Tjoekepaf, here comes the Apple Express

A busy schedule, working till just before Christmas and all kinds of other excuses led to us only being able to go on the Apple Express on the last weekend it was running in January.  And it seems I placed the photos in a folder to edit and totally forgot to do so.  After nearly 8 years of inactivity, the first fase of the Apple Express' comeback took place in December with a partnership between the operator, the municipality and Transnet.  The…

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3 minutes by train from Uitenhage to Port Elizabeth

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OIy08BSKNo&w=500&h=400]When last have you been on a train?  It's something most of us don't get to do and I really think it's leaving  gap in our lives.  And to think it's something our parents probably did quite often when they were young.  Alan Straton of MyPE took the train from Uitenhage to Port Elizabeth and condensed the 45 minute trip in 3 minutes.  I loved it when I saw it and just had to share. 

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The unused railway line

The Avontuur Railway, better known as the Apple Express narrow gauge line, was built between 1890 and 1906 to link the fruit growing Langkloof with Port Elizabeth.  The line doesn't just cross the highest narrow gauge railway bridge in the world, but at 285 km is also said to be the longest narrow gauge line in the world.  So sad to see it not being used and falling further and further into disrepair.

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Last Beetle off the Uitenhage line

The last South African-made Volkswagen Beetle came off the production line on 18 January 1979 and went straight into the Volkswagen museum which later became the VW AutoPavilion.  The metallic bronze Beetle was the last of 288 353 built at Uitenhage plant 1951.  The car only had 200km on the clock when a vehicle carrier overturned on the way back from a show in Cape Town in 2006, destroying nine of the AutoPavilion's most important historic cars, including this one.  It was decided though to…

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I flew in a helicopter

 I'm not a regular flyer.  The first time I got to fly was in a Jac (similar to a Harvard), a flight I would never forget as the pilot did two rolls with this very nervous and acrophobic passenger in the back.  Since then I have become a lot better and over the last seven years got to fly a couple of times a year on passenger planes both around South Africa and internationally.  All that said, I still haven't been up…

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The static Albatross

Every day a number of commercial and private planes take off and land at the Port Elizabeth Airport, but outside the airport there are two planes that just hang around, not going anywhere.  The one is a Piaggio P.166, a twin-engine pusher-type utility aircraft developed by the Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio Aero.  In the South African military the aircraft is known as the Albatross and was used by the South African Air force from 1969 to 1993.

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Bus station art

Everybody who has taken the bus into town and gotten on or off in the downtown bus station would remember how dark and dodgy it used to be.  Since it's been opened up as part of the Strand Street and Route 67 redevelopments things have changed a bit and its a lot more open and lighter.Adding even more colour and cheerfulness to the area is the Route 67 Bus Station Mural by 4BlindMice celebrating public transport and the daily journeys…

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Narrow gauge station remains

On a recent Geocaching outing I got to walk a bit around what is left of the old Humewood narrow gauge station.  Of the actual station and sheds nothing really remains, but there are still a couple of carriages on the line between where the station used to be and Kings Beach.  Makes for interesting photography.  

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Driving on the dunes at Brakkeduine

Boys will be boys and when it comes to boys and their 4x4 toys there is no stopping them.  When the South African government banned driving on beaches both the angling and 4x4 fraternities took a big knock.  The anglers couldn't go as far along the beaches as they used to or had to find overland shortcuts while the 4x4 okes had to stick to mountain trails and off road paths.  There is one place I know of where the boys can test their…

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The Port Elizabeth Railway Station

The Port Elizabeth Railway Station has been around for a while, existing on it's present location since 1875 when the first line was constructed to Uitenhage about 40 kilometres away.  The original building was designed by the town's Resident Engineer for Harbour and Public Works, James Bisset.  In 1893 extensive additions were completed, including the cast-iron supported roof of the main concourse, designed by E.J. Sherwood.  It's a pity that rail travel has declined so much over the last few year…

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