The grand age of steam has long passed as by. All that remains of the steam train era are mainly those engines and train sets maintained and run by private individuals and companies who have a real passion for steam and the skills and financial resources to restore renovate and maintain these monsters.
On the other hand, here in South Africa it may be a plan to reintroduce steam engines in view of our constant power outages caused by poor maintenance, cable theft and load-shedding. Just Imagine, we could get Eskom to send their alleged wet coal to Transnet!
I read somewhere that if you want to be a great artist you need to be constantly drawing, even when you’re not painting. I’m sure that is true as drawing is reasonably fast, easy to amend and relatively cheap. As the South African Golfer – Gary Player used to say “The more I practice the luckier I get” so it is with art.
Drawing for its own sake hones your skills so that when you come to painting you’re likely to have a better foundation and less mistakes in your creations.
“Steam Train” will be one of many such creations in my studio during 2020.
Some time ago I completed Old Blue, which is two old tractors outside the world famous Sandstone Estates Steam Heritage Farm outside Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State. It is a full working commercial farm with a wonderful working museum of steam driven equipment, old cars, farming equipment, planes and more. Lovely place to include in a holiday or long weekend.
Also on my easel, or more accurately, waiting it’s turn to be back on my easel, is Jessica. She is a restored steam locomotive owned and operated by the Ceres Rail Company in the Western Cape.
I’m brave enough (or crazy enough, depending on your point of view) to tackle most challenges. You’re invited to send me your favourite photo and put me to the test. You can mail me at BruceA684@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you within a day or so Copy to follow
On the rail line from Caledon to Protem – Western Cape – South Africa – PD441
Long ago, (around 2011) I used to build dioramas using card, MDF board, clay, dyed sea sand and tubes of glue. It was painstaking work and the disadvantage of the cardboard was that it was far too fragile to have any longevity. Still, I learned a lot about design and stuff so nothing was lost in the effort. Besides, I had an enormous amount of fun. One of these projects was an old Station Building on the platform of Jongensklip Station which is near Caledon in the Western Cape. I had previously taken many photos of the building but struggled with the roof line.
So we went back about a year after taking the original photos only to find that the place had been demolished. The reason,apparently, was that hobos and drug dealers hung out there. Once again our social structures have let us down. All i had left were the photos and from them I drew Jongensklip Station. There’s more to this tale but it can wait for another day.
Tree near Stanford is not far from Jongensklip and the Ceres Rail Company’s Jessica pass through Jongensklip on it’s annual pilgrimage from Capetown to Bredasdorp and back.
As a complete aside I will try and create a gallery of some of the models I built. Just for interest’s sake. But not now. Perhaps in April or may 2019.
There is a very active steam train company that works out of the Cape town of Ceres – Called the Ceres Rail Company. They have several restored steam engines and a number of old South African Railways carriages.
The company offers nostalgic trips from 1 to 5 days around the Western Cape.
In June of this year they ran a four day trip from Cape Town to Elgin, Bredasdorp, Arniston and back to Cape Town.
I managed to capture the train shortly after leaving the Overberg town of Caledon steaming it’s way to Botriver and an overnight stay at the Houw Hoek Hotel.