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Luxury Rail Safaris

Power and Glory

Five superb reconditioned steam locomotives are the heart and soul of Rovos Rail and a sight to gladden the heart of any rail enthusiast.

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There's a story behind each one of the Rovos Rail locomotives and their acquisition and restoration. Each one has a distinctive character and charm and all are named after members of owner Rohan Vos's family. The first engine acquired was No 2702 'Bianca', a class 19D locomotive built by Borsig in 1938 and purchased in 1986. No 2701 'Brenda', a class 19D locomotive unexpectedly just one digit away from 'Bianca', was purchased in 1989 from a scrap-metal yard in Volksrust and rebuilt in Witbank.

Rohan Vos had had his eye on No 3360 'Shaun' since he first saw it standing on the scrap line at Witbank, way back in 1986. It was purchased one decade later and restored by Rovos personnel. The oldest engine in the stable is also the smallest, 'Tiffany' No 439, a class 6 locomotive, was one of 40 constructed by Dubbs & Co. in Glasgow, the first of which was delivered in 1893. The Vos family first saw the little engine as it stood on a platform plinth at Winburg Station in the Eastern Free State and it was love on first sight. The engine was purchased in 1987 and returned to the rails.

The latest addition to Rovos Rail is 'Marjorie', a glorious 25 NC locomotive that has been converted from a coal burner to an oil-fired engine. It has just completed an 18-month overhaul, which has brought a gleam to every bit of brass and a glow to the faces of the team of people who have painstakingly restored her to her prime. A highlight of the official opening of the new Capital Park station on the 7th of May 1999 was the christening ceremony performed by Rohan's mother Mrs Marjorie Vos.
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At various times diesel or electric engines from the local railways are hired to head the Pride of Africa. However, in and out of Pretoria, the magnificent Rovos Rail steam locomotives haul the trains, adding excitement and an authentic atmosphere to the journeys.

The Rovos Rail station at Capital Park is gracious and elegant, but the eyes of rail enthusiasts will be drawn to the loco sheds, where a team of dedicated personnel keep the rolling stock in perfect order. Officially opened in 1943, capital Park, with its locomotive sheds and marshalling yard played a vital role in the railway network around Pretoria before falling into disuse. Now the home of Rovos Rail, it will soon have a railway museum in addition to its other comprehensive facilities.


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Last modified: 23 Mar 2015 12:22