Steam Train Charter

The perfect complement to Sandstone, a classic South African steam operated passenger train on the Bethlehem to Bloemfontein line. After your
time on the 2 foot gauge Sandstone railway, enjoy a journey on the Cape Gauge line with numerous well planned photo opportunities.

The locomotive will be Class 12AR 1535, recently back in service after a four-year long overhaul. No.1535 ‘Susan’ has the triple distinction of
being the last surviving Class 12AR, Reefsteamers’ oldest operating locomotive and the oldest operating main line locomotive in South Africa.  
‘Little Susie’ was originally built as a Class 12A at the North British Locomotive Works way back in 1919.  The class 12’s, from which the Class
12A’s originated, were the first new locomotive class ordered by the then newly-formed SAR.
More on the locomotive here

The train will comprise coaches for the Reefsteamers fleet. There will be sleeper accommodation for 61 passengers, a lounge and dining car.
Accommodation is available in both Silver and Economy Class sleepers. Silver class has en-suite facilities and showers, economy class uses
shared facilities.

To keep the train weight within limits for the locomotive, the full kitchen car will not be in the consist, meals will be wholesome and adequate with
continental style breakfasts, packed lunches and traditional South African evening meals, normally potjiekos or barbecues. Reducing the kitchen
capacity means that we can take along the lounge / bar car, the decision was not too difficult to make.

The Germiston to Bethlehem train

The Reefsteamers train is based at the Germiston steam depot on the outskirts of Johannesburg. In order to position it in Bethlehem for the start
of the steam charter, it will travel from Germiston to Bethlehem behind modern traction. It is possible to book space on the train from Germiston to
Bethlehem, and to remain on board for the steam charter to Bloemfontein.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Make your way to Germiston this afternoon, where you will settle into your cabin and have time to explore the depot before a Braai (Barbecue)
dinner amongst the locomotives. Spend the night on the coaches standing at Germiston.
Dinner and overnight accommodation included.

Thursday, 11 April 2019
Your journey starts this morning, travelling across the highveld to Bethlehem behind diesel electric traction.  There will be occasional stops where
the steam locomotive, in light steam, will be serviced. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served and the bar will be open.
Overnight on the train at Bethlehem. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Friday, 12 April 2019
After an early breakfast, guests visiting the Sandstone family festival will leave the train and travel by coach to the Sandstone estate.

The Bethlehem – Bloemfontein – Bethlehem – Johannesburg Steam Train

Friday, 12 April 2019
Bethlehem to Modderpoort
Leave your hotel early this morning for a coach transfer to Bethlehem. Join our special steam train for your journey to Bloemfontein. Runpasts will
be arranged at locations selected by the photographers who will have assisted you at the Sandstone Festival, these experienced South Africans
have excellent knowledge of the line and will make sure that your photo experience is superb.
Overnight on the train standing in Modderpoort. Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch, light refreshments and bar will be available.

Saturday, 13 April 2019
Modderpoort to Bloemfontein.
Steam from Modderpoort to Bloemfontein this morning with a good selection of run-pasts. This afternoon, we plan to visit the national collection of
locomotives that are stored at Bloemfontein. This impressive collection of steam, diesel and electric traction is located at the old steam depot,
adjacent to the modern traction depots where access is controlled by Transnet.
Overnight on the train standing in Bloemfontein, breakfast and dinner included. Lunch, light refreshments and bar will be available.

Sunday, 14 April 2019
Kimberley visit. Bloemfontein to Modderpoort
This morning, travel by road to Kimberley to visit local preservation group Steamnet 2000. There is an opportunity to have their Class 25NC
number 3437 in steam for a short run and photographic opportunity. This impressive 4-8-4 has an expired boiler certificate that must be renewed
if we are to see it in steam, Geoff's Trains will make a substantial contribution to the cost of re-certification, but we would like to appeal to tour
participants to lend Steamnet2000 a hand as well and so will ask all attending to contribute ZAR 250 (about USD 20) per person towards this
good cause. It will be possible to visit the Big Hole museum (entry not included), but visiting both locations will be difficult in the time available.
Later this morning, return by coach to Bloemfontein in time for an early afternoon train departure.
This afternoon, our train will make the trip from Bloemfontein to Modderpoort. Runpasts will be staged as the train steams into the afternoon light.
Overnight on the train standing at Modderpoort. Breakfast and dinner are included. Lunch, light refreshments and bar will be available.

Monday, 15 April 2019
Modderpoort to Bethlehem
A forth day behind steam as the train makes its way back to Bethlehem through the dramatic Freestate countryside.
Overnight on the train standing in Bethlehem, breakfast and dinner included. Lunch, light refreshments and bar will be available.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Bethlehem to Germiston
Our train and the steam locomotive will be hauled by Transnet fright Rail electric locomotives from Bethlehem to Germiston as steam is not
permitted on core routes. Three or four service stops will be needed, and photos may be possible, depending on the location and according to
the safety rules.
The train will stable for the night in the Reefsteamers depot, offering an opportunity for night photography. Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch,
light refreshments and bar will be available.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Your tour ends after breakfast this morning with an included airport transfer
A tour to Victoria Falls and the Chobe game reserve starts this morning.
Find out more about this exciting option here.
Page updated on
13 December 2018
Prices and conditions

The prices listed here may change at any time due to cost variations or foreign currency adjustments. Tours already booked will be controlled by
the Geoff's Trains Ltd booking conditions.

