“Where have all the small trains gone?”……

                                                                                  Gone to scrapyards everyone ?

As a kid I can remember a few miniature trains around the country. I wonder if any of you, especially the older generation can still remember them and help me out with some more information about them and the other forgotten miniature railways. At one stage there was 14 Model engineering clubs in addition to the other model Railways operating in South Africa but only a few survived.

On the South Coast of Natal, I can remember a mini train at Amanzintoti Caravan Park, but when the caravan park closed down in the late 60’s or early 70’s the train also disappeared. The loco may have been purchased by a Mr. Jack Gregory who since passed away. Any idea what happened to the loco or what gauge the railway was? Then about 4  decades later, not far from the original miniature Amanzintoti Caravan Park Mini railway, next to Splash Water World, another mini railway was built. It was known as  the "Toti Fun Train" and ran untill March 2007 when it was damaged by tidal waves. It has since been demolished. The loco was equipped with a Mini Cooper petrol engine. Any idea of what happened to that one?

Between 1960 and 1967 the D.S.M.E. Club had their miniature railway at Blue Lagoon alongside the Umgeni River. It was demolished in 1967 by the Durban city council for the construction of the then new Athlone bridge. They then moved to Virginia circle where they are currently still operating.

As early as the late 20's a miniature steam Railway was in operation on the Durban beachfront near the Snakepark.  In the 40's Mr. Nic Steyn bought this  Mini Railway, with a 4-6-0 wheel configuration type loco from his farther in law,  Arthur Thornton who designed, built and ran the railway, Mr Steyn then formed a company called "Durban miniature railways" and continued operating the mini railway on the Durban Beachfront . In the 1920s and very early 1930s, some of the carriages had a roof supported on tall stanchions while others were simply open. Mr Les Pivnic, now in his 80's and living in Australia, personally rode on that train in 1936 as a child and  remembers one of the closed carriage had already been beautifully rebuilt into a miniature SAR-style white-painted balcony saloon with clerestory roof.  The interior had tiny swivel chairs to seat the children - only children could ride in this carriage - the doorways at either end and the seats were too small for adults.   The train ran between the snake park and Sunkist beach up to the early 1950's. The station was on the southern end with turntable, and workshop/sheds near the northern end where the line had a large reversing curve / baloon that turned the train around in the right direction to face the station  again. The gauge was about 12". At some stage the loco was replaced or modified as the loco used in the 40 's was longer and had a 4-8-0 wheel configuration. During the mid to late 50's the beachfront was re vamped and the mini train was moved to opposite the Beach hotel near the Model Dairy Tea Room at the end of West Street. The steam loco was later replaced by petrol or Diesel locos. That steam loco was later moved together with the loco from Pietermaritzburg to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Is the minitrain featured in this video perhaps the mini Railway opposite the Beach hotel in 1962? If so then they had more than one diesel loco. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/durban-and-hibiscus-coast  Unfortunately the lady I spoke to at Funworld was not very helpful or prepared to provide me with any further information or contact details of Mr Steyn or someone that can assist.

The Animal Farm once situated in Battery Beach Road Durban also had a miniature train within the Animal Farm complex.  Apparently it ran around the grounds of the farm carrying the kids past all the sights. Tickets was sold at the ticket office opposite the main entrance. Anyone has more information or photos of this train and when the Animal farm closed down.

During the late 50's or early 60's a Mr Greef from Pretoria was awarded a concession to operate a model Railway in Scottburgh. Im not sure of the exact location of the mini railway but I suspect it was on the Beachfront. Mr Greef then commissioned the Baxter Engineering Works in Pietermaritzburg to build a loco similar to the Kershur Park loco, but 10,25 inch gauge. His model railway didn't last long in Scottburgh and was  re-located to Muizenberg where it operated for a while but later it also closed down. When the mini railway in Muizenberg closed down the original Baxter built steam loco was refurbished by the late Dick Collyer of Durban and it was sold to Mr John Hall-Cragg for the Brighwalton Light Railway in the UK where it is got known as the "Muizenberg Flyer" or just the "Flyer". The Loco was also re- gauged to 9 ½”  gauge to conform to the Brightwalton track. Mr John-Hall Craggs confirmed to me in 2016 that the loco was at the Brightwalton Light Railway at the time. The loco was also seen in operation in 2018 at the Lakeshore Railroad in South Shields 4 UK where it was on loan for a season. Sadly Mr John-Hall Craggs passed away at the age of 88 in March 2020. I can not confirm the locos current location, but up to July 2020 the loco was still owned by the Craggs family. Anyone with more information or who can confirm where in Scottsburg this mini railway was situated. At some stage the remains of the Muizenberg mini railway was acquired by Mr. H.W. Wann where he then continued operating the miniature railway presumably with petrol driven locos. In December 1980 the mini train, at the time pulled by a petrol loco, derailed and eight children got injured. This miniature railway also closed down in the 80's and the last photos I have shows only some of the abandoned buildings remaining

