(..... but unfortunately without trains now.)
Here are some historical images, courtesy of the photographer ROGER GRIFFITHS, of a train running through Fauresmith way back on 13th October 1976.
In November 1978, Russ Cribb, his dad, and some other steam train enthusiasts, visited Fauresmith with the intention to make some movies of the steam train through the town's main street. This is his recollection:
"Another once in a lifetime experience never to be repeated... a footplate ride through the whole length of Fauresmith in South Africa, on a class 19D. This film has been spliced together from my standard 8 cine and my late fathers super 8 cine film taken in Nov 1978, you can hear the difference on the projector sprockets between the two types. The first train we see was the day before the footplate ride as we see the train disappear around onto the high street. My friend Andrew and myself travelled on the 19D swapping sides along the way, sadly I never seemed to be on the side dad was filming although a slight glimpse at one point I can be seen. The Yellow VW combi keeping the other three members ahead of the train and collected us half a mile out of the other end of town at the track crossing. It wasn’t until later that day I noticed a dusty thumbprint on the standard lens, bit of a gutter when I got the films back from processing a month later! Right at the end is a little motorised Dilly workers unit with two low trucks coming through following the train half an hour behind."
Here is the video spliced together by Russ Cribb, the link here by his kind permission:
Russ Cribb further notes about the video above: "The first shot was the day before the footplate ride, in fact I think it just happened to be there when we arrived before checking in to the hotel. Nothing was planned for special locos so just a film of everyday operations through the town, which I think is really nice. It’s all well and good having the later planned railtours with photo stops and run pasts, but that’s not what it was all about, it was really happening with real freight , passengers and locals milling about in the road. All throughout our films there’s the little yellow VW combi van that keeps on making an appearance, we certainly put it through its paces over some extreme dirt and dried riverbed roads and tracks haha, but it never let us down. 3000 miles we did by road, never got to cape town as ran out of days to get back and do the planned visits. I think it was the two days on the Estcourt Weenen that took out Cape Town, but the opportunity for all of us to have a footplate ride over virtually the whole length of the line was too much of a must do. Billy Bester couldn’t let us be on the footplate departing or arriving at both ends of the line, he would have been in big trouble with the station masters but at the first station or crossing away and out of sight we joined him and his fireman on the footplate."
"I had only had my cine two weeks before we left UK with just enough time to put one roll of film through to make sure it worked ok. The annoying smudge got on the lens of mine as I got on the footplate at Fauresmith and didn’t notice it was there until that night and our next stop, upset at the time but now just so glad I had the opportunity . Great memories!"
Already in 1970, the town via the idea of the Mayor Dr. Benja van Zyl, requested a locomotive for the town. The response was positive, but it would cost the town council R1000 to move a locomotive from Port Elizabeth to Fauresmith - the town just could not afford this sum.
By good coincidence, Fauresmith's main street was being tarred, and part of the works was that a temporary rail track had been laid in the main street while the main rail track in the middle of the street was being strengthened. Someone then struck a bulb moment, and the locomotive causing disruption in the station, was moved via the temporary track to its present position in the centre of town!