Enjoy a relaxed steam hauled trip through the stunning vineyards and open veld of the Breede River and Langeberg Valley, both forming the Cape Central Valley.
New Cape Central Railways
Launching 16 September 2023
A motley crew stood on the platform outside the once glorious station building in Robertson, gazing across the tracks to where the steam train was gently hissing and smouldering. Everyone had a special reason for being there on this auspicious day, and while they all knew there could be hiccups or technical issues, the excitement outweighed any anxiety…
The group included winemakers, engineers, interior designers and investors who had all been part of this adventure. Today was – not quite the culmination of – but certainly a significant step on the way to the final magical vision of a steam train tour through the stunning vineyards of Robertson, Bonnievale, Ashton and Worcester.
Some of us ancient ones felt a surge of nostalgia as we heard the steam pressure hiss and the whistle shriek, reminding us of our innocent childhood days. (I was a British kid in the 50’s who travelled alone for five hours every summer to see Nana, ‘in the charge of the guard’ and others had their own tales of boarding school trips from their northern farms)
For many of the youngsters, it was their first time on a train… and their excitement was palpable.
Trains run every Saturday with two trips per day at 08h00 and at 13h00.
Departures: Robertson Railway Station
R550 per person aged 12 and older
R300 per person aged 3 to 12 years old.
Children under 3 travelling with a parent are free
The train’s exterior was plain and unassuming – there are plans to spruce it up, but for now the only sign of something special inside was the logos of the wines on the carriages – Robertson Winery, Bonnievale Wines and other guest wineries hosted by La Verne.
Once on-board, passengers were free to wander between carriages, sampling the different wines, chatting to fellow travellers, and enjoying the delicious platters available from the deli-carriage, prepared by on this occasion by Kokkedoor contestant Bertus Fourie (Asador).
The wines were something – and the views were something else! Glorious carpets of vibrant wildflowers rolled out in spectacular fashion, with citrus orchards adding even more depth of colour. Every now and then, wild animals such as kudu and duiker could be glimpsed. Gentle rural scenes of farm cottages unfolded, children excitedly waving at the train: a photographer’s dream – especially with the ever present breathtaking backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains.
One can only imagine the seasonal differences to be revealed – the vineyards first blossoming in spring, the lush vines of summer and the red-gold post-harvest farms – snow on the mountains in winter and waterfalls in the rainy season– every time one takes the train there will be a different experience to revel in.
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