INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1256 7 MAY 2016
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
Bydgoszcz station in April 2016. The former station building has gone and a new one has been constructed on the same
location as the ground floor and basement of the modern office development on the left. In the foreground are the bay
platforms at the east end of the station, used for stabling locomotives and for some terminating services. The white
building in the centre of the picture is not, as might be thought, the original station building. Despite its grand scale, it has
always been a waiting room and refreshment area in the middle platforms. On the right can be seen part of the former
PKP works, now owned by PESA but still a locomotive and multiple unit construction and repair works.
 France - No trains to St. Antoine bay platform
Since the December timetable change the surviving weekday short working to St Antoine has been
withdrawn leaving the bay platform (somewhat below the running lines) without use and quite rusty after
only 7 years of existence. It was mentioned in BLNI1232.161 as a micro-gricing opportunity which
unfortunately our reporter never got round to doing. The dustbins on the platform still sport empty-
looking plastic bags!
 Greece – News from the Peloponnesus
ALCO 9108 has been restarted after five years to run ballast trains in the Patras area, which is a positive
sign for the future of this part of the Peloponnese Railway. Apparently contracts have been signed to
extend the Patras suburban system westwards for 30km to Kato Achaia. There is a ‘problem’ with the line
between Patras and Pyrgos, but it is reported that this will be fixed this summer with a new bridge and
embankment constructed by OSE. In the longer term, OSE is looking for EU funds for a number of railway
projects, one of which is recommissioning the Patras – Pirgos – Kalamata railway (285km) for €600M.
 Hungary – No reopening of Zalalövő – Körmend, but possibly a new curve
South of Szombathely, the 23km railway between Zalalövő and Körmend closed in late 2009 and formally
abandoned two years later was proposed for rebuilding and electrification as part of a freight corridor to
the Adriatic. It would also have meant rebuilding the Raab bridge, so perhaps not surprisingly, it was
deemed too expensive for the few trains that would use the line. A cheaper option is to build a new curve
to allow trains from Szombathely to enter Zalaszentiván from the east, and continue to the Slovenian
border at Hodoš without reversal. However there is no funding for this at present.
 Iceland - Airport line backed
Reykjavik City Council has backed proposals for a 175km/h rail link between the city centre and Iceland's
main international airport at Keflavik. The 47km electrified line would start at Reykjavik's main bus
terminal (BSI), passing beneath the city's southern suburbs in a 12km tunnel before following highway 41
to the airport.
 Italy - Italian Riviera line soon to go underground
The railway line along the Ligurian coast between Savona and Ventimiglia is very scenic, but operationally
something of a nightmare as it threads its way slowly through a busy line of coastal towns. The middle
section between Finale Ligure Marina and Tággia-Arma is being rebuilt largely in tunnel with the intention
of closing the existing railway. Progress is such that , “Italia on Rails” in collaboration with “Fondazione
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane” are advertising a photo special in September between Tággia and Albenga
because this scenic section is due to close at the end of 2016. This means the towns of Cervo, San Lorenzo
and Andora will lose their existing railway. More details will doubtless come to light, but for now anyone
who has not done this line is strongly advised to travel between Savona and Ventimiglia before the end of
 Italy – The branch from Cécina to Volterra-Saline-Pomarance. A visit and brief history.
