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DT
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I have just put down an absorbing book set at the end of the 19th Century in South Africa's Kysna and Long Kloof areas.

Fiela's Child (New Longman Literature)


I was keen to find out more of the region and I came accross the Langkloof railway that links the fruit growing areas to Port Elizabeth 285 km away to the East. Note, there is nothing about the trains in the book. The line was built about 20 after the story told in the book.

Here is some more info about the line:

At 285 kilometres this is the longest 2ft gauge railway in the world. Constructed between 1899 and 1906, it was built to connect the Langkloof fruit growing industry with the port at Port Elizabeth.

Traffic was general freight, fruit in season and passengers. Scheduled passenger trains were discontinued in the 1940s although limited accommodation was offered on freight workings until the mid-1970's.

Known as the Adventure Line, it is home to the highest narrow gauge railway bridge in the World at Van Staaden's Gorge (below).



Best known for its tourist train, the Apple Express, which has operated since 1965 between Port Elizabeth and Laurie, and morerecently as far as Thornhill or Van Stadens.

As a line scheduled as "low density" by Spoornet, it has always had the threat of closure hanging over it. The Avontuur Adventurer was part of a process to secure the line for years to come both economically and as a tourist attraction.

For the full Port Elizabeth to Avontuur Map complete with elevations, distances, dates etc click on the map below:


Port Elizabeth to Avontuur Map - Bruno Martin. 211kbs

 

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I always find these long narrow gauge lines running in obscur places totally fascinating as they generally operate in parts that normal railways have an inability to operate in for one reason or another. They are Romney and Dimchurch on a massive scale.

There was a recent discovery of a massive long forgotten network in a Polish forest that is now being renovated.

And is there not a long narrow gauge line running across the pampas in Argentina?

And amazingly there is (or was?) 50km of narrow gauge operating in the Penryn Slate Quarry in Wales.

Amd of course there was the long lost Lynton and Lynmouth line running across Exmoor. I mention this because the picture above looks very like something running along what could have been the Lynton and Lynmouth line which closed in 1937.

A very English look about it.

HOe or OO9 gauge is a remarkable gauge to work with permitting good operational oportunities in an OO/HO scale environment. Think of it as N gauge with OO figures, buildings and scenery. Subject matter like this is always interesting and rather stirring.

I have a strong sense that Doug will be stirred!


Happy modelling
Gary

PS have a look at this site:-

Narrow Gauge Heaven
 

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DT
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I may take a trip out there to travel on this line. There are special tours arranged for European train fans that take full advantage of the old equipment and rolling stock. The train stops often to let off photographers who wish to see the loco running by under full steam.

I spoke to my sister recently who lives in SA. She said that her family had been on this train a few years back.

"Wow!" I said, "Please send me a copy of your photos."

"I can't", she replied "I didn't take a camera on the trip!"

... Women
 

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QUOTE (Doug @ 10 Jan 2007, 20:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I may take a trip out there to travel on this line. There are special tours arranged for European train fans that take full advantage of the old equipment and rolling stock. The train stops often to let off photographers who wish to see the loco running by under full steam.

I spoke to my sister recently who lives in SA. She said that her family had been on this train a few years back.

"Wow!" I said, "Please send me a copy of your photos."

"I can't", she replied "I didn't take a camera on the trip!"

... Women

You know Doug, it's not just women. I regret to say this but I have been on a lot of the worlds most spectacular rail trips in SA, India, Peru, Ecuador, Europe, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand etc and I don't remember taking any photos at all other than a couple of poor efforts in Sri Lanka. I just didn't think at the time as I was a bit focussed on other things. How I regret this now.
 

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QUOTE I may take a trip out there to travel on this line. There are special tours arranged for European train fans that take full advantage of the old equipment and rolling stock. The train stops often to let off photographers who wish to see the loco running by under full steam.

It's a nice spot Doug you'll enjoy it. I havn't done the Apple Express although I lived in the area for a couple of years, I've done the trip from Port Shepstone in Natal the Banana Express and that was brilliant.
check Port Shepstone
 
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