These prices assume that the access charges raised by Transnet for the use of their lines will be the same as at present with an allowance for
anticipated inflation. Transnet only confirm a tour and their charges shortly before the tour date. If the access charges exceed the anticipated
amount a surcharge may be added to your ticket to cover the increase.

Germiston to Bethlehem charter train:
10 to 12 April 2019

Silver class:
US$  675 :
        Per person sharing
US$  425 :         Single supplement for use of a twin cabin

Economy class:
US$  519 :
        Per person sharing a twin compartmet
US$  259 :         Supplement to leave one berth free in a twin berth compartment.
If you are travelling as a single person, Geoff's Trains may fill any empty berths unless you pay a surcharge for exclusive use of the cabin.

Your package includes:
  • Accommodation on the train for two nights. Dinner, lunch, bed and breakfast.
  • Train travel between the Reefsteamers depot at Germiston and Bethlehem. The steam locomotive and train will be hauled by modern

Your Package does not include:
  • Meals not included in the programme.
  • Transfers to Germiston depot.
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights

Bethlehem to Germiston charter train:
12 to 17 April 2019

Silver class:
US$  2,899:
        Per person sharing
US$  2,587:         Supplement for single use of a twin cabin
Sorry - Silver class is fully booked

Economy class:
US$  2,007:
        Per person sharing
US$  1,695:         Supplement for single use of a two berth compartment.
If you are travelling as a single person, Geoff's Trains may fill any empty berths unless you pay a surcharge for exclusive use of the cabin.
Economy class is still available in two berth compartments. Single use available with a supplement.

Your package includes:
  • Your transfer from hotel to Bethlehem.
  • Accommodation on the train for up to five nights. Dinner, bed and breakfast.
  • Visit to Steamnet 2000 in Kimberley.
  • Visit to the Bloemfontein national locomotive collection.
  • Transfer from Germiston depot to OR Tambo airport.
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Meals not included in the programme.
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights

Train chasing participation
12 to 15 April 2019

Operating multi-day steam charters is expensive, the cost of participation is not cheap and there is considerable financial risk for the organisers.
It is fair that anyone wishing to benefit from the charter should make a contribution - without those riding on the train and the commitment of the
organisers there would be nothing to photograph.

If you prefer to chase the train by private vehicle, we would like to welcome you as a participant for a nominal fee. You will receive an identity card
and information that should help you to get better photographs, including print literature with photo location co-ordinates and access road
information as well as access to a mobile phone message service that will keep you informed about real time train movements. You will also
remain on good terms with the train operators and other tour participants!

Registration for the full four day steam charter is US$ 100 or SA Rand 800 for regional residents, no discount is available for participating on
fewer days.

General information

is included in your booking, with a continental style dining car service.
Lunch is not normally included, a light lunch can be ordered whilst on board..
Dinners are included. Limited kitchen facilities dictate the type of meal served, this may be a braai (barbecue), traditional South African potjiekos
(a hearty stew) or something similar with salads and desert.  
Light refreshments and bar will be available throughout the day on the train.

Train accommodation:
There will be six sleeper coaches on the train. Three silver class coaches offer en-suite twin and single cabins. Three economy coaches offer
shared showers and toilets, with single and twin berth cabins.   

How to book
If you are unsure what you wish to book, complete the registration form and we will discuss options with you.
If you have a question,
ask us here. You are also welcome to phone Geoff on Mobile +44 (0)7752143657. UK office hours please.
If you know what you want to book, complete the on line booking for here.


During this tour, you may
experience laws and standards
that are not be the same as you
are used to at home. An open yet
cautious mind and a flexible
approach can help your enjoyment
of the experience.

By their nature, steam locomotives
and older diesel electric
locomotives are prone to
unexpected failure. Should this
occur, we will ask the service
supplier to substitute the most
appropriate alternative equipment
or service consistent with the
advertised programme.

The railways over which these
tours operate are often single track
with passing loops, possibly with
infrastructure maintained to a
lower standard than in Europe.  
Any delays or cancellations caused
by the failure of such plant and
machinery beyond our direct
control will be dealt with as quickly
as possible. If trains arrive late at
their destinations, local tours may
have to be shortened or cancelled.
No compensation can be offered
for such failure or delay.

Train accommodation

Silver Class offers single and twin
cabins that are en-suite with
shower, basin and toilet.

Economy Class offers single and
four berth cabins. A maximum of
two guests are accommodated in
four berth cabins. Facilities are
shared with one shower per coach.