The construction of the railway line from Cécina (on the Pisa to Roma main line) to Saline di Volterra began
in 1860 and it was inaugurated on 20 October 1863. None of the nine projects designed and presented
from 1863 to 1907 to connect Saline di Volterra to Poggibonsi was approved, nor the three proposals to
join Saline di Volterra with Pontedera following the easy route along the river Era. Passenger traffic was
therefore doomed to remain local, despite major freight traffic which lasted until the early 1990s, mainly
mining and industrial activities in the area (brown coal, copper, rock salt, alabaster, boron and derivatives)
as well as the transport of timber, coal and chemical fertiliser. In fact a branch was opened in 1872 from
Casino di Terra to serve a lignite mine at Monterufoli, but this closed and was dismantled in 1928. Saline di
Volterra was meant to serve the historic city of Volterra, but was actually some distance away and at a
much lower level (72 metres A.S.L. as opposed to 500 metres A.S.L.). Finally the Volterra city authorities
decided to build a direct link from the city to Saline di Volterra. The gradient of the line was such that a
rack system was required, built to standard gauge to conform with the branch to Cécina. Work began on
the 8.4km line in 1909, the Strub system was used for the rack section and class 980 steam engines built by
SLM of Winterthur were purchased. The line opened on 15 September 1912 (the first standard gauge rack
railway in Italy) for passengers and freight traffic. Initially successful, road developments eroded
profitability – only 15 minutes by road between Saline and Volterra versus 45 minutes by train. Though it
survived WW2, the Saline to Volterra line closed on 12 November 1958. The knock-on effect on the Saline
to Cécina section was cushioned by buoyant freight traffic. Once this was lost in the 1990s, all stations
were destaffed, and services reduced. In 1999 a small bridge near Riparbella was damaged by floods and
replaced with a temporary bridge and 10km/h restriction. This is still in use today. Saline station was
restored in 2011 and renamed Volterra-Saline-Pomarance, but in summer 2012 lack of rolling stock led to
the service being first ‘suspended’ , then withdrawn from 9 September 2013. However services restarted
from 16 December 2013.
The Cécina to Volterra-Saline-Pomarance railway is considered one of the most threatened in Italy, and our
member was understandably keen to include it in his InterRail itinerary. The 08:10 IC service from Milano
Centrale to Grossetto offered a direct journey to Cécina, with locomotive haulage and a one hour
connection. This duly arrived on time, refreshment was partaken of in a nearby bar, and at 14:30 the single
car class 663 DMU departed platform 1 for Volterra-Saline-Pomarance. About 30 schoolchildren and a
handful of adults comprised the passengers. Initially the line runs over the coastal plain through fields of
olive and other fruits. Before Riparbella the 10km/h restricted bridge referred to earlier was crossed.
Riparbella station is quite delightful, the station building being occupied and flowers planted in front of it.
A dog snoozed in the doorway, but no-one got on or off to disturb its slumbers. The railway follows the
course of the Fiume Cécina, a small winding watercourse sometimes visible on the right. The next station
was Casino di Terra, serving a large village, but again, no-one got on or off. The loop here was disused, and
our member failed to spot any remains of the former Monterufoli branch after the station. The third
intermediate station was Ponte Ginori, the most sizeable town on the route, and a few schoolchildren
alighted here. Like at Casino di Terra, the station building was occupied, in good condition and quite
photogenic. And so, finally, to Volterra-Saline-Pomarance which proved to be the destination of the
majority of the schoolchildren.
The station at Volterra-Saline-Pomarance shortly after arrival of the 14:30 from Cécina
The train spends five minutes here before returning – barely enough for a few photographs, so no
exploration was possible of the 100 metres or so to the headshunt on the former line to Volterra, allegedly
with original steel sleepers. The loop was thick with rust. The station was 311.076 km from Pisa, and some
of the original km posts in this series still exist, along with more modern ones giving distance from Cécina.
Three passengers made the return journey to Cécina, which, incidentally, has five platforms and a marble
statue of a dog on platform one. This is to commemorate Lilla, a dog who lived in the stationmasters office
for many years and was a great local favourite. The Cécina to Volterra-Saline-Pomarance branch shuts
down each summer (11 June to 12 September this year) for the school holiday period. Don’t be surprised if
one year in the near future it fails to reopen.
