Tag Archives: railway

Stop, wait for Shunter?

Stop, wait for Shunter
If you look closely at the sign you'll notice that it's been rewritten. I wonder what the previous sign said. "Wait for Peter"?

Seriously though, a Shunter is the person responsible for switching the tracks onto which approaching trains will be guided. The process is called "shunting", hence the title Shunter.

I'm sure you can imagine that it really is a good idea to wait for the Shunter to finish shunting. :)

Through the fence

Through the fence
I some times wish that Cape Town had an underground metro. Wouldn't it be great to catch the underground from the city center to Sea Point, then across the Waterfront and back to your apartment in Gardens?

Thinking about the large amount of granite that we'd have to excavate and the huge amounts of ground water that we'd have to contend with I guess it would cost far too much money to build one, and our best bet would be a monorail (like one that we traveled on in Sydney).

Cargo coaches

Cargo coaches
I did say in my previous post that diesel trains pull many (many) coaches. Although the train whizzed past I swear that I'd have had enough time to finish a tall cup of coffee while it passed by.

According to southafrica.co.za, 87% of freight is transported by road whereas the remainder is the small percentage transported by rail. The interesting thing is that rail transport is apparently between 30% and 50% cheaper than transport by road!

I wonder why more people don't make use of rail transport. Could it be because not enough of the country is covered by heavy-duty railway lines, or could it be because of logistical problems with freight rail?

Train tracks and barbed wire

Train tracks and barbed wire
What you see here is one of the train stations along our Northern Suburbs rail route.

For several years I'd find myself, early in the morning, taking a 20 minute walk to the station followed by a short (or sometimes long) wait on the platform and then the most monotonous 45 minute 25 kilometer ride to Cape Town station, with nothing more to look forward to than a 15 minute walk up to Cape Technikon and a day's worth of tinkering with computers and sitting in the most boring accounting and statistics lectures. To crown this all, once I completed my studies this continued as I started working for company in the Cape Town city center!

It's all worked out pretty well though - I now don't have to wake up too early and work only 10 minutes away from home. I sure do have it good! :)