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It was a typical day Wednesday June 29th, the ballast lay undisturbed as the sleepers were sleeping, the last winter leaves clinging for deer life to grey trees, aloes in full bloom... and then it all changed.

The gates opened and by Friday the club grounds were flooded by vehicles with strange number plates, they came from all over. A frenzy of activity broke out as tailgates and trailers were opened spilling out engine after engine into the rapidly overfilling steaming bays. There was no stopping the flood! Soon fires were lit and steam started oozing out of cylinder draincocks. The compressors breathed a sigh of relief as the safety valves started lifting one after the other and steam took control of the engines.

Sylvia, the signal controller, had her hands full as the crowd of locomotives proceeded down to the station and onto the main line. One could stand at the station exit and wait only a few seconds for the next train to depart and come thundering past.

As the day progressed, the skies turned darker, not only from the smoke but the weather turned sour in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, the result... more rain fell those two days than in the entire year put together. But we're South African, so we're tough! Soon however the rain turned the dirt service roads to mush causing the campers to be stranded. Rescue inspiration came from the double heading UVE2 locomotives and it was not uncommon to see a Bakkie double heading a Combi with a caravan behind it!

It was none the less a magnificent weekend, all the hard work preparing it was well worth it. Whenever you're in the neighbourhood don't hesitate to give us a shout, the kettle is always steaming at the Pietermaritzburg Model Engineering Society!

Enough talk, let the pictures do the talking:
 
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The Guys

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Around the turntable

 
 
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Learning from the best

 

 
 

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Rob Steiger with his SAR GEA Garratt in 5"gge

 

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Alf Ogilvie with his Shay in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Steaming Bay

 

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Wessie with his SAR 16DA in 5"gge

 

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David Shaw with his Sweet Pea in 5"gge

 

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Double header ready to depart

 

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Around the Station

 

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In the Station

 

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Passing the green signal

 

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GEA departing

 

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Baldwin Locomotive in 5"gge

 

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Leon Kamfer's American Shay in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Derrick Northgreaves with the Royal Scot in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Charles Wright with his 19D in 3 ¼"gge

 

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Paul Young's magnificent GMAM Garratt in 3 ¼"gge

 

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Making progress every year

 

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Shay Cab view

 

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Makeshift steaming bays for smaller locos

 

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Roy Clemitson and Martin Hampton double heading

 

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Leaving the station

 

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Level Crossing

 

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Sylvia Hedgecock in the signal tower

 

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Don Baker's (far right) Romulus in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Oiling up the Shay

 

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View from the foot bridge

 

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Campsite view

 

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Smoking!

 

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Andries Keyser and David Shaw double heading

 

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Brian Simpson and his SAR outline Britannia in 5"gge

 

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Hugh Wylie with Soapy's Diesel

 

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Leaving the tunnel

 

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Preparing the fires

 

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The Shaws, three generation

 

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SAR 15CA in 5"gge

 

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Derailment, well at least its not.... raining?

 

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Taking on water

 

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15CA on the mainline

 

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Johan Pretorius with his 7 ¼"gge UVE 2

 

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Johan and Hannes double heading

 

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Through the bush

 

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Lance Poynter on the Scot

 

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Soapy Bleach with his Diesel in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Rocco Popich on Holmeside in 7 ¼" gge

 

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Michael Nel and his Simplex in 5"gge

 

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Freelance Mallett in 7 ¼"gge

 

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Brian Joyce with his Baldwin in 5"gge

 

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Hannes leaving Mpushimi

 

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Hannes Paling with his 7 ¼"gge UVE 2

 

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Nearing Mpushining Station

 

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Soapy on the downhill

 

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Rob and Barry Steiger

 

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Les Cock with his Baldwin in 5"gge

 

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Leon's son driving his Shay

 

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Bruce Douglas' Virginia

 

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American locos head to head

 

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Johnny Heath and his wife

 

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Holmside on the steaming bays

 

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SAR 15F in 3 ¼"gge

 

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Charles Polkey's 3" Marshall Traction Engine

 

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Aubrey Prins' SAR 15CA in 5"gge

 

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Shawn Spaan's traction engine Thor

 

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Steaming bay action

 

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Stan Nixon with his Baldwin in 5"gge

 

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David nearing the crossing

 

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Hannes in the cutting