 Netherlands - Use of Betuweroute for passenger diversions to be considered
The Betuweroute is the freight only line from Rotterdam docks eastwards almost to the German border,
built without meeting the safety requirements (mainly in tunnels) for passenger trains, and as a result
some of the most required track for gricers in Europe. There are engineering works between Utrecht and
Arnhem on several occasions during next year which would normally require international trains to
Dusseldorf and Köln to be routed by Den Bosch and Venlo, thereby missing profitable station calls at
Arnhem, Oberhausen, Duisburg and Düsseldorf as well as taking an extra hour. However there are
connections onto the middle section of the Betuweroute south of Geldermalsen and Elst, which would
allow trains to make all station calls and only lose 30 minutes time. NS would like to use this ‘short-cut’
and in the coming weeks the safety requirements for ICE passenger trains on the Betuweroute are to be
re-examined. It helps that there are no tunnels on the section involved. Keep your fingers crossed.
 Poland - Gricing the Szubin branch
BLNI readers will be aware that Polish travel group Turkol have run an ambitious program of railtours,
some with freight line content, for the last few years. All tour routes are listed under Kalendarium on the
Turkol website and a big star labelled Reserwacja takes you to the booking form. Use of google translate to
work out what to enter in the fields is recommended, but making a reservation is quite straightforward
really. Several days later the prospective traveller receives an email with a fakture (invoice) with the
information needed to make an international payment to their bank account. Print the fakture – it will be
exchanged for your ticket on the train. A subsequent email will list fakture numbers and the reserved seat
numbers. All pretty straightforward and just such a process was followed for Turkol’s ‘Pelikan’. This was
part of an ambitious multiday tour starting from Poznan with a Wolsztyn steam loco, with tickets available
for segments of the journey. The ‘Pelikan’ part was due to leave Bydgoszcz at 15:42 to traverse the freight
only branch to Szubin and the author was duly waiting on platform 5 along with many Polish enthusiasts
well before the appointed time. The first indication of problems was the screen announcing a 50 minute
The platform departure screen at Bydgoszcz went from 50 to 120 to 150 minutes late
That destroyed plans to get to Warszawa that night on a +25 off the tour, so the free wifi was used to
cancel the hotel booking in Warszawa without charge. It had started raining, and despite it being mid-April,
it was cold on the platform so everyone retreated to the booking hall. Bydgoszcz station building has been
rebuilt recently as the ground and basement floors of a modern office development, and has plenty of
shops selling refreshments as well as free wifi. The latter was again used – this time to make a reservation
in a nearby hotel, and once completed, a wet and windy walk was made to check-in and leave baggage
behind before walking back to the station, where the delay was now 150 minutes. The special train arrived
at 18:12 and departed 18:27, and so was the best part of three hours late. Enquiry revealed that (surprise,
surprise) problems with the steam locomotive had been the problem. Once the diesel was attached as
booked for the latter part of the days schedule, delays were due to pathing. Class SU45 are classic Polish
diesels, now used on just a few passenger trains and vice DMU turns, and doubtless soon destined for
withdrawal. Only one remains in original green livery, and this is SU45-089, which was the engine provided
for the tour. Finally the train was off to Szubin. This line was once part of a through route to Poznan via
Kcynia and Gołańcz, but Bydgoszcz to Gołańcz closed before the author started travelling Poland in
earnest. An attempt had been made in the previous year to run a tour which included Bydgoszcz to Szubin
and on to Kcynia, but Szubin to Kcynia (nominally closed, though track is still present) had been refused
and the whole tour cancelled as a result. Hence the good turnout of Polish enthusiasts for the Turkol
special. After the junction was a section of very slow running for about 4km as far as the loop for the
cement works Przedsiębiorstwo Przemysłu Betonów. Despite the distant works looking rather decrepit, the
short branch (accessed through a gate) was well used. Before Jasiniec Białebłota station was a coal siding
with loop, which was also well used and a large heap of coal was present. There are intermediate stations
at Jasiniec Białebłota, Rynorzewo and Kołaczkowo, all with station buildings sporting name boards and all
occupied by tenants. After an hour the train reached Szubin. Here the old station building is extant,
occupied and named. There are three tracks through the old platforms, all in use, though the source of
traffic at this end of the line was not visible and must be a little further. By the time photographs had been
taken and the loco had run round, it was almost dark.