There was  also a mini train as far back as the 70's that ran on the beachfront in front of the Caravan Park in Scottburgh up until 2007. I do not know if this was the remains of the original Scottburgh Mini railway built by Mr. Greef in the late 50's and early 60's.  It was once owned and operated by a Mr. Wenzel Muller who sold it when he moved to Cape Town where he lived until he died.  Apparently  floods or freak  waves destroyed the miniature Railway in 2007. Hotels like the Blue Marlin still mentioned it in their advertisements in 2010, and up to 2020 websites like Southafrica.com still mentions it but it was removed over a decade ago, so much for up to date websites.  Wonder where the trains and tracks are now?

At Park Rynie near Scottburg on a sugar cane farm once owned by Mr. Gillie Andrew was a private 5" gauge track. Some of the DSME members  including Mr Jack Gregory was involved with it. The Railway was in operation during the late 70's to early 80's. There were also plans to build a private track on the farm of the late Peter Croocks in Renishaw near Scottburgh. I can not find any proof that the track was ever built.

In the 80's there was a mini train at Marina Glen on the beachfront in Eastlondon near the Holiday Inn and Cricket Stadium opposite the old caravan park in John Bailie Road. That once beautiful park and picnic area is now turned into something in-between an open air public toilet invested with prostitutes and a squatter camp. The caravan park closed down long time ago. ..Another example of “Africanizing” the nice things we used to have. I understand that mini train was also called “Smarties Train” as Nestle sponsored it then and it was operated by Round Table No 1. During about 1998 it was moved to Queens Park Zoo where it  operated for a few years after loosing the "Smarties" sponsorship. I understand it is operating again (since 2012) after it received a revamp with the help of round table club No1 and it also re gain its Smarties look and sponsorship from Nestle. Maybe someone can confirm this with me.

In Ballito near Durban is a miniature railway at Suger Rush park. I have no info on the gauge or track length, but the locos resemble the units used at Piggly Wiggly and the Winelands Light Railway. I dont know if they are affiliated or sharing locos.

Mr Warren Booth imported a miniature train in December 2014 and built a mini railway at his restaurant called Pinecreek in Holm Hill, East London. It is a Chinese made ZDC-03 diesel powered Model loco with two carriages and a capacity for 24 people. It is known as the Pinecreek Express. The gauge is 381 mm and the track is 400 meters long . The 400 meter ride runs through the garden, crosses a river and passes through a tunnel and cost R10.

The  “Smarties / Bibo” mini train on the Beachfront in PE, once ran by Round Table No 8 is no longer there. It was still running in 2009. According to the photos I have it was round the pool on Kings Beach. The track still showed up on Google earth in 2010. I went looking for it late in November 2012 and only found a park full of feral children and filled with empty KFC & Mc Donald Boxes, beer cans and other rubbish and the smell of urine. Does anyone know what happened to the train and tracks?

  The miniature Blue Train in Green point Cape Town started operating on the 19th of December 1956 and is currently still in operation. It is the only Beachfront mini railway that survived in South Africa and is owned and operated by Round Table No 9. Mr Johnny Peters was the first driver and operated the mini train for more than 30 years from 1956 until he retired in 1987 at the age of 61. a Ride back then cost a sixpence. Mr Peters is also known for once giving a "naughty" boy a  good hiding for placing stones on the rails, just to find out later it was Pieter, the son of the late state president Mr John Voster.            Also see this Youtube Video Clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzwA6LiEZZw

In the 40's there was a mini railway running on the lawns in Sea Point somewhere. (Im not sure of the exact location.) It was used as a fundraiser for the war effort and General Jan Smuts himself even rode on it. The 5" gauge loco was sold during October 2012 in Capetown for 28 000 Rand. Can you identify the exact location of this mini train that was somewhere in Capetown during the Liberty Cavalcade in 1944?   http://www.britishpathe.com/video/cape-towns-liberty-cavalcade/query/south+africa+miniature+train

Was this the origin of The Cape Town Model Engineering Society in Rondebosch?                             http://www.britishpathe.com/video/model-husbands/query/south+africa+miniature+train

Mr W Schultz spent 12 years to build  a 16AD class 1/8th scale which he completed in 1960. All parts, excluding the pressure gauge, were made by Mr Schultz himself.  It had a coal fired boiler that burnt a mixture of coal and anthracite and ran at 10 Bar. The Loco was equipped with a steam breaks and a steam driven dynamo for the headlight. Mr. Schultz ran it on his private 127 mm gauge track around his garden on his property in Begvliet near Cape Town. It ran there for 15 years and according to the log the loco did 3525Km in total. The loco is currently on display in the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George.

