The Extra Mile

Is it safe to travel SA by train?

Sunday Times Travel editor Paul Ash on how to take the train without putting strain on your wallet

09 September 2018 - 00:00

Q. I would like to travel by train around SA, something my family used to do when I was small. It's been a long time since I travelled by train - or railway bus - and I was wondering if it is still possible to travel safely and how much it costs. And, also, can I get a train from here to Namibia? I am a pensioner so I don't have much money to spend. - William Boon
A. The short answer is yes, it is possible to travel by long-distance passenger train in SA, though you will likely discover that the network is not as widespread as it was. The service has shrunk dramatically since its peak in the mid-1980s when there were roughly 400 long-distance trains on the timetable.
Long-distance trains are no longer operated by Transnet but by a separate entity named Shosholoza Meyl, which means "a pleasant experience".
There are just eight trains on the Shosholoza Meyl timetable so it is worth listing them:..

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