Szubin station building
Arrival back in Bydgoszcz was at 21:01, so still almost three hours late. But at least the track had been
successfully griced even if tomorrows plans were in tatters.
 Serbia - Mala Krsna to Velika line reopens after modernisation
The Mala Krsna – Velika Plana line reopened to freight traffic on 1 April. The 29 km link between lines
running east and southeast of Beograd provides an alternative to the Velika Plana – Mladenovac – Beograd
route. It has reopened ahead of schedule, to provide the capacity needed to enable Beograd – Bar trains to
be diverted around a section of the direct line which is currently blocked by landslips.
 Slovenia - Reopening date (or at least year) for Kočevje branch
South of the capital Ljubljana a long branch goes from Grosuplje to Kočevje. Repairs to the branch started
in 2008 and by 2011 a first phase to Ortnek was open for freight. Since then reconstruction has slowly
continued as money became available. The latest news is that the entire line should reopen in 2018 with
direct passenger trains to/from Ljubljana.
 Spain - Through route through León station to be reinstated
At the start of April ADIF awarded a 24.8 million euro contract for the first phase of the work to restore the
line through León station, avoiding the present time consuming (an additional 20 minutes running time)
traversal of the avoiding lines. The line will consist of 1636 metres of double track, of which 1150 metres
will be underground. There will be a new 410 metre island platform, 9 metres wide, on the west side of the
present line, and a new 590 metre tunnel from Palencia Avenue to Dr. Fleming Avenue, north of the
station. Implementation time is 2 years. An underground station had originally been planned – and given
how much the Spanish love underground stations, may yet feature in long term planning.
 Sweden - Varberg tunnel to cost more
Trafikverket has announced that the cost of building the Varberg Tunnel – a new railway tunnel on
Sweden’s west coast – is expected to exceed €400 million mainly due to environmental and security
modifications which have been made since the project was given government approval in 2013.
Construction of the 3.1km tunnel, which will run beneath the centre of Varberg, will take place between
2019 and 2024, and is part of a bigger project to double track the railway between Varberg and Hamra.
 Switzerland – More on the St. Gallen Durchmesserlinie project
Further information of this project, reported in BLNI1255.179. The narrow gauge platforms at St Gallen
station are being rebuilt, and the project also requires the lengthening of two passing loops, the provision
of a passing loop and stop at St Gallen goods yard, and increasing the voltage on the 9.8 km Trogenerbahn
from 1.0 kV to 1.5 kV DC.
 Switzerland – Grimselbahn gets new support
Railway Gazette International is reporting that the cantons of Bern and Valais and electricity distribution
company Swissgrid have unveiled a SFr580m plan for the construction of a railway linking the Zentralbahn
and Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn metre-gauge networks. The Grimselbahn would start at Innertkirchen,
terminus of the 5.0 km Meiringen-Innertkirchen-Bahn which connects with the Zentralbahn at Meiringen.
The route would initially run 13.7 km south to Handeck, with 6.3 km in tunnels and 2.3 km protected by
avalanche shelters. From Handeck the 8.3 km Grimsel Tunnel would take the trains to Oberwald on the
MGB. The entire line would be single track and electrified. The two cantons have applied for federal
funding for the project and envisage that planning could be completed and legal powers put in place in
2019, when construction would start for opening in 2025.
 Switzerland – Metre gauge branch closes ‘temporarily’.
The La Chaux des Fonds to Les Ponts de Martel branch (16 km metre gauge) has been shut down by order
of the federal transport authority as the operator TransN (ex TRN) have not upgraded the level crossings
on the line to national standards. There are over 80 on the line most of which would be classified as
accommodation crossings in the UK. The closure was effective from 1 May and to start with the closure will
be "temporary" for three months.
