Thursday, July 29, 2010

restored tourist attraction steam locomotive was heavily damaged by derailing and falling on it's side because thieves removed the railroad ties

The locomotive – which dedicated volunteers spent many years restoring to working order – was substantially damaged.

The railroad ties are wood planks about 8 inches tall by 12 inches wide and “tie” the rails to the trackbed. Without sleepers, the rails would spread and topple under the weight of a train – which is what happened (interesting to me for the breadth of information about the variety of railroad ties: and for an intriguing photo and information about railroad ties being baked in creosote )

The stolen ties were made from hard Australian yarra wood, and are highly prized for making furniture – and sometimes for firewood – and in recent years, railway lines all over South Africa have been targeted by sleeper thieves. Some lines have lost so many sleepers that they have been closed since the cost of replacement has been deemed uneconomic.

Yesterday’s derailment happened on a line that sees many tourist trains during the year. The thieves don’t really care about the consequences, either for innocent passengers or for tourism as a whole. The cost of repairing the locomotive will be a heavy burden for the club which receives no funding other than what it earns from running tourist trains. The cost of repairing the damaged track will run into many thousands of rand – and Transnet is not keen to spend money looking after lines that are not part of its core network.
via which is NSFW (not safe for work)


  1. what a bunch of assholes why would you steal railroad ties

    1. I have that answer in the article. Australian Yarra trees were used to make the ties, and that wood is also prized for furniture making, and firewood. Like Maple for example.