South Africa

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- International' started by MadHatter, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    I had good experiences with die Deutsch Bahn.

    Here's a picture of such an experience. It is December 2005...and that just so happens to be my train. We had to grab our bags...sprint down the stairs...under the tracks...and onto the train barely closing the door before the train rolled out of the station.

    I thought Germany was the other way...so my French hosts...Jean-Paul & Luc...shocked me when they said: "Oh no! That's your train! We have to run!"

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  2. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Where was the picture taken? Looks to be a "D" Zug (local).
  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    St. Avold, France...Lorraine just a few miles from Germany. It was the Metz-Manheim train.
  4. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Hi Bob

    The reason is because on the mainline there is barely four trains a day either way!

    Alas, what used to be known as the "Steel Kyalami" (Kyalami is a Motor racing track in Gauteng), has become just about deserted. They only use one of the two mainlines and somtimes use the second line as a passing siding for the coal trains which are 200 wagons long.

    The Ministry of Transport is trying to put traffic back on the rails but Spoornet... um, Transnet Freight Rail... shows no interest in small customers so whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.

    Love the pic of the DB train btw. I've never been overseas, only across the border to Namibia (ex. German Southwest Africa) and their trains are exactly the same.

    On my list of must sees:
    The BigBoy and Challenger
    The Flying Scotsman and Mallard
    Eurostar, TGV, Amtrak (Including their Acela trains), Shinkansen.

    But want to see the American stuff purely for size, as, for me, the models and pictures just don't cut it.
  5. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    NKP174:

    Isn't the Colorado track only 3 feet apart?
  6. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Mad Hatter, you can come here anytime and see a Big Boy and a Centennial too if that interests you at all. There are several railroad museums here in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area and you can see lots of really neat railroad related stuff.
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Actually, there is only around 100 miles of the 3' gauge left. The real railroads are all 56.5" gauge now like the rest of the country. The last service on the narrow gauge circle was closed down in 1967 (or maybe 68). Long before then, the most profitable lines had already been converted to 56.5" gauge. Here's a cool website for some of the roads...The Narrow Gauge Circle - A Chronical of Colorado's Narrow Gauge Railroad's

    The best excursions to ride in the US are either the Durango & Silverton or the Cumbras & Toltec. Both were part of the Rio Grande's 3' gauge system. The East Broad Top in Pennsylvania is the most interesting time capsule...with the entire 28 mile railroad intact...with all of the engines, cars, and buildings (aside from a few hopper cars and one 0-6-0 which was sold 30 yrs ago). The East Broad Top isn't too far from Strasbourg and Steamtown (which has a big boy). You're also in the vicinity of Acela if your in eastern PA.

    I totally recommend a trip to the NRM in York. That is definitely the best railroad museum I've seen (I haven't been to Sacramento yet...but I've heard that they are comparable...just NRM is larger). Here are a couple pics from there...

    While I'm to the right of the Mallard...do you see what is to the left? :twisted:

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  8. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Hi Bob: Thanks for the reply, I forgot to put on the list a UP Centennial, I used to have an old Bachmann model, which I swopped for some SAR items- even the model was massive!

    Hi NKP174: I see there is the Shinkansen, how long ago did you take that photo as a matter of interest, because I heard that that Power Car had arrived there just recently? Whats the news on Flying Scotsman, I see the chassis in your second shot. Thanks for all the info.

    Guys, when I get the cash I'll let you know that I'm flying over, it will be nice to meet some of the Gauge Members on the other side of the Atlantic.

    P.S.- It is strange to think that some of our 3'6'' locos are taller than the British trains.
  9. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Pics

    I thought it was about time I started putting up more pics. sign1

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  10. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Some More Pics

    And some more:

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  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Sorry about the small pics, I'm trying to find out how to make them bigger but be able to be uploaded.
  12. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    Mad Hatter. Which Roodepoort do you live in, the one near Jo Burg, the one in North West, SA or the one in the Free State. I'm assuming the first one as it seems to be the only one with a railroad nearby! I spent some time in Poitchestroom when I was there in 2001, but that would be the closest I've been to you.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    I was in England this past March. The museum had opened a very nice expansion which included the shop where the Green Arrow and Flying Scotsman were since my last trip 10 years ago. I was far more knowledgeable of British trains this trip than my last...my dad and I were hooked from our first trip.
    I don't know fully what the story is on the Flying Scotsman currently...I could have told you around a year ago...but I don't remember now. It is in for a major overhaul. The boiler was MIA. The 1st tender, the lead truck (bogie in British English), and the rear axle are one track over in the shop. The drivers were in a different part of the museum...visible from the annex near the Stirling. I'd guess that the boiler is up at Darlington or something. We passed through Darlington on the modern Flying Scotsman (the GNER London-Edinburgh 125mph train) upon leaving York.
    The British trains are definitely small by comparison to American trains. The Evening Star...a 2-10-0 built in 1960 has less than half the tractive effort of a Pensy I-1 2-10-0. My OO scale GWR 0-6-0 is noticeably smaller than my HO scale Spectrum 2-8-0. HO scale is 15% smaller than OO scale. Regardless...their trains are pretty cool.
    MadHatter, you'll have a wonderful time when you come over. I sort of feel like South African railroads remind me more of US & Canadian railroads more than British railroads. I think you'll enjoy your visit quite a bit. The scenery in your pics of South Africa can only...in my opinion...be rivaled by the Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountains. They are great. Please post some more!
    Here's a little US steam eye candy for you...I think the 4-12-2s are far cooler than the Challengers & Big Boys...