 Switzerland – More news from the AOMC
The Aigle Ollon Monthey Champéry railway is planning a major deviation in Monthey which will include the
elimination of a section of street running. It will start at Corbier halt and will be partly in tunnel. There will
be an intermediate station at Giovanola before the line terminates at Monthey SBB. Trains will then return
to Giovanola where there will be a junction for trains to continue to Champéry. Monthey Ville station will
close. Altogether this will be 2.2 km of new route. Construction is expected to start in the second half of
2018 with opening in December 2021.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Australia - Victoria – 1600 and 1435mm gauge
There are 2 daily XPTs between Sydney and Melbourne, a day and a night train.
07:32 Sydney – Melbourne arrive 18.30, 20:32 Sydney – Melbourne arrive 07:25
08:30 Melbourne – Sydney arrive 19:53, 19:50 Melbourne – Sydney arrive 06:53
The night XPTs stop at Seymour but not the day services. At Melbourne Southern Cross station the XPTs
use platform 1 (dual gauge) where they are cleaned and refuelled before returning to Sydney. Thus they
are at Melbourne for around 1 ½ hours. Platform 2 at Melbourne Southern Cross is Standard Gauge only
from the platform end to the crossovers about halfway down, then it becomes dual gauge.
The broad gauge line is double track throughout from Seymour to Broadmeadows except just after
departure from Seymour where it is single for about 0.6km. At Seymour the main platform is an island
platform; platform 1 is on the left (facing Melbourne) and is standard gauge, platform 2 and the other side
of the island is broad gauge. There are also a broad gauge stabling line adjacent to platform 2 and on the
other side of this is platform 3 which is a “pre fabricated platform”.
There are several intermediate stations on the broad gauge line between Seymour and Broadmeadows.
Beyond Broadmeadows these trains then continue to Southern Cross via the electrified “metro” line.
Between Broadford & Tallarook stations there is a quarry to the right of the lines which is served by broad
gauge trains which to access the quarry have to cross the standard gauge line on the flat.
From Seymour to Broadmeadows the standard gauge line is single with passing loops and runs parallel on
the left (in direction of Melbourne) as a third line. There are a few small deviations where it is slightly
further from the broad gauge line. There are no intermediate stations between Seymour and
Broadmeadows on the standard gauge line. The standard gauge platform at Broadmeadows is numbered
3. Platform 1 at Broadmeadows is the Melbourne broad gauge bound platform.
The standard gauge line from Broadmeadows to Southern Cross is on a separate, mainly single line,
alignment from the broad gauge electrified line. Just after Broadmeadows the standard gauge line crosses
over the top of the broad gauge electrified lines – left to right (in direction of Melbourne) – then briefly
runs adjacent to these as far the next station Jacana where it diverges right to join the broad gauge freight
lines that had diverged to the right just south of Broadmeadows, with separate standard and broad gauge
lines. The alignment is some distance west of the electrified line to Melbourne Southern Cross. Just before
Sunshine station a standard and broad gauge line diverge right to eventually join a yard adjacent to the
electrified line from Melbourne to Werribee. There is also a standard gauge line from the Southern Cross
direction that goes the same way (not sure about broad gauge from Southern Cross direction) – thus
forming a triangle. The standard gauge line then dives under – left to right – the electrified lines with the
standard gauge line continuing towards Melbourne passing the Pacific National yard and loco depot, then
just outside Southern Cross it crosses the electrified lines on a mixed gauge viaduct – where an XPT ECS
derailed in mid-2014.
Platform 2 at Southern Cross
Passenger trains from Melbourne to Albury and Sydney use this route, with broad gauge trains from
Melbourne to Seymour and Shepparton (pronounced Shepperton) use the electrified “Metro” lines as far
as Craigieburn where the wires finish, thence on to Seymour. Broad gauge “Vline” trains from Southern
Cross to Broadmeadows are allowed 25 minutes, but standard gauge trains are allowed 30 minutes.
