At 09h30 on Boxing Day Janet and I were at Demeter Station in the little mountain town of Ceres as the beautiful steam engine hauled its four carriages in. There was a large crowd of eager enthusiasts waiting and the train was pretty full by the time we steamed out.
I found us a comfortable seat in one of the lovingly restored old carriages and we settled down for the two and a half hour round trip down to Wolseley.
There is a bar on the train so we were able to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine from the Waverley Hills wine estate which on the train's route. Passengers who wish to can get off at the estate for a picnic and re-board the train on its way back, we decided to stay on board for the whole trip and have lunch later.
This is a relatively new venture, apparently since August last year but it was very enjoyable and definitely something that we will do again sometime. The return half of the trip was fantastic because the engine was working harder pulling the coaches back up the mountain so one could hear the old familiar "Chuff-chuff-chuff" and the shrill steam whistle at the road crossings, evocative stuff. I can remember the steam trains in Rhodesia when I was young, my Father worked for the Rhodesia Railways as a Guard and he took me on occasional weekend trips with him, very fond memories.
I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone in the area looking for a memorable day out, we paid R280 each for the trip and the wine is R30 a glass. Next time we will drive through to Ceres in the morning, take the afternoon trip and stay over one night in a self catering unit and go back home Sunday morning.
Bookings essential via email, check out their website at www.ceresrail.co.za they are also on facebook.