Simon’s Town route reintroduced by Ceres Rail Company

The ex-South African Railways Class 19D steam locomotive #3322 named Clare. Peter Rogers

The ex-South African Railways Class 19D steam locomotive #3322 named Clare. Peter Rogers

Published Mar 24, 2024


Cape Town - One of the most scenic rail routes in the Western Cape has returned to service after an almost six-year absence.

Ceres Rail Company reintroduced its Simon’s Town route on Human’s Rights Day, where close to 300 passengers boarded the ex-South African Railways Class 19D steam locomotive #3322, named Clare.

The train, which departed from the Harbour Bridge Platform in Foreshore, Cape Town, goes to Bellville, down to Observatory, and then follows the Southern Line route until Simon’s Town.

Once arriving in the seaside town, passengers have enough time to explore Simon’s Town before the train heads back to the Harbour Bridge Platform. The railway adventure is about three hours long.

Ceres Rail Company GM, Rick Botha, said they were pleased to have the Simon’s Town service running.

“The amazing assistance we received from Metrorail and their departments was pivotal to the success of the trip. This would have also not been possible without the founders of Atlantic Rail.

“We were blown away by the support we received on social media as well as alongside the tracks. It was great to bring back this iconic Cape Town tourism offering,” he said.

Botha said the most beautiful part of the route was the coastal meander between Muizenberg and Simon’s Town, where the majority of the trip was within metres of the sea.

“The route allows passengers to sit back and engage with those around them and take in the sights. We expect to run this route multiple times a month,” he said.

One of the major reasons why the service was stopped a few years ago was due to the constant covering of sea-sand on the railway tracks.

“This is still an issue, however, various mitigation methods have been put in place to reduce the impact, and to ensure that sand can be cleared before it becomes a problem,” Botha said.

James Vos, Economic Growth, Mayco member said he is always thrilled to see the private sector investment flourishing in the city.

“It’s a clear indication that our destination marketing and management strategies are paying off.

“Our goal is to attract more visitors to experience our exceptional products and services, leading to the growth of economic opportunities within our community,” he said.

Metrorail spokesperson Zino Mihi added: “We have a good working relationship with Ceres Rail Company and they value us as a stakeholder that has a common interest.”

Weekend Argus