All prices quoted are in South African Rand (ZAR) and exclude postage.


South African Railway Roundabout 1995
Product code: VR98
Standard DVD R150.00

The review covers the weekend Trans Karoo class 25NC operations, Magaliesburg steam specials with various classes, steam in Mpumalanga (Waterval Boven) and Rovos Rail steam.

The mines featured are Rustenburg platinum finale (steam finished completely early in 1996), steam at the Welkom gold mines (Freegold and Loraine) plus a look at modern traction on these mines, as well at Impala Platinum (Rustenburg), Hartebeesfiontein and Vaal Reefs gold mines (outside Klerksdorp). Then, more steam at Greenside colliery, south of Witbank, where diesel traction was also then also being phased into service.

There is also a look at a Union Limited steam trip over the scenic Bethlehem line in the Free State.

More modern traction begins to creep into our Vidrail programme. We look at operations at the Mozambique border interchange yard at Komatipoort. Also reviewed are the impressive 200 wagon trains on the coal line around Ermelo. Most of these AC types of electrics are now being phased out in favour of new dual voltage traction units.

Steam classes include B, C, 1A, 6A, 10CR, 11, 14R, 15CA/CB, 15E, 15F, 16DA, 16CR, 19D, 24 and 25NC
Diesel: classes 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 38 and CFM diesels, plus miscellaneous industrial types
Electric: classes ES, 5E, 6E1, 8E, 7E1, 7E3, 10E, 11E

South African Railway Roundabout 1994
Product code: VR97
Standard DVD R150.00

The review covers the weekend Trans Karoo class 25NC operations, Magaliesburg specials with various classes, steam in kwa Zulu Natal (Hilton, Kloof, Harbour Wanderer, Sappi, and Port Shepstone narrow gauge) and the Blue Train steam shunt.

The mines featured are Rustenburg platinum, Randfontein Estates steam finale (steam largely finished here at the beginning of 1995) and the Greenside and Tavistock collieries, outside Witbank. There is also steam at Freegold and Loraine gold mines in the Free State.

As inevitable, some modern traction begins to creep into this Vidrail programme, but this at a minimum for the present. Many of the preserved steam locomotives belonging to Transnet were, in 1994, sent to the Western Cape to be employed on Union Limited tours (which feature in other Vidrail programmes) so would be the last chance to see these working up on the Reef, for example

Steam classes include B, 1A, 6, 6A, 11, 12AR, 14R, 15AR, 15CA/CB, 15E, 15F, 19D, 24, 25NC, GF, GMA and NGG16
Diesel: classes 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38 and a Botswana Railways type
Electric: classes ES, 5E, 5E1, 6E1, 8E, 10E, 12E


Stars of Sandstone Heritage Festival 2015
Product code: VR95
1 hour 15 min
Standard DVD R160.00
Blu-ray Disc R180.00

This 75 minute video programme brings to the viewer action over the majority of this 11 day event, held on the Sandstone Estates complex north of Ficksburg, in the scenic Eastern Free State. In all, over twenty narrow gauge locomotives were steamed into service for the event. In addition, there were vintage airplanes, steam traction and agricultural equipment, cars and other vehicles (including a show from the South African Armour Museum in Bloemfontein) to be seen in action.

The steam locomotives featured are:
Class NG4, No 16
Class NG6, No BR7
Class NGG13, No 49
Class NG15, No NG17
Class NGG16, Nos 88, 113 and 153
O&K Nos 2510, 4102, 103311 and 12691
Fowler No 14316
Barclay No 1459
Kerr Stuart Nos 4031 and 4063
Arn Jung No 847
Avonside Nos 1936 and 1624
Decauville No 302
Peckett No 2161
Henschel No 13779

In addition, there are displays from the South African Armour Museum, Bloemfontein, featuring vintage military transport vehicles, armoured cars and tanks.

Periodic appearances from the Sandstone collection and visitors comprise steam traction and agricultural equipment, vintage aircraft (e.g. Harvard) and numerous road motor cars and other transport vehicles.

A real feast of action, which will now only be repeated every two years.

Cape and Free State Steam Finale 1984-1987
Product code: VR94
11 hours
Triple set DVD R280.00

This 11hr triple DVD video programme features the glory years of steam in the eastern and western Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and finally in the Western and Southern Cape. Most of the material is regular steam from original video, with 9 classes.

The programme features vintage steam on the SAR in the Free State and the entire Cape region, which still featured regular operations during these glory years of steam in the country. The material was filmed by cameramen John Bate and Rob Sinclair on Betamax video, the best commercial equipment available at that time.

