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Umgeni Steam Railway NPC

Steam down Memory Lane
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Umgeni Steam Railway NPC

Contact person

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    Bruce Bennett (+)
Type: Family, Children, Adventure, Outdoors
Establishment year: 1982
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Umgeni Steam Railway NPC was formed in September 1982 by members of the Natal Branch of the Railway Society of Southern Africa in an effort to preserve our rapidly disappearing local railway heritage.  The organisation is managed and run entirely by volunteers and is self-funding, relying almost exclusively on revenue generated from operating public and charter trains in order to preserve our railway history.  Over the years U.S.R. has managed to collect a sizeable array of historically significant rolling stock and other items, including approximately 10 locomotives (the oldest of which is an 1892 Dubs A Class which is at present in pieces awaiting re-building); 50 coaches and a variety of goods wagons.  Unfortunately due to ongoing financial constraints many of these irreplaceable items remain in storage awaiting refurbishment.

One of the locomotives, “Wesley” (Class 19D no. 2685) is a regular performer on the Kloof - Inchanga run.  She was built by the Borsig Locomotive Company of Berlin, Germany in 1938.  We are at present refurbishing our well-known “Maureen” (Class 3BR no. 1486) Coaches on the train were built between 1928 and 1952, although even older vehicles, dating back to 1908, may sometimes be used.

Trains travel 25 km. through the picturesque Valley of a Thousand Hills between Kloof and Inchanga on the last Sunday of each month, with additional trains running during school holidays and for special events, such as “Carols by Candlelight”.  The trip from Kloof to Inchanga takes about 1 hour.  At Inchanga station the local Conservancy hosts the Inchanga Community Craft Market whenever U.S.R. trains are run.

We are in the process of re-vamping the Inchanga Railway Museum in the old Station Master’s house (built in 1895) above Inchanga station (which also dates from 1895). It is run by volunteer members of the Railway History Society and is open on running days. Passengers are welcome to make their way up the steps next to the picnic area to view progress in this regard, and obtain a bird’s eye view of the station, workshed and yard environs and possibly see the steam loco replenishing its water.

The train largely follows the route of the original Natal Government Railway Main Line from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, which was opened officially in December 1880.  Even today the line is considered something of an engineering feat (and an operational challenge!) due to the tortuous topography it has to traverse, with an aboundance of 1 in 30 gradients and many curves of 90m. radius.  It was regarded as a mountain railway by the surveyors and major engineering challenges along the way included a pass with almost sheer cliffs between Padley’s and Botha’s Hill (providing breathtaking views over the Inanda Valley!); a short 52 m. long tunnel near Drummond (under the old wagon track) and a spectacular cast iron viaduct over the Sterkspruit Valley just before Inchanga.  This notorious viaduct, 173 m. long, apparently swayed so badly in the wind that passengers were required to alight and walk ahead of the train during inclement weather! (which must have been a hair raising experience!)  It was however by-passed by a deviation in 1892.  Photographs of it are on display at the Inchanga Railway Museum.  This line remained the main transport artery between Durban and the Reef until the “New” Main Line was opened in 1921.  Sufficient trains continued to use the “Old Line” to warrant electrification in the late 1950’s, although declining traffic levels eventually saw this infrastructure removed some forty years later.  A suburban passenger service still operates from Durban to Pinetown.

Even the original “Mountain” type steam locomotives with their 4-8-2 wheel arrangement, a design specifically created for this rugged terrain, sometimes still struggle (especially in wet weather!) and we would request your understanding and patience should there be any resultant delays.  As you can imagine, running a locomotive which is 80 years old can at times present a few problems!

It is thanks to our dedicated volunteers that U.S.R. continues to operate and as with most volunteer organisations, it is always in need of new members.  If you would like to join us, there are numerous positions available, such as working on maintaining/repairing our steam locomotives; maintaining/repairing coaches and wagons; manning the Museum, maintaining the Library, recording archival records and many more posts. If you have time to spare speak to one of our volunteer staff members who will be pleased to explain to you our operation and find out where you would be best suited.  No experience is required as you will be taught what to do, although if you have specific relevant skills, we will be happy to put them to good use!

Famous people who have travelled on the Old Main Line include Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

Map Directions
GMT 2

Opening hours

Monday
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Tuesday
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Wednesday
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Thursday
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Friday
08:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed
The above opening hours relate to bookings only. Visit our website or click on the "Train Schedule" tab for train running days & times

Trains run from Kloof to Inchanga return on the last Sunday of the month except in season where the train runs on scheduled dates.

Bookings are essential; the train usually books out 1 week before the date of running.  Bookings can be made online on our website.

 

Time Table:

Date

AM

Depart Kloof

AM

Return Kloof

PM

Depart Kloof

PM

Return Kloof

EV

Depart Kloof

EV

Return Kloof

Sun 28th October 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Morning Train

11h45

12h30

Afternoon Train

16h00

 

 

Sun 25th November 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Morning Train

11h45

12h30

Afternoon Train

16h00

 

 

Sat 15th December 2018

Steam Locomotive

 

 

12h30

Santa Train

16h00

17h00

Carols-by-Candlelight

21h00

Sun 16th December 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Santa Train

11h45

12h30

Santa Train

16h00

17h00

Carols-by-Candlelight

21h00

Mon 17th December 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Santa Train

11h45

12h30

Santa Train

16h00

 

 

Sat 22nd December 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Santa Train

11h45

12h30

Santa Train

16h00

17h00

Carols-by-Candlelight

21h00

Sun 23rd December 2018

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Santa Train

11h45

12h30

Santa Train

16h00

17h00

Carols-by-Candlelight

21h00

Wed 26th December 2018

Diesel Locomotive

08h30

Boxing Day Train

11h45

12h30

Boxing Day Train

16h00

 

 

Sat 29th December 2018

Diesel Locomotive

08h30

Year End Special

11h45

12h30

Year End Special

16h00

 

 

Sun 30th December 2018

Diesel Locomotive

08h30

Year End Special

11h45

12h30

Year End Special

16h00

 

 

Mon 31st December 2018

Diesel Locomotive

08h30

New Years Eve

11h45

12h30

New Years Eve

16h00

 

 

Tue 1st January 2019

Diesel Locomotive

08h30

2019 New Year

11h45

12h30

2019 New Year

16h00

 

 

Sun 6th January 2019

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Inchanga Choo Choo

11h45

12h30

Inchanga Choo Choo

16h00

 

 

Sun 27th January 2019

Steam Locomotive

08h30

Inchanga Choo Choo

11h45

12h30

Inchanga Choo Choo

16h00

 

 

All Trains leave Kloof travel to Inchanga and return to Kloof

 

Ticket Pricing:   (Train Fare Only)

Child Under 2yrs

Free (lap passengers)

Child 2yrs to 12yrs

R190

Adult 13yrs to 65yrs

R260

Pensioners over 65yrs

R190

No Group Prices Offered

 

Umgeni Steam Railway                      

Railway Society of South Africa       

[Rail Heritage Societies run by volunteers dedicated to the preservation of railways in South Africa]

 

Tel:                        082 353 6003

Email:                     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web:                      www.umgenisteamrailway.com  (Up-To-Date schedules and bookings)

Facebook:             Umgeni Steam Railway (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Umgeni-Steam-Railway)

                                 Inchanga Railway Station (https://www.facebook.com/InchangaStation)

Google+:                Umgeni Steam Railway

Twitter:                 @UmgeniSteamRail (Follow for Up to the minute updates and Changes)

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