The standard gauge line then continues from the yard as a single line running parallel to the Melbourne to
Werribee line then, beyond Werribee, it runs parallel to this as far as South Geelong where it diverges and
continues towards Adelaide. There is also a connection from the yard onto the broad gauge lines towards
Werribee. On Monday to Friday off peak the line from Newport to Laverton via Altona, which is mainly
single, operates as a shuttle. However at weekends Werribee line trains run via Altona.
Broad gauge signalling in Victoria is controlled by smaller boxes, however once clear of the Melbourne
suburban area standard gauge signalling is controlled by the Australian Rail Track Corporation. Within the
Melbourne suburban area the standard gauge signalling is controlled by the same boxes as the broad
gauge. From 1 January on Friday and Saturday nights there is now an hourly all night train service
throughout the Metro network in Melbourne. From 21 June 2015 Vline services to Geelong and
Warrnambool between Sunshine and Little River were diverted from the Werribee line via a new broad
gauge only double track line. This joins the old route via Werribee approximately 8km beyond Wyndham
Vale Station. There are four new stations on this line at Ardeer, Deer Park, Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.
Standard gauge freight services and the “Overland” passenger train still run via Werribee.
Melbourne has the largest tram system in the world with about 240km of double track. From 1 January
2015 a Free Tram Zone in Melbourne's CBD was introduced. The area around Victoria Market as well as the
Docklands area are also included. All stops within the zone are clearly marked and tram drivers will make
regular announcements when approaching the zone boundaries. Zone boundaries are signed.
Just outside Flinders Street station on the river side is the old Sandridge Rail Bridge across the river Yarra.
This is now a pedestrian bridge. It was the bridge across the river for trains on the former lines to St Kilda
and Port Melbourne which are now served by trams. The bridge was built in 1888 and closed to rail traffic
in 1987. It reopened as a footbridge in 2006.
 Japan - Visit to Japan, October 2015 Part 2 Honshu
The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train, from Shin (meaning new) Aomori to Tokyo travelled at 195 mph with
several stops. It was so peaceful and comfortable. Again no mobiles were allowed except in vestibules, all
seats face forward (they rotate at the termini) and seats matched with windows again. They even warn
against making keyboard noise. Attractive girls act as hostesses passing through with food and drink
trolleys. Why has the UK gone so wrong? It arrived in Tokyo one minute early allowing a quick change for a
local train to Yokohama.
The next day they bypassed Tokyo using a local train, to visit the central area of Japan near Mount Fuji.
This involved using the Chou Line followed by a private railway, the Fujikyuko Line which runs between
Ōtsuki and Kawaguchiko. They travelled in what seemed to be a brand new train, such was its ambience
and comfort, but our correspondent has subsequently found out it was three coaches refurbished last year
from a 1991 built train! Their hotel was a traditional Ryokan style. A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn
featuring steam public baths, multi-course dinners, communal spaces where guests can relax, and rooms
with woven-straw flooring and futon mats for beds. A visit by cable car had been intended to view Mount
Fuji but it finished that day at 15:40, two hours early according to the timetable. So a quick change to next
day's plans to travel up the cable car first thing, well 09:30, and leave on a bus to regain the Chou Line at
Kofu. But the bus timetable showed it arrived in Kofu two minutes before the train left, so too tight a
connection. Was Japanese Railways/buses letting them down? No. After some further investigation they
found the bus called into a station at Isawa Onsen which connected with a local train to Kofu to catch the
train the bus narrowly missed. Readers will already have the picture about Japan's railways. You will have
guessed by now that they were impressed with punctuality, comfort, facing forward, seats lining up with
windows. There are no problems using trains as departure boards and announcements are in English and
Japanese. As well as this the platforms are shown on the Internet weeks before the date of travel, so one
just has to be on the right platform at the right time and you know your train will be there. But our intrepid
couple still could not avoid the lifelong habit of expecting trains to be late! Very strange experience.