Free State. The depots and regions visited and trips undertaken comprise: Bloemfontein steam depot (classes 19D, 15F and 25NC); the main line to Bethlehem, passenger and freight operations; Bethlehem depot; main line to Kimberley

Northern Cape. Kimberley and De Aar steam depots; Kimberley to De Aar steam specials (classes 15A, 15CA, 16E, 25, 25NC and 26); regular steam passenger and freight operations over the entire length of the line, featuring a host of regular class 25NCs

Eastern Cape. Review of final steam operations on the Grahamstown to Port Alfred and Grahamstown to Alicedale lines (class 19Ds) as well as the Alexandria branch (class 24) and, finally, a look at the Port Elizabeth harbour shunts, featuring class 15ARs. There is also a 1985 steam tour in the region review, featuring classes 15AR, 19D and NG15.

Western Cape. Final steam shunts and the depot at Touws River (class 15F); a class 19C run to Worcester and special to Franschhoek; finally, the last Cape Town to Port Elizabeth passenger train in October, 1987, featuring classes 24 and GMA over the section from Hartenbos to George and then Oudtshoorn (Montagu Pass).

Southern African Classic Steam 1973-1982
Product code: VR93
4 hours
DVD R150.00

This 4hr video programme features classic trains on the SAR, SR and RR, during the years when steam was still king. Mastered from cameraman Roger Griffiths? silent and sound 8mm movies taken during trips around the region, 30 steam classes are in action.

The programme features vintage steam on the SAR and around Bulawayo from 1973 through to 1982. At the time, steam traction still dominated the non-electrified routes on the SAR and, in Rhodesia, sanctions forced steam to remain in service during 1970s, as would be the case for many years to come. The 1973 and 1976 periods feature silent movies, whilst 1980 and 1982 were recorded with original sound.

South African Railways. The depots and regions visited and trips undertaken comprise: Pretoria, Germiston, Witbank Mines, Breyten, Kroonstad main line, Bloemfontein, Kimberley ? De Aar, Cape Town, Hartenbos, Montagu Pass, George ? Knysna, Port Elizabeth locals, Noupoort, Graaff-Reinet. East London locals, Eastern Cape narrow gauge to Avontuur, Natal narrow gauge (Ixopo and Weenen) Enyati/Vryheid Collieries, Mafeking and the Eastern Free State. Finally, Rustenburg Platinum.

The locomotive types include: Classes 3BR, 8DW, 11, 12R, 12AR, 14A, 14R, 14CRB, 15A, 15AR, 15CA, 15F, 16CR, 16DA, 19D, 23, 24, 25, 25NC, GEA, GF, GMA, A, NBL tanks and ex RR 14A, 16A and 19; NGG13, NG15 and NGG16.

There is also a short visit to the Swaziland Railway (SR), whilst Mozambique (CFM) steam was still on hire on the system (CFM 700)

Botswana. BCL mine class 19s at Selebi-Pikwe.

Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. There a review of steam in Bulawayo during the height of the sanctions era, in 1973, featuring classes 14A, 15A, 16A and 19. Then, 1981 at Victoria Falls, Hwange and Wankie Colliery (class 16DA/19).

South African Railway Roundabout 1993, Part II
Product code: VR92
3 hour 55 min

This 3hr 55min video continues the story of the railway scene around the former Transvaal and Free State regions ("Part I" ref VR32). Steam on the mines, Union Limited specials and day trips is the main focus, with short reviews of modern traction. In all, some 20 types of steam locomotives and 8 different classes of electric and diesel classes are seen in action.

This programme features steam and modern trains as follows:

Gold Mines - Free State and Randfontein: classes 10BR, 11, 15CA, 19D and GMA

Rustenburg Platinum Mines: Classes 15CA and 15F

Witbank collieries: 14R, 15CB and GMA

Union Limited and Magaliesburg: Classes 12AR, 15CA, 15E, 15F, 16D, 16DA, 19D, 23, 24, 25NC, GL, GMA

Trans Karoo operations: class 25NC

SANRASM site, Krugersdorp: Class 6A, 14R and tank engines

Electric classes: 5E1, 6E1, 10E
Diesel classes: 31, 34, 35, 36, 38
EMUs: 5M2A

This was to be the last year with so much steam action, since, in 1994, much of the Transnet steam fleet would be relocated to the Western Cape and other steam operations would also soon be drastically reduced and eventually terminated from that time.

Reefsteamers Trips and Tours 2001-2012
Product code: VR91
Out of stock
3 hours 12 min.

Potchefstroom, Magaliesburg, Koster, Bethal, Bela-Bela, Springs, Cullinan & Ficksburg

Magaliesburg Trip

The train leaves Johannesburg in a westerly direction and passes through Braamfontein, where there once was a very busy steam depot, then on to the Langlaagte where it swings onto the main line to the West Rand. A few kilometres further it passes through Florida and onto 1 in 70 gradient of the Hamberg bank - the first real test for the locomotive. It continues on to Krugersdorp passing through Luipaardsvlei, is the highest station on the Witwatersrand. Beyond Krugersdorp the route joins the main non-electrified line to Mafikeng and passes Millsite diesel locomotive Shed.

