Inchanga Station: Sunday 10 July.
All aboard…. Umgeni Steam Railway, which has been devastated by the April floods, is hosting its second Fund Raising Open Day Festival offering “Steam Train Shorties” – mini steam train trips, a fabulous craft and food market and lots of train-themed attractions on Sunday 10 July 2022 at Inchanga Station.
The first event in June was so successful that a second Open Day is planned for Sunday July 10.Almost 2000 people hopped on the train to enjoy the “shorty” trips (mini steam train trips).
“We were so excited by the turn out! It was quite extraordinary!” says Marc Bouchier of Umgeni Steam Railway. “Such was the demand for tickets for the shorty rides, that we added two carriages on the train to accommodate all the passengers.”
Wesley, the refurbished vintage steam loco, will be doing regular “shorty” trips hourly from 9am until 2pm. Tickets are R50 and can be purchased on site.
The Inchanga Craft Market will once more be in full swing with dozen of stalls offering family-friendly locally-sourced fare: Father’s Day gift ideas; great coffee; bespoke wooden toys and décor; homemade delicacies; plants; books; honey; dolls clothes, toys and games; funky T shirts; collectables; bath-time treats; knitted goods; arts and crafts; jewellery, accessories and clothing. Shop to a great sound track, as there will be a DJ playing. The market will operate from 8am until 3pm.
The Inchanga Railway Museum will be open for tours; as will the model railway, Thomas & Friends, be operational in the Modeller’s hut. Tours will be offered through the shed to see the 110 year old Steam locomotive, Maureen, under repairs as well as tour the vintage coaches.
There is also a tea garden offering a range of light meals and snacks, a play area and picnic site.
“The public can’t wait to hop on the trains again. It is very exciting. We have had so many messages of support and encouragement, that we are eager to get back on track again,” enthuses Marc Bouchier of Umgeni Steam Railway. “We were so disappointed and frustrated. We were just finding our feet again, recovering financially and regaining momentum after the long Covid lockdown, with great plans for all recent holidays. The flood damage was an extraordinary set-back.”
The vicious flooding left its mark on the Old Main Line between Kloof and Inchanga, severely undermining the train tracks and causing millions of Rands worth of damage – suspending the usual Umgeni Steam Railway trips for the foreseeable future.
“Parts of the track have been severely undermined and are requiring round the clock extensive (and expensive) rehabilitation. It is a monumental task involving large teams of workers and hundreds of tons of landfill material to rectify,” said Bouchier.
“Supporting our shortie trips will be hugely helpful in us being able to fund the rest of the track refurbishments, which we want to complete as soon as funds allows, ” continues Bouchier.
“And of course, we look to the public to support our glorious trains once they are up and running again, so we can replenish our coffers and continue to provide the fabulous attraction which is the Umgeni Steam Railway!” concludes Bouchier.
The Umgeni Steam Railway is a non-profit company run entirely by volunteers who maintain and operate the trains, the tracks, museum, library and archives. The organisation is dedicated to preserving the heritage of railways in South Africa. Umgeni Steam Railway is actively looking for new members. Please contact them for more information.
Good to Know:
Inchanga Station is at 1 Station Road.
Safe parking on site.
Entry is ticketed – R50 per child / adult / OAP for one steam train ride.
Tickets available at Inchanga Station – no pre-booking required.
Trains depart Inchanga Station at 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 & 14:00
Footplate experience – R300pp per trip on board Wesley, the Steam Engine (Booking required 12 spaces available for the day & T’s & C’s apply +16 years old)
Please buy a raffle ticket
Please note that there are no ATM’s on site, nor card facilities. Cash or Zapper accepted.
Visit USR website at www.umgenisteamrailway.com
Enquiries: 082 353 6003
Pse consider making a donation towards the track refurbishment: https://www.facebook.com/195092653987179/posts/2156826351147123/
R2 million is needed to complete refurbishment to the flood damaged railway line.
The Umgeni Steam Railway is a proud member of 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation.