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More than R1 million in damage caused by flooding to the Umgeni Steam Railway track

Flood damage to the tracks used by Umgeni Steam Railway. | Supplied

Flood damage to the tracks used by Umgeni Steam Railway. | Supplied

Published May 3, 2022

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Durban - Last month’s heavy rainfall and flooding left a mark on the Old Main Line between Kloof and Inchanga, west of Durban, severely undermining the train tracks and causing hundreds of thousands of rands worth of damage and resulting in the suspension of Umgeni Steam Railway trips for the foreseeable future.

Umgeni Steam Railway chairman Ashley Peter said: “We are so disappointed and frustrated. We were just finding our feet again, recovering financially and regaining momentum after the long Covid lockdown, with great plans for all the April and May holidays, and now we have this extraordinary setback.

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“Parts of the track have been severely undermined and are requiring round the clock extensive (and expensive) rehabilitation. It is a monumental task involving large teams of workers and hundreds of tons of landfill material to rectify,” he said.

Flood damage to the tracks used by Umgeni Steam Railway. | Supplied

Landslides occurred in many places, sinkholes developed and the foundation under the railway line was washed away, leaving the lines hanging in the air.

Various stretches of the track have been damaged. Four sections in particular – two in the vicinity of Inchanga. One 350m to the west and the other about 2kms to the East; another on Botha’s Hill and a fourth near Gillitts, require major interventions. The team started with the one 2kms East of Inchanga, using second-hand railway sleepers to erect a retaining wall and the other by removing slip material in the Everton road cutting.

“And of course, we look to the public to support our glorious trains once they are up and running again, so we can replenish our coffers and continue to provide the fabulous attraction which is the Umgeni Steam Railway!” Peter said.

Members of the public wanting to help can support the project financially: rehabilitation will cost in excess of R1 million – a crippling amount for Umgeni Steam Railway to come up with.

Flood damage to the tracks used by Umgeni Steam Railway. | Supplied

The Umgeni Steam Railway is looking for additional landfill material, sand, rock and clean builders’ rubble. If anyone can help – they are welcome to dump landfill material at Inchanga Station off Thousand Hills Road / MR485 Rd opposite D732.

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The Umgeni Steam Railway volunteers would also really welcome the use of a TLB, Bobcat or similar on select days to help with the process.

The railway is a non-profit company run entirely by volunteers who maintain and operate the trains, the tracks, museum, library and archives. The organisation is dedicated to preserving the heritage of railways in South Africa. Umgeni Steam Railway is actively looking for new members.

For donations for the use of earthmoving equipment such as a TLB, and fill material please email [email protected] or send them a message on their social media pages.

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For monetary donations:

1. EFT

Umgeni Steam Railway

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Bank: Nedbank

Branch Code: 130126 (Musgrave)

Account Number: 130 125 9314

Swift: NEDSZAJJ

Reference: Flood

2. Credit Card

www.umgenisteamrailway.com/RSSA/membership.aspx - select donation option

3. Zapper

www.zapper.com/url/fr6xVN_dHl

4. PayPal

www.gogetfunding.com/umgeni-steam-railway-surviving-the-flood/

To view more of our campaign & pictures please visit www.gogetfunding.com/umgeni-steam-railway-surviving-the-flood/

For updates and info on the track rehabilitation, please visit Umgeni Steam Railway on FB or visit www.umgenisteamrailway.com

If you can offer support – please contact Marc Bouchier on 083 252 2912.

The Umgeni Steam Railway is a proud member of and supported by, 1 000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation.

Meanwhile, recently, the KwaZulu-Natal government announced that the preliminary estimation of total costs for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa was R2 643 549 000.

The cost estimate for the resumption of service is R955 499 000 and long-term rehabilitation work is R1 688 100 000.

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