Transnet to create a premier maintenance facility for steam locomotives in Mossel Bay and to obtain a solution to the re-opening of the George to Knysna branch line in 2018
Transnet with the help of private interests and funding is also in the process of converting the steam workshops in Mossel Bay to become the premier maintenance facility for steam locomotives as well as the training center to ensure young people from the area are trained in the skills required to enable steam trains to be a central part of the tourism offering.
Transnet shared its vision of expanding the tourist steam trains operating through Eden District Municipality. The current infrequent services must increase and the vision must be to offer a daily service that can be used to convince International tourists to stay another night in the Southern Cape and thereby increase the economic spin-offs for the area.
Transnet also announced that the process to obtain a solution to the re-opening of the George to Knysna branch line is on track. After a period of more than 4 years where Transnet encouraged the local interest groups to work together to develop a proposal whereby the line can be restored and the steam operations resume and this has now been formulated.
The private sector initiative developed a full proposal with a request for a concession on the line that will see the restoration of the line and the resumption of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. The private sector company will provide all funding and Transnet will support where possible in cascading material and by conceding the assets of Transnet on this line for a period of years to the concession company. The assets that will be conceded include the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train sets. At the end of the concession, the line and all assets, many in an improved state, will revert back to Transnet.
If everything goes according to plan, the possibility of running the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe over a smaller section of the line will be a reality in December 2018.
On 28 October, 2018 Transnet and the region will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the opening of the original George to Knysna Railway Line and the aim is to get the first services operational on this date.
For the cost of R50 per annum, only anyone can join the Friends of the Choo-Tjoe at http://www.friendsofthechoo-tjoe.co.za/membership/. This will help support the initiative.
|Transnet Freight Rail vision for rail in Southern Cape 2017
Transnet Freight Rail vision for future in Southern Cape includes freight, waste-by-rail, Outeniqua Tjoo Tjoe, tourist trains, light rail. Nov 2017