THE GEOFF COOKE 2010 TOUR
A report by Peter Burton……….
The double header Tour train leaving Port Elizabeth.
Day 1: It had been planned that we have an early
start from Humewood Road, to coincide with sun rise,
having the sun just on the horizon and the train laving
the station, but that day saw a heavy mist, so this was
The make up of the mixed train was passenger coaches and
the “Tuck Shop” now newly painted in the past railway
colours of maroon and grey, together with the water
tankers for the locomotives, 3 coal bogies and a
selection of goods wagons.
NG 15 No.119 was headed by the small NG 6 Lawley, on
loan from Sandstone, as we left the station for the
first photo run-by at the pedestrian bridge, then
onwards through Emerald Hill and the western suburbs of
Port Elizabeth to Chelsea for the first stop and then
run-by’s on the way out to Van Stadens. Here it was
necessary to withdraw the NG 6 Lawley and let her return
to Port Elizabeth with our ‘Pilot’ as it was felt she
was far too light to continue on to Loerie or the rest
of the trip all the way to Assegaaibos.
The usual crossing of the Van Stadens bridge took place
with the Tour Group stationed on the rocks on the west
side of the bridge for the photo run-by. Then it was on
to Thornhill and down to Loerie for the first stop-over.
Here the Group left for their accommodation while the
locomotive was serviced and made ready for the night,
being looked after by Manie and his assistant.
Day 2: It was decided, that without the NG 6, it would
not be necessary to haul all the wagons, so the empty
coal DZ and one water tanker was left behind. This day
we had been permitted to run up the Patensie branch line
as far as Hankey, with photo run-by’s organised along
the way. We then returned to Gamtoos with a run over the
Gamtoos bridge, before returning to Loerie for the night
Day 3: On leaving Leorie with the necessary false starts
and run-by’s we ran on to Gamtoos and across the bridge
towards Jeffrey’s Bay and on to Humansdorp for a service
stop. Then on to Bilson and Howley for more photo stops,
finally arriving at our destination, Assegaaibos late in
the afternoon. Here the Group left for their
accommodation, while 119 was serviced and prepared for
the night. The crew and staff then left for ‘Plasswerf’
in Kareedouw for a well deserved nights rest.
Day 4: Here we ran back to Humansdorp with the usual
photo run-by’s at various spots. On reaching Humansdorp
it was found that a NG 91 had arrived with empty timber
trucks, much to the pleasure of the Group to then
recorded NG 15 No.119 and a NG 91 standing together. It
was a latish departure from Humansdorp for a relaxing
run back to Assegaaibos.
Day 5: Here the Geoff Cooke Group left us to continue on
their trip on to Mossel Bay, with very pleasant remarks
from all in our ‘Visitors Book’, more so from a
line-side photographer who was very impressed with the
return of the old coaching colours. He was busy
compilinga DVD of his trip around the southern Cape, but
mostly featured the train during the five day trip.
The return trip from Assegaaibos was scheduled for a
stop over at Loerie where the goods wagons were to be
left behind. The staff returned to Port Elizabeth for
Day 6: Saw the train returning to Port Elizabeth with
only the coaches.
All in all, this trip covered 426km. Where in the world
is there an opportunity like this to travel on 2ft.
narrow gauge over this great distance.
On its return NG 15 No.119 was returned to the workshop
for a good check-over.
Geoff Cooke was very satisfied with the trip in general
and will be back in September this year to partake in a
‘Day Trip’ to Loerie with another group of steam
NG15 no.119 and NG6 (BR7) at Van Stadens siding