18 August 2010

Ladismith line: More historical photos by David Perl

All the photos (unless stated otherwise) in this entry, were taken by David Perl. Other contributions by David may be found in the Ladismith Makadas entry.

David did two other trips on the LS line; in June 1979, and in November 1980.

David wrote in April 2010: I finally unearthed the Ladismith slides from my first trip. For this one, my dad drove us up (me, my brother and sister. We parked at Touws River station, and we hopped on the train to Ladismith. I clearly remember it being FREEZING, and of course, the heater in the coach decided to die. I'm still trying to warm up 31 years later!

Interestingly, our trip was inspired by that famous CP Lewis photo of the class 7 - the one you include in your blog:

May 1971 photo courtesy © CP Lewis. This was the Makadas headed by Class 7A no. 1011 working up the last mile into Ladismith. This brilliant picture appears as a double page spread in THE GREAT STEAM TREK published in 1978.

Unfortunately, the slides themselves were lousy quality. I must have used some crapola no-name brand, and they all have a pink cast on them, plus horizontal lines across the middle. However, I did a little Photoshopping, and now they're somewhat presentable.

As always, feel free to use them, or simply enjoy a little history.


David Perl

Ladismith, 1 June 1979

The train is approaching Ladismith town.

Taking the last bend towards Ladismith Station.

The train came in uphill, and under this bridge, to enter Ladismith station.

From the bridge this was the view of Ladismith station. At the far end of the station, the class 24 can be seen taking in water into its auxiliary tank. On the left - just before the goods shed, people are busy loading/unloading freight.

A closer shot.

Still taking on water - already refueled with coal.

A peaceful scene.

The engine marches up from the water point to resume her task.

Awaiting departure for Touws River.

Pedestrians continue to use a bypass in front of the train.


Refueling at the coal bunker.

A closeup at the 144 km post - the distance to Touws River.

Some oxen had to catch the train!

Loading the cattle. Note the loco driver on the left, who had to move the train a few yards every now and then, to line up the next cattle truck door with the gangway for the animals.

The train on its way with the cattle trucks loaded. A refrigerator truck, with its outboard cooling unit visible, is seen near the front of the train. This may have been loaded with the famous Ladismith cheese destined for Cape Town.

On the way to Touws River - around sunset.

A wayside station scene on the way to Touws River.

Sunset from a Steam Train and the end of a memorable day.

Return to the Ladismith Makadas entry.


  1. So pleased to see these lovely photos of a train I knew so well! My father (Felix Middleton) had the cinema in Ladismith, and often had to race by car to meet the train at Winkelplaas or Plathuis stations to collect the film on a Saturday morning in order to show the movie that afternoon and evening. If the train wasn't scheduled to stop at one of the small stations it had to be flagged down - sometimes using my red cardigan to do so! I also remember freezing at Touws River, waiting for the carriage to be coupled to Makadas for the trip home from Cape Town. Regrettably, during the big floods the tracks were washed away, so the rail service from Touws River to Ladismith ceased abruptly, replaced by a bus service. I recently returned to Ladismith and gave the Museum some photos of the train when it first arrived in Ladismith - my grandfather (Eden John Skinner) was a station master in the 1930s. You can see these photos at the Museum (in the Otto Hager church on Church Street) if you're interested. It was a big event - flags and banners were attached to the engine, and photos were taken by official photographers.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Love your story about your dad chasing down the train. I will put that museum on my bucket list.

      Best regards.