Steam train to Cullinan derails after sleepers stolen

2017-03-21 16:09
People get off the steam train after it derailed between Pretoria and Cullinan. (Netwerk24)

People get off the steam train after it derailed between Pretoria and Cullinan. (Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - Nearly 500 people were stranded between Pretoria and Cullinan on Tuesday after a steam train derailed because railway sleepers were allegedly stolen from the track.

Avril, the 15F steam locomotive built in 1948, derailed about 13:30 about 5km from Cullinan.

The chair of the Friends of the Rail who started the Diamond Express fun rides between Pretoria and Cullinan, Nathan Berelowitz, says no-one was injured.

“We’re really thankful that no-one was injured.  It’s really sad and terrible that we are faced with this situation. One never knows what could have happened”.

The driver of the train, Steve Smith, fell out of the cab when the train derailed.

Berelowitz told Netwerk24 that the Friends of the Rail organisation have organised buses to transport the people to Cullinan where they could spend the day.

“We’re working on a plan to get a diesel locomotive to transport the passengers from Rayton back to Pretoria in the steam train’s carriages.”

He says it was not the first time that a train had derailed in the same area.

“The railways employ people who patrol sections of the rails, but it’s obvious that these criminals know what they are doing and what they want – a small section of scrap metal that could actually lead to the death of numerous people”.

The steam locomotive will be moved from the track later this week and the company will then be able to establish the extent of the damage.

“It’s difficult to speculate now what exactly is wrong because we will be able to establish this only at a later stage.  The passengers are now our priority and how we can make the excursion a fun day for all of them.

Berelowitz said: “We don’t make money because this is a part of Pretoria’s heritage.  We do it because it’s our passion, but the derailment is a worrying factor”.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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