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1997-07-12 Victoria Falls and Wankie


29 files, last one added on Dec 07, 2007
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1996-12-17 Bulawayo


Bulawayo - 16th - 17th December 1996
Left Pretoria Saturday 1:00 pm with Nathan Berelowitz and John Dadford. Drove north through Pietersburg, while we munched on John's biltong and were regaled with Pietersburg footplate tales from Nathan. The day was extremely hot, especially with no airconditioning. We drove through the lovely poort past Louis Trichardt as the sun was getting low, and arrived in Messina just on sundown. Stopped in at the Spur and had the totally best draught beer in the world, as well as a pretty good meal. We battled our way through the forms and paperwork on the South African side of the border and finally crossed the Limpopo to go through the same process on the Zimbabwe side. Drove on through the night, arriving at Bulawayo after midnight. We stayed with a friend of Nathan's, Dave Putnam who was the mechanical foreman of the steam shed. He was quite an interesting fellow - we had a lovely cuppa before bed.
Had a short sleep and headed to the shed for dawn shots. There were 8 Garratts in steam, 14A, 15 and 16A classes. We took many lovely shed shots and then headed off to see a special line working to pick up some wagons rerailed after a recent accident. We headed out to the siding but didn't find any loco, just a mess of derailed wagons. We actually got lost on the way, and Dave asked some locals for directions. Shortly afterwards we decided to head out to Cement to catch the cement train working, and a 14A was also on the shunt at the plant. Arrived at Cement just as the train did, so missed out on the shots, but got some good footage of the Garratt shunting the yard, and I got to ride in the cab for half an hour or so. Headed back to Dave's house for brekky of eggs on toast.
Afterwards we went to the NRZ museum and looked at the collections and displays there. Most interesting. In the afternoon John and I headed back to the steam shed while Nathan did some visiting. There were some Garratts working shunts at the shed which made for some good shots, especially the passenger train shunt. Had a walk around the sheds and saw all of the stored locos and a few being worked on, including the Unicem 19D.
Picked up Nathan from Rob Lynx's place and went to see another of his friends, Haj. Had a lovely dinner with Haj, and stayed in the flat he had built in his back yard - great accommodation. Again rose early for dawn shots again. Got some more great shots in the shed and on the turntable. Later headed back out to Cement to catch the line working. After waiting for an hour or so with no loco or train arriving, we just took some shots of the 14A on shunt there. Headed back to the shed and visited Rob's wife Susan at the railway catering division. After enjoying tea and two huge Zimbabwe Railway scones, we headed back into town. Had a look in "All Radiator and Tinning" where they had some railway lamps that they still supply to NRZ - but they were quite expensive. By this time it was 1:00 pm and time to head back to Pretoria.
On the way back we rounded a corner and saw a bus travelling in the opposite direction that had left the road and slid front-first down an embankment, so that the back of the bus was in the air across half the road, effectively blocking the other lane. As we were inching past on our side, a Peugeot going the other way decided not to wait for us, and attempted to squeeze under the bus. As we were just passing the bus we heard a terrible crunching splintering sound, and for a second I thought we'd hit the bus, but what actually happened was that the Peugeot driver had forgotten that his roof was loaded up a metre higher than normal, and the car was now firmly wedged under the bus! The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, and after KFC for dinner in Pietersburg, we arrived home in Pretoria at 1:00 am.

43 files, last one added on Oct 25, 2006
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