 In 1954 a miniature railway started to operate in Pietermaritzburg on the banks of the Umsindusi River adjacent to the tennis courts off Commercial Road. The track was built by Mr Gerald Baxter and his father with 7 Pound Goolivan rail with wooden sleepers with proper T fasteners . The 9,25 Inch gauge track of 500 meters ran through Kershaw Park.  The loco, a 2 scale Pacific 4-6-2, was built by Mr Gerald Baxter and his dad  in a shed behind the White house Hotel in Howick. It was before Mr Baxter started his engineering works on Victoria Rd Pietermaritzburg where he also built the loco for the miniature railway in Bulawayo, as well as the one for Mr Greef's mini railway In Scottburgh that was later moved to Muizenberg. The Kershaw Park miniature railway was later sold to a Mr Bauchaman. Mr Bauchaman operated the railway for a short while before converting the loco to run on a small Austin car petrol engine. The petrol loco soon lost its appeal to children causing the mini railway to close down soon afterwards. Mr. Mike Harburn then purchased the loco and 9,5 inch rails at a liquidation sale. The track was installed at his private railway in Kloof. The loco was then sent back to Mr. Baxter to be restored to a steam loco. Mr Baxter agreed only to do it if the original boiler could be found. After some advertising in the Natal Witness paper the boiler was located with a framer near Greytown and was bought back.  The loco was then restored to it original glory.

The Knysna Society of Model Engineers was formed in 1975 by Ron Etter after he moved to Knysna from Johannesburg where he also formed the Johannesburg Model Engineering club. The Knysna track was situated at 42 Ridge Dr, Paradise, Knysna. Unfortunately all the infrastructure was lost during a fire on the 7th June 2017 and the society is now re building and moving to a new premises in Rheenendal next to Totties Farm Kitchen. Hopefully they will still open this year ( 2020)

In a public notice issued by the Mosselbay Municipality on the 28th of October 2019 the Municipality of Mosselbay gave notice of a lease of 5,2 Ha land from Portion 101 of farm no 217 Hartenbosh for the amount of 10 120 Rand per month for erecting tracks for a Miniature Railway in Hartenbos. No further details were given. I dont think this railway was ever built.

Mr. Gary Lambert informed me that there was a miniature Railway at St  Michaels Beach on the Natal South coast that was operated by the Rotary Club. The only remaining sign of the mini railway is the remains of a concrete slab that once formed part of the tunnel. Unfortunately I have no further info on this mini railway.

Currently in Pietermaritzburg at Halley Park in Rudling Road Bisley Valley is the Pietermaritzburg  Model Engineering Society Model Railway. The Society was founded in 1922 and the current venue only opened in November 1987 with 250 meters of track. A section of the track was obtained from Mr Bakers Private railway in Howick. This 250 meter of the track is currently known as the "inner ring". An additional 450 meters of track known as the "outer ring" was added 9 years later and in 1996 the railway was further extended with the addition of a second track, ticket office and footbridge. The overall length of the track is currently just under one Kilometre.  I understand it is one of the best tracks in South Africa. They offer Steam Train rides to the public on the first Sunday of each month.

Sadly the Albert Falls Dam Minature Railway North of Pietermaritzburg closed down in 2020. The dual gauge track was in Anderson street. It was  5" as well as 7,25". It operated over weekends and gave rides to the public. The miniature Railway had a one Km long track and was owned by Mr. Rob Steiger. People use to bring their own locos as camping facilities with a bar and braai was available. If you love steam, you would have loved Albert Falls Miniature Railway. Unfortunately it is the end for the railway. I hope someone will step in and re open the railway. Wonder where Mr Steiger's locos are and what the reason was or closing this popular venue.

In the early 80’s a Mr. Don Baker had a private track on his property in Howick. The rails was later removed and sold to PMES and laid at the club.

On the Eastrand there was a miniature train at Germiston lake. That train might have been moved to the Scottburg beachfront after removing it from Germiston lake.…. I can only recall ever seeing the tracks at Germiston lake but can't remember the gauge and never saw the train running.

Boksburg lake had a 15" Gauge Steam Loco that was moved to "Die Hoekie" in Pretoria and later returned to Boksburg lake, but this time to the opposite side of the lake. In the mid 60's it was owned by Mr George Edgcomb. Nothing further is known about it whereabouts.

The 7 1/4" inch Model Diesel Locomotive and four wagons that was used to give childrens rides on a plot in Atlasville in Boksburg  was sold by Mr Dirk van Schalkwyk in 2011 and it is alive and in very good condition and can be seen at the CSME club in centurion. 

