- Category: Frequently-asked questions (FAQs)
Where does the train depart from?
We depart from our own private Hermanstad station in Michaelson St, Hermanstad, Pretoria. Directions are available on this website. Unless otherwise advised, we do NOT depart from Pretoria station, Rovos Rail or anywhere else. Bus transport for groups from Pretoria City, Johannesburg and other locations can be arranged on request.
Do we go to Magaliesburg?
No, our primary destinations are Rayton and Cullinan. We also do an around-Pretoria trip called the Tshwane (Jacaranda) Xplorer. Magaliesburg is served by a companion club, Reefsteamers, who depart from Johannesburg.
Where do we park and is it safe?
We provide free on-site parking at our station premises. The station area is fenced and gated. We have car-guards on duty too.
May we bring a picnic basket and cooler box?
Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks, but be aware that space on-board is at a premium so please limit their sizes so that other passengers are not inconvenienced. Very large cooler boxes block the aisle and are anti-social. We do have a refreshment kiosk on board the train, too. Your baskets and cooler boxes may be safely left on the train at the destination.
Can we sit where we like?
Regretably not. For the comfort of our other passengers and to ensure that larger groups can sit together, we allocate seating. Please check in at the reception desk on arrival at Hermanstad and before boarding the train. If you have any special seating requirements, please arrange with our marketing team in advance. To adequate provide time to check in and locate your seats, please aim to be at the departure point at least 30 minutes before the advertised departure time. We run to a strict schedule and cannot wait for late or lost passengers.
Do we have wheelchair and disabled person facilities?
The coaches were not originally designed for disabled people. We do welcome disabled passengers and we have created space on board the train for a few wheelchair passengers. The platform at Hermanstad is nearly level with the train, so boarding is not too difficult. Unfortunately at Cullinan we have to download the passenger by hand because the platform is very low level. The toilets on board are very small and are not wheelchair accesible nor disabled-friendly, so please bear that in mind when booking and before boarding the train. Please consult with and advise our marketing people about the needs of any disabled passengers when making a booking. We do request that disabled passengers are accompanied on board by a person or persons able to assisit them.
Is there anywhere on the train where we can smoke?
Unfortunately, not. Government regulations totally prohibit smoking on public transport and we are required to abide by them at all times. This restriction is also in place for the comfort of fellow passengers and to minimise any fire-risk. So, we regret that we cannot provide smoking facilities on the train. Standing between the coaches is dangerous, not to mention inconvenient for passing passsengers. We cannot permit you to stand and smoke there.
May we visit and climb aboard the locomotive?
Yes, you are welcome aboard the loco whilst we are stationary at Hermanstad, before and after the journey, and at Cullinan during the stand-over period. Please first ask the driver or fireman for permission. They will be happy to oblige when it is safe to do so. No one except authorised train crew may ride on the locomotive at any time it is in motion. You may take pictures at any time, but please be aware of your safety at all times. Standing on the tracks or too close to the loco is dangerous when the loco is in motion.
What coaches do we use?
Most of our coaching stock comprises wooden-bodied ex-SAR suburban sitter stock built in 1949 and 1950. We usually marshall an open "lounge" coach which sells refreshments, tea and coffee into the middle of our train-set. You can book any of our coaches for your party's exclusive use -- rates are available from our marketing team. We have a main-line compartment sleeper coach and a luxury private coach which are also available for private hire.
Do we go to other destinations like Bela Bela or do overnight trips?
Unfortunately steam locos are not permitted to use Transnet's core and main lines. This severely limits our ability to go to many destinations like Bela Bela and to do longer overnight trips. Such trips are still possible, but only behind hired diesel or electric traction, which is prohbitively expensive at present. For affordable overnight trips we recommend you contact JB Train Tours.
Can we do a one-way trip?
Yes, you can at 70% of the round-trip fare. Please arrange this in advance with FOTR's marketing team.
Can we stay overnight?
Towards the end of the year when we have trains scheduled to run on consecutive days, you can certainly stay overnight in Cullinan, returning on a later train.
I am an events organiser, can I charter the train?
Yes you can. We can arrange private steam train charters suitable for tour groups, private parties, charity functions, weddings, product launches and cororate incentive trips. Please contact our marketing team to find out more.
Are children allowed? How safe is the trip?
Yes, we encourage the whole family to come along, including children of all ages from 0 to 100! Our trains only carry booked FOTR passengers and the doors are locked when we depart. All our trains carry volunteer staff: a Guard, a Train Manager and several Coach Controllers to look after passenger comfort and safety. Our locos and rolling stock are inspected, checked and serviced to a schedule approved by Transnet Freight Rail and the Rail Safety Regulator. Our volunteer staff are fully trained and qualified to the same high standards that are implemented by all rail operators, including Transnet Freight Rail and Metrorail.