Sunday, 18 March 2007

South African Railways

South African railways operates an extensive network of mainly 3 foot 6 inch gauge track. Some of the main lines and the commuter networks around Johannesburg and Cape Town are electrified. Electrification is overhead, using mainly 3kV d.c. with some 25kV a.c. and a small amount of dual voltage route.

I visited Johannesburg in February, 2007. I was unable to travel by rail but I did make some photographs showing the well-kept infrastructure and multiple-aspect colour light signalling. The main station at Johannesburg is large and complex - I was particularly interested in the diamond crossings with double slips. Because of the track gauge and the angle of the crossing, these are more complex than double slips on standard gauge, as the following picture illustrates:-

A few days later in Cape Town, I managed to make a journey one evening on the electrified suburban service to Bellville.

The first railway to be built in South Africa was the Cape Town - Wellington line, started in 1859 but not opened until 1863. The first locomotive is on display in Cape Town station. I managed one photograph before station staff decided that pictures of a 150-year old locomotive were a security risk! Click for my South African railway pictures.