The "Grasdak" Church in Boksburg / Benoni also had a track, but I have no further info. Was this perhaps the same Mini train that was advertised and sold by Dirk van Schalkwyk in the Junkmail on 8th Of August and 9 October 2011 for 60 000 rand?

Rotundus Pleasure Resort in Springs also has a mini train, As far as I know its still operational and runs on weekends. It is petrol driven but the "locomotive" does not resemble any known type of loco and the gauge is unknown.

Florida lake in Roodepoort had a 10 ¼" mini railway. The 4-4-2 loco, possibly named "M.R Florida" was built in 1948 by David Curwen Ltd. Baydon, WitshireIt in England for Mr. Bernard James for the Florida Lake railway. In 1970 Mr C.F. Marais bought the loco and re named it Sarie Marais but it remained at Florida Lake. Upon closure of the railway the loco was bought by a Mr. Deon Taljaard who up to 2007 was still busy restoring it in his workshop. Does he still have any of the Florida Lake loco's, if not where are they now? As far as I know it was one diesel and one steam loco. What happened to the track and diesel loco?. Does anyone have a photo of it?

When did the Zoo Lake mini train close down?

Bezuidenhoud Park in Johannesburg also had a mini railway. Any idea of where in the park it was or when it closed down? Some people claims it was still operational in the late 80's and parts of the track and one bridge is still visible today.

 The Miniature Railway at Gilooly's Farm was in operated in the 80's and was run by a Mr. Robertson OR Robinson.   When did this one close Down? and what happened to the Locomotive and tracks?

These Youtube video shows short clips of kids riding on the Santarama Miniland Miniature trains     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arMV_fY16HE      and     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvABSjNxVS0    In September 2013, shortly after the Drommedaris Replica Ship burnt down, Mr. Luyanda Mzangwe caretaker at the park announced that the miniature train may also be replaced, but no further information was given. I think the park closed down since.

Remember the Mini railway that belonged to a Model Engineering club at the old Rand Showgrounds in Milpark? Terry Browne was the clubs president in 1983 when the club moved from Milpark Show grounds to form the RSME club in Florida at Len Luther Park, off Golf club Terrace. They are open the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month and provide Steam train rides to the public. The club recently did some upgrades to the premises by adding a pedestrian bridge and a new larger station roof and also built a new loco bunker.

Gold Reef City currently has a 2Ft gauge train with a Diesel locomotive known as the Fun Train. It runs round the outer perimeter of the entertainment park and can take about 40 passengers. It stops at two stations, George Harrison station and Lang Laagte. It all started when the Curator of the SAR Museum in Johannesburg was contacted by Anglo-American Corp, who wanted to establish a "Gold Mine Museum" on the property of a closed Gold Mine that was still basically intact.  They wanted to run a narrow gauge train around the complex of the new museum and asked the SA Railway Museum if they could help them with narrow gauge railway equipment.  At that time the SAR museum had a NG engine and coaches stored at De Aar and arrangements were put in place to take the Anglo American management to De Aar to inspect the equipment which would be loaned to them until the SAR’s own major museum which was in the planning stage would be completed.  The SAR museum staff flew to De Aar with Anglo Management in one of their twin-engine planes so that they could see the equipment for themselves.  They then flew onto Uitenhage where they met with the SAR Mechanical Engineer who would undertake the restoration work of the engine - a class NGG 16 no.111 and rolling stock that could be operated at the new Gold Mine Museum.  This was all agreed to and the stock was uplifted at De Aar, sent to Uitenhage for repair and then onto Gold Reef City.  It started to operate on the perimeter track but a problem soon arose with the NG Garratt - steam engines need proper maintenance facilities which didn't exist at the Gold Mine Museum. The NG coaches were also not suitable for a "Fun Train". They then decided to place the engine on static display and get a diesel "Fun Train" loco to haul the new toast-rack carriages around the site. The NG coaches were returned to SAR.  The engine no.111 is still at the museum which was privatized and re-named "Gold Reef City".  The SAR major museum that was planned for Kaalfontein, then Pretoria and finally at Krugersdorp Loco, never materialised except for the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George which was done on a much smaller scale than what was planned originally.  The Gold Mine Museum was also given a class 19D 4-8-2 as well as a van that was used to convey gold bullion to the mailship at Durban.  These items remain at Gold Reef City.

Sasolburg also had a  miniature railway with a 10 ¼" Simplex loco. The track was at "Abrahams Rest" next to the Vaal River near where the casino is now. The loco was built by Dick Henry and driven by Mr Mike Night's grandfather, Willem Nel.  When the track closed down the loco was donated to  R.S.M.E. and is on display at the R.S.M.E museum in Roodepoort. I don't know what happened to the rest of the train or tracks. Mr Mike Night also has a 120 meter 5 track "with several loco's at his home in Standerton.

