaches.

The Museum tells the story of the railways in the Eastern Cape with the station consisting of a house where the Station Master lived, his office, the luggage room, restaurant, the ticket office, bar and a health and safety room.

In order to maintain this historical site for future generations the Uitenhage Historical Museum approached the Uitenhage Lions Club to appeal to local business and the public to assist them with sponsorships for the Old Railway Museum.

The Health and Safety Room was identified for refurbishment and Netcare Cuyler Hospital approved a sponsorship that included material and Smart Cabinets & Fittings CC sponsored the labour.

“I am very grateful. For the community of Uitenhage to take this initiative, makes a huge difference and a relief,” said Mvoko.

“We have also written several letters to Transnet requesting their assistance. Our locomotives need specialized attention and we do not have that expertise.

“The town’s heritage comes from these steam engines, which once were the heartbeat of Uitenhage.

“It is a pity that Transnet does not want to get involved,” said Mvoko.

The sponsorships will ensure that historical records including the casualty register of first aid material used, provision of safety equipment and records of injuries on duty can now be showcased at the Museum.

“Netcare Cuyler Hospital is an integral part of the community and it was a privilege for us to be involved in preserving this important aspect of the region’s history,’’ said Steph-Mari Lategan, Netcare Cuyler Hospital’s marketing officer.

“The Uitenhage Lions Club wishes to extend their sincerest appreciation to Netcare Cuyler Hospital for their generous sponsorship that will retain this veritable gem for future generations, said Lion President André Minnie.

The railway line commenced in Port Elizabeth with stops at North End, Zwartkops, Redhouse and Cuyler Manor with Despatch added in April 1880 ending at the cul-de- sac Uitenhage Railway Station in Market Street that was officially opened on 21 September 1875. The Old Railway Station served Uitenhage for 75 years and was closed in 1951 with it being proclaimed a heritage site in 1975 and a Museum on 21 September 1976.

  • For information regarding the Old Railway Museum or to book a visit, contact Balise Mvoko at 041 992 2063 or email

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