About us, our history and the train

Going way back

In mid 1989 our father, Errol Ekström, identified a need to operate a steam-hauled tourist train in the Mossel Bay region.

With the assistance of Spoornet officials back then, he was successful in obtaining permission to use the GMAM Garratt locomotive no. 4070 which had been out of use for many years.
We were extremely excited & proud once we got this locomotive to working order & receiving all the necessary TLC to beautify her appearance.

1. We organized our 1st steam – hauled train trip from Mossel Bay on the 16th December 1990.
2. We later expanded our routes to arrange special trains from Cape Town to the KKNK in Oudtshoorn & the Rose Shows from Port Elizabeth to Addo.
3. We also later offered 5 day sleeper accommodation on trips from Cape Town to the Garden Route area.

The last 10 years has seen an exceptional decline in rail traffic and infrastructure in South Africa. For many in the Garden Route region, most have never witnessed or experienced a journey on a real passenger train, never mind behind a steam locomotive!

Born and bred in Mossel Bay with a shared passion for steam locomotives & trains, the three Ekström brothers (Sean, Kevin and Graeme) identified the need to afford the locals and holidaymakers the opportunity to experience a nostalgic train journey of a now bygone era, behind a restored steam locomotive.
After years of negotiations and discussions, they are now able to offer the Southern Cape an authentic steam train experience in the greater Mossel Bay area.

Photos by Ron Cousins

Class 24 locomotive no. 3655 "Jenny"

The beautifully restored Class 24 locomotive no 3655 will haul our train on the Heritage Weekend in September 2023. This steam locomotive was built in 1943. It was designed by Dr. MM Loubscher, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the South African Railways, and was built by North British Locomotive company of Glasgow.
100 of these Class 24 locomotives were ordered by the South African Railways and were put to use on the lighter branch lines throughout South Africa & Namibia.

In the latter years, “Jenny” provided years of service for Atlantic Rail’s tourist train on the scenic Cape Town – Simon’s Town railway line.

Coach 1768

Second Class Mainline coach

Coach 1768 is one of two E-13 second Class Mainline coaches used by Atlantic Rail. Both Atlantic Rail coaches have had the compartments and coupé at the one end altered. In coach 1768, this is now an open seating area with chairs. One of the original compartment benches is still in this seating area.

One of a batch of 14 coaches built in 1936 at BFX, it has a tare of 79 950 pounds. A total of 328 were built for the South African Railways in the period 1933 to 1953.

Coach 1788

Second Class Mainline coach

Coach 1788 is the second of our E-13 Second Class Mainline coaches. As with 1768, this coach also has the end coupé modified. On 1788, work has been started to change the coupé into a shower.

The compartment next to the shower has been altered into an open seating area with a fixed table between the benches.

One of a batch of 10 built in 1936 at PRR, it has a tare of 79 850 pounds.

Coach 5551

A First Class Suburban and Baggage Van

Coach 5551 is a class N-10 First Class suburban and Baggage Van coach with a seating capacity of 48.

A total of 12 N-10 coaches were produced in 1921 and imported to South Africa. According to workshop drawings, the N10 has a tare of 66 460 pounds (the empty weight of just the coach, without any load)

Coach 4786

Second Class Suburban Commuter coach

Coach 4786 is one of a series of two class O-26 Second Class Suburban Commuter coaches imported in 1920. In total, 9 were bought by the South African railways in the years 1911 to 1921.

Of these nine, only one was manufactured in South Africa. The rest were all imported.

It has a tare of 69 600 pounds.

Coach 1893

The converted lounge car

Coach 1893 originally was a class D-15 First and Second Class Mainline Composite coach. These coaches were built from 1913 right through to 1930, many being produced in South Africa. Our Coach 1893 however was one of a batch of 8 that were imported in 1926. A total of 177 D-15 coaches were used by the South African Railways.

The coach has a tare of 72 500 pounds. The coach was only recently changed to a lounge car. Modifications included removal of most of the compartments and coupés, removal of the toilets and cupboards at the middle and the creation of the bar and store room along with benches running along the sides of the half of the coach.