Standerton's 10 ¼" Royal Scott steam loco was also butchered and fitted with a diesel engine. It might have been converted back to steam afterwards. That could be one of the locos thats now on display at the Worcester museum. There is a possibility that the tracks and some of the wagons are in storage with the local Round Table.

Secunda Steamers Club managed to resuscitate the model railway at Eden dam in Secunda during 2014 with the assistance from a Sasol sponsored project. A new Station Building was built and the dual gauge 5 & 7,25" track was repaired. The area is now also fenced off and have security patrols. They have two locos, one steam loco named Lady Francene and a diesel loco named Fransie. They have plans to extend the track in future and offer rides to the public from Wednesdays through to Sundays. 

Witbank dam had a Model Engineering club, complete with a track, but it closed down when the property was converted into a holiday resort.

Next to the Old Mahem Hotel in Van Der Hoff Road in Meardale / Kirkney, west of Pretoria, was a 15" gauge miniature railway. the sad news is that the loco was cut up for scrap metal when the railway closed down. Charles Viljoen still has the Boiler and some of the wheels.

Greatermans Department Store in Kerk street in Pretoria, opposite the Old Strijdom Statue had a mini train and some other rides on their rooftop in the late 40’s and early 50's. The loco was an American type electrically driven loco. The building was demolished long time ago and the last time the train was spotted it was laying in someone’s backyard in the South of Johannesburg somewhere.

Derdepoort Ontspanningsoord also had a 7 ¼ inch mini train.      

In Jean Avenue in Centurion "The Party Yard" had Petrol driven Tomas the tank engine look alike but it is no longer operational. Tracks were removed in 2012 and loco was placed in storage on a farm in Naboomspruit somewhere.

In Lynwood Road ext, Zwavelpoort, Pretoria is Cedar Junction Theme Park with its own miniature railway consisting of about 1,2 km of 5"as well as 7,25" Gauge track. They are open daily and provide steam train rides and other children entertainment. 

The Centurion model Engineers Club in Kwikkie Crescent Centurion has a excellent miniature Railway with 3,25", 5" and 7,25" gauge track. The premises is well maintained and a pleasure to visit. They offer steam train rides to the public on the first and Third Sunday of each month. The club was formed in 1961 by people building locomotives in their garages and was called Pretoria Live Steamers. In 1981 the Verwoerdburg Municipality made available a site called Meerpark and on 12 June 1993 it was officially opened. The club is currently known as Centurion society of Model Engineers

Anyone knows what happened to the Mini Train in Cullinan?

Fiestaland at Hartebeespoort dam had a 9 ½" Ottowa. All I can find out is that it was sold to "someone in the Cape."

I understand the Snakepark at Hartebeespoort Dam also had one, or was affiliated to a minuature railway.

Bapsfontein's 15" loco was butchered by converting it into a diesel loco.  Some of the tracks were still visible where the old fairground was a few years......before the area was invaded by squatters and the last piece of metal was stolen.

Bloemfontein zoo also once had a mini railway at some stage. Any information on that?  

Margate Miniature Railway received its steam locomotive on 16Th October 1948 and started operating soon afterwards until 1952. The owner was Mr HW Wann. At some point the train derailed and eight children got injured. I have no further information on the route or length of the track, but according to the old photo I have it could have been 15". In May 1952 the miniature train was moved to Mazelspoort Holiday resort. After that, up to the late 50's, there was a funny homemade petrol type locomotive with open passenger wagons operated by a Mr Pienaar running on what appears to be the abandoned tracks of the original mini railway on the beachfront in front of The Seabrook Holiday Apartments. I found that in several cases where a steam miniature railway closed down someone slaps a homemade loco together using any petrol engine and use the abandoned tracks to try and run a mini train. 

In 1966 the Mazelspoort miniature railway was sold to Mr. Liebenberg & Son and moved to Klerksdorp Dam and still in 1966 Mr. Liebenberg & Son started operating their Mini Railway with its steam loco at Klerksdorp Dam. As far as I know it was the same 15" Gauge steam loco form the previously Margate mini railway. The original mini train with its steam loco was moved form Klerksdorp to Jan Smuts Dam in Brakpan during 1974. It was then moved to Murrey Park in Springs for a period of 6 years. Murray Park is currently dilapidated and closed to the public due to crime and vandalism. Before it was “Africanised” it was a beautiful camping site and Caravan park with a mini railway.  In the 70's the locomotive was returned to Brakpan's Jan Smuts dam and in the 80's it was re-named Miss Brakpan.  In 1994 it was sold to a scrap metal dealer named Koos. In 2004 it was acquired by Retanga Junction in Cape town and re-gauged to 24". This unfortunately spoiled it looks but at least the loco survived. It was then restored in the Freestate for Sandstone Estates where it can be vied during an "open day" at Sandstone. Word has it that her identical twin is the loco that ran at "Fonteine" in Pretoria and is now in storage at friends Of The Rail in Hermanstad. The builder is unknown.

