Steam in South Africa A photographic Odyssey by Peter Gray Compiled by Ron White

By Ron White

80 pages / 82 illustrations / Hard cover / 240 X 185 mm dimensions / Landscape format


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Another book on South African steam – haven’t we had enough?  My wife certainly thinks so….although I see it as another reminder of those marvellous trips to an unknown country.  Adjured not to go because of apartheid, those of us who did make the trip did so simply to get our fill of real railways, nothing political entered our heads. Instead we focused on lengthy freights and infrequent passenger and mixed trains. The latter were no longer known in the UK, but  here they continued to serve remote dorps; once a day at best, M/W/Fo at worst. Plus it seemed the sun shone all the time, too much at mid-day when the shadows were solid black and the reflected glare a pain in the lens; consequently we quickly learned to operate from pre-dawn to a late breakfast and again from about mid-afternoon to past sundown returning after to some remote oasis for dinner, drink, bath and bed. The memories, the final shenanigans with empty stock being rattled about by weird combinations of locomotives far from their home sheds; the specials with the give-away refrigerator van tacked on the rear. What fun it had been, what memories these pictures bring back after fifty years. Give thanks to those who did it and who now often posthumously, share their goodies with us.


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