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Class 25 at Bloemfontein

Class 25 at Bloemfontein 1975

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Last Rites on the Veld

This was filmed mainly in and around Bloemfontein, a major hub of the railway network in the Orange Free State Province of South Africa, in the winter of 1975. Main line operations feature South African Railways (SAR) 15Fclass 4-8-2, 23 class 4-8-2 and 25/25NC class 4-8-4 locomotives, mainly built by North British (Glasgow), Henschel (Kassel) and Beyer Peacock (Manchester). Secondary lines feature 19D class 4-8-2 locomotives, mainly built by Krupp (Essen) and Borsig (Berlin).

The first part of the film intersperses views of train movements in Bloemfontein Station at day-break with views of routine maintenance work in Springs locomotive depot, in the neighbouring province of Transvaal. We see motion being steam-cleaned and boilers being washed out.

This is followed by 19D class locomotives working on the Barkly East-Aliwal North branch south of Bloemfontein in Eastern Cape Province, which was famous for its reversing loops that required trains to reverse eight times in traversing the hilly sections of line through the Drakensburg Mountains.

The film then shows the above classes of locomotive being prepared for work in Bloemfontein depot, where about 100 locomotives were allocated.

We move on to Vetrivier, midway along the northbound line from Bloemfontein to Kroonstad, where a freight train departs doubleheaded by 15F class locomotives. The film shows other trains hauled by 15F and 23 class locomotives between Bloemfontein and Vetrivier, and 25/25NC class locomotives near Kloofein on the westbound line from Bloemfontein to Kimberley.

Then we see servicing of 15F and 23 class locomotives at Vetrivier, where the constant stream of trains requires continual shovelling of ash out of the pits built into the track, while the locomotives take water.

Finally we see more action at Bloemfontein and Whites stations and along the line towards Kroonstad, mainly trains hauled by 15F and 23 class locomotives.

Last Rites on the Veld Date of Film: 2000 24 Minutes

Places and Dates of Identifiable Locomotives:

No further information available

Class 15F across the Veld

Class 15F crossing the Veld from Kroonstad to Bloemfontein 1975

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