The minitrain at Fonteine is no longer running, I understand it was a 15' gauge railway with a Steam loco. The abandoned track was still there during December 2013. The miniature train was built back in the late 1940s by the Kimble family. It was a replica of the train that ran between Pretoria and Johannesburg stations at the time. They ran the train for many years until the dad passed away around 1979. At that time the family felt they do not want to keep the train and sold it to the Round Table, Pretoria 87 club. Round table restored the train and kept it going for many years. It was one of the main attractions around Pretoria and anyone from small kids to grandparents enjoyed riding on the mini train. The locomotives boiler is larger than 100 liters and it was considered as a real steam train and the only way a person was allowed to drive the train at Fountains Valley was with the proper licenses that was required for a normal steam engine. Round Table partnered with Friends of the Rail, and they kept the loco running over the years. It was around 2008 when some disaster struck, the person that maintained the train, unfortunately, passed away, and the maintenance on the tracks and Fountains Valley really went backward after a flood-damaged one of the bridges. After this the train no longer ran. A few attempts were made to get it going, but it was unsuccessful.  Even the tracks were extended, and the council built a diesel version, but this was crashed into the wall of the shed and stopped running after that and the train never ran again. Round table then had some crime problems and lots of copper parts got stolen off the train. The only option was to move the train for safekeeping.  3 Years later they partnered with a museum group to restore the train and were in negotiations to get tracks for their venue in a effort to run the train again.  I'm currently not aware of the status of this project. Go to this website for a video clip from 1961.   ( About 12 min into the clip)  http://www.britishpathe.com/video/butlin-in-south-africa-unedited-material-reel-1/query/south+africa+miniature+train       and this one from 1962       http://www.britishpathe.com/video/miniature-train/query/Africa.                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmUqj21XMVo              I understand the loco in now in the care of F.O.T.R in Hermanstad and the track at Fountains Valley lays abandoned at the resort. Can someone save the tracks before its sold to a scrap metal dealer !!

Nelspruit had a live steamers / Model Engineering club with a track situated on a private farm belonging to a pharmacist. Any info on that?

Christ Church Mini Railway in Grahamstown had a 60 meter oval track but it closed down in December 2012 when Mr Goodfellow moved to PE. The 5" gauge tracks was re used for a project in Uitenhage. The 5" Sweetpea loco was sold to Darren in June 2013 who converted it to 7 1/4 inch gauge.

George Lions Club  operated a SHAY 1 model steam Loco over weekends on their track at the end of York Street in George. The 10.25 inch gauge Loco, built in the Karoo by a farmer, was donated to the George Lions Club by the late Mr. Jan Hugo and is currently on display in the George Transport museum. Apparently the track was abandoned when the operation closed down in 2005 due to financial reasons. The "Die Burger" newspaper of 27 July 1988 also reported that the Mini Steam train was bought by the George town council for R 30 000 in June 1988, but didn't name the seller.

At Red Berry Farm just outside George on the  R404 is a Miniature Railway with several steam and diesel locos to provide rides to the public through the strawberry fields. The miniature railway has 700m of track that winds through a portion of the maze, around the strawberry fields and into a tunnel, providing plenty of fun and adventure!

Can anyone provide me with more info on that Uitenhage Mini Railway project? I know they have a 5" Gas powered Sweatpea loco built by the late Trevor Compton and the track came from Reverend Goodfellow's old Christchurch mini railway in Grahamstown.During the 80's Uitenhage also had a 2Ft Gauge Mini Railway at Willow dam and its described in the "narrow Gauge" Page on this website.

Makalani Picnic Resort (as it is now called) opposite the old Drive Inn at Hartebeespoort dam,  also had a mini railway with a steam locomotive. The 7 ¼ inch track still remains but what happened to the loco and train?

Maroela Holiday resort had  a dual gauge 3 ½ and 7 ¼" inch track. The loco was a 3½" BR Britannia owned by Joos Venter. The loco was for sale middle of 2012. Anyone with more information about that one?

 Johannesburg Live Steamers at Wemmerpan abandoned the site due to vandalism and theft and moved the entire operation to the Rietvlei Zoo Farm in the South of Johannesburg. This Flickr page   https://www.flickr.com/photos/92693699@N07/  contains a photo of the clubhouse and station when it was abandoned by the members due to the "new South African" syndrome of destroying and looting everything. The final straw for the club was when the clubs pride and joy replica water tower was stolen with the aid of a Johannesburg city counsel truck equipped with a lifting crane.

