update (24 August 2016):
The Knysna-Plett Herald
wrote on 11 Aug 2016 (online edition) that teams of people (are) clearing the railway line between the Knysna station and Keytersnek
and that a team of engineers have been in Knysna this week (wk 32) to inspect the bridges over the Knysna estuary
! Fantastic news!
According to various news reports, Classic Rail Garden Route
, a private initiative to preserve classic rail in South Africa's Garden Route
and Klein Karoo
, has received the green light from Transnet Freight Rail (TFR)
to start restoring the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe
train service between George
. In the first phase, the track line between Knysna
, near the Rheenendal turnoff on the N2, will get repaired and four dining carriages and two freight cars, which will be converted to open viewing carriages, will get restored. It is expected that the Knysna Dinner Train
, one of the Classic Rail Garden Route's
first projects, will be running between Knysna
by December 2016.
Once the first phase of the development is up and running, work on the second and the third phase will begin. These will include the reopening of the track line all the way from Knysna
for the New Outeniqua Choo Tjoe
, as well as for other tourist trains and, ultimately, freight trains by 2020. The George
railway line has been out of commission since 2006, when flood damage forced the closure of the popular Outeniqua Choo Tjoe
steam train between Knysna
. We'll keep you posted!