|THE diminutive steam train,
"Apple Express", which puffs its way along a
61cm wide track, is rapidly becoming an important tourist attraction, as an
During the December and January holiday season, six passenger coaches are added to the train, which usually hauls fruit - from the fertile Langkloof Valley in season.
The train, with its royal blue seats and old-fashioned luggage racks, leaves the Humewood Road station at 9 a.m. every Saturday.
It is a slow trip which allows passengers to enjoy the
scenery at leisure.
with its impressive Cockscomb rising to about 2 000 metres. The train climbs west until it reaches the Van Stadens gorge, 43km from Port Elizabeth.
Here the train crosses the highest narrow-gauge railway bridge in the world.
This steel girder bridge is over 78m high and 195 metres long.
The "Apple Express" then, begins its descent to the
Loerie valley, where the village of Loerie is the turning
point for a normal day's excursion. It stops at all
Booking for these trips is heavy, a spokesman for the
railways said, and
|Not only is the express of
great interest to South African holiday- makers but it
attracts many people from overseas too. Recently an American
train enthusiast traveled 6000 miles to Port Elizabeth just
to have a ride on the little train.
Overseas railway study groups often arrange trips on this train, which is the only narrow gauge railway open to the public in South Africa.
The "Apple Express" plays an important part in carrying
deciduous and citrus fruit to the Port Elizabeth harbour and
it is also a valuable supply line to the farmers of this
Children under seven, accompanied by their parents, may travel free.