Bulawayo had an excellent miniature railway system in Centenary Park operated by the local Rotary Club. The 10,25 inch miniature railway in Bulawayo's Centenary Park was opened on 18 August 1960 & was run by Bulawayo Round Table 3 club. The first locomotive was a maroon painted 4-6-2 named King Arthur. The loco and passenger wagons built by Mr Baxter from Pietermaritzburg and shipped to Bulawayo where the Rhodesian government insisted on a import duty of nearly 300 Pounds even if it was to be used for charity. Eventually one of the fuel companies paid the 300 pounds as a donation to the Rotary club. In 1963 King Arthur was joined by Queen Guinivere. On page 98 of E D Hamer's book on Locomotives of Zimbabwe is a photo of her. This website contains some video footage of Bulawayo’s mini railway as it was in 1962. The old Durban and Pietermaritzburg locos was moved to Bulawayo in the late 60’s. Soon after the Zimbabwean independence the miniature railway was also "Africanised" and currently the railway is no longer in operation and the loco sheds was destroyed by a fallen tree.                                                                                                     http://www.britishpathe.com/video/model-railway-in-africa/query/Rhodesia+miniature+train

What happened to the Mini Railway at Greenwood Park in Harare? I have some very saddening photos showing the old Steam loco stripped and rusting away in-between bushes. What happened to the PROF Diesel loco and tracks?

During the 60'and early 70's there was a 2Ft Gauge mini railway at Gwelo known as the Gwelo District Light Railway. Railway enthusiasts obtained the 2Ft Gauge locomotive from the Selukwe Peak Railway that once served the Rhodesian chrome mines. The loco, named Buckeye was built in 1935 by Orenstein and Koppel. The track was salvaged from the Victoria Falls Tramway who in tern got it from the Cape Government Railway.  The Rails was 45 pound rail and the CGR closed down in the 1950. Maybe Mr David Mitchell can tell us more about GDLR. Does anyone know what happened to the loco?

Who can provide more information about the Mini trains in Zambia. I understand there are three, one at the trade fair's show grounds in Lusaka opposite Manda Hill Shopping Centre, one at the Ndola show grounds, the third one may possible be at the show grounds in Choma, but I'm not sure. If you have more information or photo's, please send it to me. 

 Somewhere in Kenya during the 40's or 50's was a mini Railway with a 10,25 inch gauge  track. The Garratt locomotive later found its way to South Africa.  Who knows what the gauge of the current Mini Train at the Nairobi Railway Museum in Kenya is?

Tsumeb had a miniature train as from the early 70's and it was sponsored by Namibian Breweries. As the surrounding mines used 600mm gauge track for both above and below ground and rail track was easily obtainable this railway was also built at 600mm gauge. It was built by Mr. Wiechmann and his son and was nicknamed the "Meckibahn". The railway and train was later donated to the LIONS club who later donated it to the cancer society. Mr Ayers operated and maintained the train with the assistance of TransNamib, the municipality and the local mine. The train stopped running in November 2008 and the tracks was lifted in 2009. The train was replaced with a road version trackless "train". The old Steam loco look alike with its VW engine is on display at the local museum in Tsumeb. If you have any more information about this little train or have any photos please e-mail it to    locohunter@mighty.co.za

Does anyone know something about the mini train that was in Windhoek?

a Little electric train ran through Cresta Shopping centre in the late 80’s. The shopping centre had a model train which would run through the centre of the shopping centre stopping at various places around the inner mall to allow passengers off. The train would then come out the Northern entrance around a loop. Turning the train around inside the centre was done in front of the OK store on a giant turntable, which became more popular to watch than the train itself. The train ran from 1987 and was removed in approximately 1992. Does anyone know what happened to the train or have a photo of it?

Jason from Sun City Waterworld informed me that the “Stimela"  Mini Train is in operation again and runs daily from 10Am to 5Pm. Unfortunately I don't know what gauge it is or how many loco's they have. In 2007 the Minitrain rides was temporally suspended after some passengers were injured during a derailment

In about 1998 The miniature Railway at The Point in Mosselbay was closed down by the Mosselbay Municipality. Does anyone know why or have more information or photos?

During September of 1985 a miniature railway was launched at the Tygervalley Shopping Centre. It had either a 12 or 15" inch Gauge Baldwin outline 0-4-0 loco based on the Baltimore Ohio “Six” built By Ron Etter ( who sadly passed away on the 6th of December 2020) and with enclosed coaches  . The train ran around the outside of centre, crossing Bill Bezuidenhout Avenue, past the Health and Racket Gymnasium, down Willie van Schoor Avenue all the way to Prac Du Cap and back. In 1986 a steam leak from a burst pipe or cracked boiler injured the operator mr Freek Swart. The loco could then not be repaired  and during 1987 a Petrol driven tender, using a Nissan Pulser car engine, was built  by Mr. Dave Atkins and added to pull the train with the loco used for show only by burning rags in the firebox to produce smoke. It soon lost its attraction to the public as it was no longer a steamer and the train was sold to Firlands estate near Gordons bay where it becme known as the Firlands Express. Unfortunately the mini train didn't last long at Firlands Estate and it was later bought by Mr Douw de Lange who managed to repair the boiler by welding it on the inside using a TIC welder and restoring it back to steam. 