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  14. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

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    Hi Bob: I stay in Roodepoort on the West Rand. Johannesburg, Gauteng. I've travelled almost every year on the Trans Karoo and must say that Potchefstroom station is quite a quaint looking building.

    Hi NKP 174: I'm sure I will enjoy my stay on that side. I somewhat agree with you about the large mallets, it can be a bit cliche to want to see them. Btw, that is a great pic of that loco!!! Looks so BULKY!!

    We have locos (Steam) from America, Canada, Germany and Britain also some locally made. We also improved our own locos.

    Thanks guys for the interest and the super cool pics!!
  15. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    NKP 174:

    I think your 4-12-2 is the direct ancestor of the 4-6-6-4 Challenger. I read an article a while back that said the UPRR was looking for an engine of that size with more traction, so what they basically did was split the drivers from the 4-12-2 to the 4-6-6-4 configuration. Tey changed the trail wheels to 4 from to to accommodatea larger fire box.

    One of my very favorites though is the FEF 3 4-8-4 Northern. It is one of two steamers that UPRR still runs, the other being the Challenger 3985. I have seen them both and they are awesome:thumb:
  16. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Interesting. I wouldn't have guest that South African steam locomotives would have come from anywhere other than Britain and South Africa. It is cool how South Africa made an effort to get far more out of steam engines than so many countries did before retiring them. Gary Bensmen is one of a handful of americans whom works on steam locomotives full time as a contractor/specialist (Scott Lindsey is the only other that I can think of)...and Gary feels that he could more than double the horsepower of a NYC Mohawk...a particular railroad's 4-8-2s...with just some relatively small improvements. The Red Devil really gives credence to his estimations.

    I plan to visit South Africa at some point...to ride the trains! I'm a grad student, and my adviser has contacts in South Africa to hook me up for a post-doc...but I'm probably going to go to Switzerland, Holland, or Denmark.

    EDIT: Bob, you're correct. It was the predecessor. The key is that the 9000 was a pre-Lima A-1 design of the drag freight era...engines which could use more steam than their boilers could produce...while the 4-6-6-4s incorporated the advantages of the A-1 which made the larger firebox possible (what allowed a 4-wheel truck to actually work). The 4-6-6-4s allowed the engines to move more freight over the line at a lower cost...faster. Interestingly, the biggest advantage to the 4-wheel truck is that it improves the fuel efficiency of a locomotive per mile. The other huge advantage of the 4-6-6-4 was that of shortening the rigid wheel base. I've seen the MLW 261 slip like crazy...almost unable to move itself...around a wye in WV which the 765 has never had any trouble with...and I've heard the same of the 611...largely in part due to their wheel bases and the fact that the 765 has a lateral motion device.

    I've seen the Challenger run...I can't remember...but I think that I've also seen the 844. I don't mind the red Mars lights...much better than white...and Elephant ears look cool on passenger engines...my beloved NKP 4-6-4s had them from 1946 onwards. While I generally have a very strong preference for eastern steam...the UP power does look nice. I'm glad that the UP still operates the 3985 as it is really unfeasible for anyone other than a class 1 railroad to operate anything larger than a medium sized 4-8-4.
  17. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    NKP;

    How are you planning to pay for your post doc studies? Ever heard of a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship? May students I have worked with compare them to a Rhodes (speaking of South Africa!) Scholarship. Generally the scholarship is worth up to about $25,000 a year.
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Interesting. I hadn't really looking into so far...but they're usually funded by the institution that you work with in my field...environmental engineering. I'm supposed to finish up in 12-18 months...so it's going to be a huge issue soon.

    Thank you for sharing about the Rotary's scholarships. That sounds interesting. I'll be looking into that.
  19. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    NKP

    Look at Rotary International and then look for Ambassadorial Scholarships. If after you look you think you are still interested please let me know. You need to have a Rotary club sponsor you and since the scholarships are competitive you would have to make yourself available for an interview, but for $25,000 or so that would seems to be well worth it. I should also say that the place you attend for the year is your choice, but it must be outside the USA. If the best institution in the world in your discipline is in England, Australia, South Africa or where ever, if you can get accepted you are eligible to compete for the scholarship.
  20. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

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    I need to be more specific. Go to Rotary International, click on The Rotary Foundation and then on the left hand side of that page click on Educational Programs. I see you are listed as being from Cincinnati. I am sure I can find you a club to sponsor you if you are interested.