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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railroad_tie and for an intriguing photo and information about railroad ties being baked in creosote http://www.shorpy.com/node/7900?size=_original )
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 http://tukkers.blogspot.com/ which is NSFW (not safe for work)