There is a mini railway at Langebaan in Denlyn Park, from the photos I have it looks like a dual gauge 5" and 7 1/4" track. They have two locos.

Hans from Hansing Engineering  also has a 200 to 300 meter 15" track at his engineering business in Saldana where he often runs the ex Tygervally / Firlands Baltimor 0-4-0 loco.      see     http://www.youtube-video-downloader.xyz/save?video=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D1fZejhP8HIg

Heidelberg Transport Museum at one stage tried to get a Miniature railway going, Part of the half built track still remains. Anyone with photos or more information?

Lovers Rock picnic resort  near Magaliesburg also had a Miniature Train. The track was still there in 2007 but by then the railway was no longer operational. Is it still there today? What happened to the train?

Tienie Jonker has a 100 Meter long  5" gauge track at a church somewhere in Potchefstroom where they occasionally run his 5" Simplex for fundraising at the church.  

Plettenberg Bay Miniature Railway Society has a 5" Gauge track that's proximally 400 meters long. According to Ian they run on the last Sunday of each month. Can anyone send me some photos please.

There is a miniature train in Bethlehem at the museum in Muller street. I spoke to mr. Mr Pottie Potgieter in January 2019 who informed me that he has 3 locomotives and the main loco is a 7.25" Diesel. He also has two additional loco's, a 7.25" Kitts  and a 3.25" 16DA with the station named "Nazareth". Train only runs on special occasions like "Erfenisdag" or Die Sonskien fees".  The track is a circular multi gauge track of about 100m.

 There was also a miniature train at Bethlehem dam during the 80's, but I have no further information regarding it?

In Mayfair Johannesburg next to / or near the "Bloudam" someone had a private miniature steamtrain and track on his property during the 60's  and 70's . Can anyone help out with more information about his one?

BEAUFORT-WEST had a Mini train in Voortrekker Park. The loco was narrow gauge Diesel loco and the project was initiated by the local Rotary club when the stone works where the train was in operation closed down in 1980. The loco, co-co pans and track was donated to the Beaufort West municipality by the SA transport services to be used as a mini railway in Beaufort West. The restoration of the loco and the modification of the co-co pans into passenger wagons was done by the local municipality with the aid of railway expertise. The mini railway was operational on Friday afternoons and Saturdays during 1998 and the station was called Lammertjiesleegte. Council member Daantjie Gildenhuys was the driver with Johnny Reitz the flags man. The cost of a ride was one rand. Can anyone provide me with more information. I do not know why or when the mini railway stopped working or what the gauge was.

Can anyone provide more information about the mini train running through the grounds of Canal walk shopping centre In Capetown. I think it could be linked to the Ratanga junction's miniature railway.

This 9 1/2" private mini Railway (as per this video link below)  in Abery Road Kloof with its SAR 15F 4-8-2 locomotive was acquired by Mr Mike Harburn from Mr. Greef  who used it in Scottsburg and later Muizenberg. The Loco was later sent to the UK.   ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdOvOipBTtM ) Rose Sivright the daughter of Mr Harburn was planning on setting up a mini railway at Glengarry Holiday Farm in the Kamberg, KZN Drakensberg using some of Mr Harburns old locos, I dont know if it was ever done as I can find no further information about it.      

According to the Burger Newspaper of 28 September 1993 the “Tsitsikamma Bosfees” was held at the BOSKOR recreation centre resort situated 10 Km West of the Storms River bridge next to the N2. One of the entertainment activities mentioned for children was a MINIATURE TRAIN. I have no other information about this miniature train. Does anyone have more information about this resort and can someone confirm if there was a miniature train.

a Miniature Railway, Lions River Railway, opened at Piggly Wiggly Midlands Meander in Dargle Road / R 103 Lions River Howick. According to Andries they use a 1/3 scale Lawley Steam loco on 200 meters of 7 1/4" gauge track.  The oval loop is about 165 meters with a branch to the "steambay". I was there in midweek and the train was not operating and all covered up. For more info see their Facebook page    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.752311801489404.1073741828.752297724824145&type=1

Winelands Light Railway in Stellenbosch was recently completed. It appears as if they have several locos. I have no further information on the types of Locos, gauge or track length. 

 If you know of any other mini trains or mini Railways not mentioned here, or any of the facts to be incorrect, please let us know. Please e-mail any other information and photos about mini trains to the e-mail address below.


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