Well sure enough the arrangements above worked out. Despite the bus being 6 minutes late the
connection was easily made. From the bus they saw a bridge sweeping across the valley above them. The
bridge top was completely enclosed. They found out that this was the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line and will
form part of a new transportation system, the Chuo Shinkansen, to link the major cities of Tokyo with
Nagoya in 40 minutes by 2027 at 267 mph for the 176 miles. Earlier this year one of these units achieved
375 mph. At Isawa Onsen they were back on the Chou Mainline until Shiojiri where they joined a train on
the West Chou Line to Nagoya. Both were Super Express Trains of some ten coaches with a Green Class
coach. These run hourly. Our correspondent has often wondered why in the UK we try to cram in shorter,
more frequent trains and timekeeping suffers accordingly. A particular example of this is Trans-Pennine
between Stalybridge and Leeds. The West Chou line passes through majestic scenery with a mixture of
single and double track and nips along at up to 70 mph. The only steam engine viewed in the trip was D51
775, plinthed at a station en route. They changed at Nagoya for a Shinkansen short run, 50 miles in 26
minutes with an intermediate stop, then a local to Hikone. This was their base for four nights in this area of
 South Africa – The southernmost railway line in Africa
The railway from Cape Town station to Simon’s Town is known as the Southern Line and is a commuter rail
line operated by Metrorail Western Cape. The origins of the railway lie with the Wynberg Railway
Company which was established in 1861 to build a standard gauge railway line from Salt River Junction to
Wynberg and opened on 19 December 1864. In 1876 the company was taken over by the Cape
Government Railways, and the line was rebuilt to Cape gauge (1067mm). An extension to Muizenberg
opened on 15 December 1882, and a further extension to Kalk Bay on 5 May 1883. The final extension, to
the naval base at Simon's Town, opened on 1 December 1890. The line was electrified at 3000V DC with
overhead catenary in 1928. A day ticket for the line allowing unlimited travel in MetroPlus (first class) costs
35 Rand, which is less than £2 sterling. Unlike in other South African urban centres, security is not a serious
issue - the trains are extensively patronised by white people. Our member’s train left from platform 5 and
was formed of two four car EMUs, which is typical for the route as the station platforms of the Southern
Line are not long enough for the otherwise standard 12 car formations. The back two carriages are
classified as MetroPlus and have seats with covers rather than being made of plastic. Windows are small
and careful positioning is needed if a view of the journey is to be obtained. Sitting on the left will offer the
best views of the spectacular coastal section.
Leaving Cape Town station the route is shared with other Metrorail routes as far as Salt River, where the
southern line leaves and bends southwards passing through well-to-do suburbs such as Observatory and
Mowbray to reach Wynberg, then Heathfield. The Cape Flats line trails in here, and probably offers an
alternative route back to Cape Town though the ticket validity was not tested on this journey. Some
Southern Line trains terminate here, but most trains continue south through stations at Lakeside and False
Bay (also signed in Afrikaans as Valsbaai) before reaching Muizenberg, where the railway line meets the
False Bay coast. From Muizenberg the line runs south-west, immediately beside the coast, with only a thin
strip of rocks and beach separating the tracks from the sea. The stations at St. James and Kalk Bay are
popular with beachgoers, as is Fish Hoek. The double track ends at Fish Hoek, and so do many trains on the
line. Those that continue wind along the coastline on a single track through Sunny Cove and Glencairn to
the terminus at Simon's Town. Parallels with Dawlish Warren are obvious, and indeed there were no trains
running on the 6.3 km final section from November 2009 until February 2011, due to unusually high tides
that piled heaps of sand on the line and caused serious damage beyond Glencairn, where structure
beneath the track was undermined. Today Simon’s Town is a popular tourist destination with its historic
harbour, still home to the South
African Navy, elegant shops and
hotels, and the nearby colony of
African Penguins. The station
itself has three tracks; one track
is served by a side platform next
to the station building on Station
Road, while the other two are
served by an island platform
connected by a pedestrian
subway. A small shop on the
platform offers hot pies and
liquid refreshments. This is the
southernmost point of the
African railway network and our
member celebrated the end of a
long railway journey starting from
near the equator by taking a
picture and marching off in
blistering heat to see the
Simon’s Town station, and as far as you can get (without bribing the driver to go the extra distance to the buffer stops) on
the African railway network
The Cape Point funicular is further south, but is, by definition, isolated from the rest of the railway
network. On returning to the station our member took the train as far as Kalk Bay and walked the coastal
section, always close to the railway, as far as the busy resort of Muizenberg and its very attractive station.
