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More than R1m flood damage forces Durban's famous steam train to a halt

03 May 2022 - 12:50
Umgeni Steam Railway has been forced to stop running its steam train after the recent floods caused extensive damage to its route.
Umgeni Steam Railway has been forced to stop running its steam train after the recent floods caused extensive damage to its route.
Image: Supplied

Durban's famous Umgeni Steam Railway has been forced to suspend its operations after the recent floods caused extensive damage and undermined the tracks.

The non-profit company, run by volunteers, has been forced to start a crowdfunding campaign to cover more than R1m in costs.

“The vicious flooding of recent weeks has left its mark on the Old Main Line between Kloof and Inchanga, severely undermining the train tracks and causing hundreds of thousands of rand worth of damage” said Ashley Peter, Umgeni Steam Railway chairperson.

“We are so disappointed and frustrated. We were just finding our feet again, recovering financially and regaining momentum after the long Covid-19 lockdown, with great plans for all the April and May holidays, and now we have this extraordinary setback.

“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 tonnes of landfill material to rectify,” he said.

There are several spots along the route where landslides occurred, sinkholes developed and the foundation under the railway line washed away, leaving some of the tracks hanging in the air.

There are various stretches of the line that have been damaged, four sections in particular — two in the vicinity of Inchanga.

“Rehabilitation will cost in excess of R1m — a crippling amount for Umgeni Steam Railway to come up with.

For donations to assist with earth moving equipment such as a TLB and fill material, email donations@umgenisteamrailway.com or send them a message on their social media pages.

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