Jean Dulez was born in Grenoble, France, but emigrated to South Africa as a youngster with his parents in 1951, so has lived in South Africa the majority of his life. Jean went to school in the Johannesburg area and earned an interest in trains during primary school days whilst on holiday trips with his parents. There was still plenty of steam about in the late 1950s and Jean recalls getting rather sooty whilst he and his friend took photographs.

At high school he was given his first 35mm camera and teamed up with another enthusiast friend, from the same school class, to go photographing at the local steam sheds, such as Germiston. At the time they could only afford black and white photography, and enthusiast excursions had to be done by bicycle or by train, further afield.


Class 12A number 1531
Germiston Steam Sheds, 1964
Photograph: Jean Dulez

Jean has travelled all over Southern Africa and to many countries overseas and has taken thousands of railway photographs. Although an avid steam train enthusiast, he nevertheless photographs and takes an active interest in modern traction as well, so can be classified as a "real railway enthusiast".


The Gautrain
27 July 2011
Photograph: Jean Dulez

In the early 1980s Jean shifted to video as a medium of capturing his love of trains and has ever since extensively documented the local railway scene on video and has made these videos available through the trade name "Vidrail Productions". At the time of writing, August 2011, over 80 different programmes have been released. To date Jean estimates to have more than 500 hours of mainly steam action on video. Many of these programmes are sent to overseas enthusiasts as demand for Southern African Steam Train videos is high.

Apart from these activities, his other major hobby is stamp collecting and he is a member of the Johannesburg Philatelic Society; he specialises in classic Commonwealth postage stamps and certain revenue issues. This explains his keen involvement with the development of the South African Railways (SAR) 150th anniversary stamp issue.


A commemorative issue of 10 stamps was released on 25 June 2010 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first passenger train to be hauled in South Africa.

Jean is an active Railway Society of SA (Reef branch) committee member and has published many articles dealing with the various steam tours seen in Southern Africa over the years. Jean is also involved with various railway books featuring locomotives and trains in various countries of the Sub African Continent. A major project for 2010 was the 150th anniversary detailed book on the history of locomotives and trains of South African Railways, since the modest start way back in 1860, as outlined in the SAR 150 stamp issue.

Jean welcomes any comments, suggestions, or enquiries. Send an e-mail to enquiries@vidrail.co.za