The original station here was a standard Cape Government Railways design, but in 1913 a magnificent
Edwardian styled station with an impressive clock tower was completed, suitable for South Africa’s
premier holiday resort and the ‘Brighton of South Africa’.
The Edwardian grandeur of Muizenberg railway station is now partly obscured by the large highway which runs down the
eastern side of the Cape Peninsula
RAILTOURS AND DIVERSIONS OVER NON-PASSENGER LINES
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
Germany – Very comprehensive IBSE Tour of Nürnberg area
Saturday 28 May. Nürnberg Nordost (09:20 approx.) – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Pbf (10:00 approx.) – Abzw. Hohe
Marter – Abzw. Nürnberg Rbf Minervabrücke – Nürnberg Rbf Einfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg Rbf
Einfahrbahnhof Vorbahnhof – Nürnberg Ladehof Südbahnhof – Nürnberg Rbf Einfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg
Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg Großmarkt – Abzw. Nürnberg Rbf Minervabrücke – Nürnberg Rbf
Einfahrbahnhof – Betriebshof Nürnberg Rbf – Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Heizkraftwerk – Nürnberg
Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Langwasser – Nürnberg-Dutzendteich – Nürnberg Ost – Rückersdorf–
Nürnberg Hbf – Werk Nürnberg (ehem. Hgbf) – Abzw. Jansenbrücke – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Pbf – Erlangen Gbf –
Erlangen-Bruck – Frauenaurach – Hafen Erlangen, Müllumladestation – Frauenaurach – Erlangen-Bruck –
Erlangen Gbf – Erlangen Pbf – Bamberg – Hafen Bamberg – Bamberg – Forchheim – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Pbf
(20:10 approx.) – Nürnberg Nordost (20:35 approx.)
Sunday 29 May. Nürnberg Nordost (07:15 approx.) – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Gbf – Abzw. Jansenbrücke – Werk
Nürnberg (ehem. Hgbf) – Nürnberg Hbf (08:00 approx.) – Nürnberg-Dutzendteich – Nürnberg-Langwasser
– Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Eibach – Schwabach – Nürnberg-Reichelsdorf – Nürnberg-
Eibach – Abzw. Hohe Marter – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Pbf – Abzw. Fürth-Unterfürberg – Hafen Fürth, Lände
Atzenhof – Abzw. Fürth-Unterfürberg – Fürth(Bay)Hbf Pbf – Abzw. Hohe Marter – Nürnberg Rbf Bft.
Minervabrücke – Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Eibach – Hafen Nürnberg – Nürnberg-Eibach –
Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg- Langwasser – Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Stein –
Roßtal – Wicklesgreuth – Agl. Ansbach Katterbach (?) – Wicklesgreuth – Nürnberg-Stein – Nürnberg Rbf
Bft. Minervabrücke – Nürnberg Rbf Einfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Langwasser – Feucht – Nürnberg-
Langwasser – Nürnberg Rbf Ausfahrbahnhof – Nürnberg-Langwasser – Feucht – Nürnberg- Dutzendteich –
Nürnberg-Mögeldorf – Röthenbach(Pegnitz) – Nürnberg Hbf – Werk Nürnberg (ehem. Hgbf) – Agl. DB-
Museum – Werk Nürnberg (ehem. Hgbf) – Nürnberg Hbf (19:30 approx.).
Price for both days €170 (€153 for members). Email Dieter Galles on [email protected]