The line to Magaliesburg is nearly all downhill, the ruling gradient being 1 in 40, and over a distance of 29 kilometres the drop in altitude is over 300m through rural scenery. On the outward journey the locomotive provides power merely to operate the vacuum brakes, but on the return journey it faces a climb which requires at least 50 minutes continuous steaming - an arduous task for any steam locomotive. Points of note along the return route are: the town level crossing; the cutting below the main road, Orient level crossing, Tarlton station, El Dorado level crossing, Battery overbridge/loop, "Three Sisters" climb, Millsite, leaving Krugersdorp (at Lanwan) and Luipaardsvlei.

This section features sequences of various locomotives used on this run.

Other trips/routes

Trips to Potchefstroom, Koster, Bethal, Bela- Bela, Springs, Cullinan and the Ficksburg- Bethlehem-Kroonstad-Vereeniging routes have featured amongst the Reefsteamers tour programmes over the period and some coverage of these is also included.

Classes featured: 12AR, 15CA, 15F, 25NC and GMA on various trips. Also 19D & 24

Southern African Railway Roundabout in HD, 2007 & 2013/14
Product code: VR90
5 hours 8 min
Blu-ray DVD R300.00

This 5hr 8min video sampler programme brings to the viewer action over five countries within Southern Africa in High Definition (or full HD on Blu-ray), the first such release from Vidrail.

Preserved steam, where still to be found, and modern traction are featured in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. In all, some 30 different types of regular and narrow gauge steam locomotives are seen in working order; regular trains are powered by 14 different classes of electric and 15 types of diesels, with a review of 4 types of Metrorail EMUs. No other programme offers such a variety of trains in action (comprising two HD discs).

South Africa:

Steam at Reefsteamers, Friends of the Rail, Rovos Rail, Umgeni Railway, Patons, Creighton, Atlantic Rail and Sandstone Estates.
Steam classes: 6A, 12AR, 15CA, 15F, 16DA, 19D, 24, 25NC.
Narrow gauge: NG4, NG6, NGG11, NGG13, NG15, NGG16 plus over a dozen unclassed engines at the Sandstone railway.
Modern at Transnet Freight Rail, Metrorail, Gautrain, Sheltam, Grindrod, Impala and Rustenburg platinum mines.
Electric classes: 5E1, 6E1, 7E, 7E1, 7E2, 7E3, 8E, 9E, 10E, 11E, 14E, 15E, 18E, 19E and 20E.
Diesel classes: 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 43 and other industrial
EMUs: 5M2A, 10M3, 10M4, 10M5.

Botswana: Class 19D steam at Selibi Phikwe Mine and BR diesels.

Namibia: TransNamib class 33s and the DMU set.

Zimbabwe: Steam: classes 14A, 15A & 16A; diesels classes DE9, DE10A.

Zambia: Classes 101 and 601 diesel locomotives.

Run time disc 1: 2hr 25min
Run time disc 2: 2hr 43min

South African Railways Garratts - 21 Years - 1991-2012
Product code: VR89
9 hours 20 min
Triple set DVD - R300.00

This review of the Garratt types on the SAR, begins with extracts from our previous general programme, VR81 "SAR 150th Anniversary" video. This covers all articulated types to have seen service on the SAR, including Union Garratts, Fairlies and the Mallets. Courtesy Tom Kelcec and Goodheart Productions, some spectacular original and preserved Mallet action in the US is repeated, to give an idea of what the SAR Mallet era on a smaller scale may have been like.

This programme then brings to the viewer extensive records of the various types SAR Garratts to have been captured on video in regular service or in preservation. The GF, GEA and GMA and various narrow gauge types feature prominently here. In preservation service with Transnet, we have classes GB, GEA, GF, GL, GMA and GO, plus their ex NRZ (Zimbabwe) classes 14A and 16A; finally, narrow gauge classes NGG11, 13, 16 and 16A in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

We thereafter have an even more gripping review of operations taken between 1991 and 2012, a full twenty one year period, comprising various double headers and other combinations with tender locomotives, such as classes 7A, 15A, 19B, 19D and 24. This material has been recompiled from many of our other tour and "Roundabout" programmes over this period for our viewers, owing to their numerous requests for such a programme.

The video ends with the spectacular triple, quadruple and even a quintuple combination, organised at Sandstone Estates narrow gauge system at various times between 2006 until 2012.

We do believe that this programme is the most extensive taken in the post SAR steam era to date regarding the Garratts. The vast majority of what the viewer will experience regarding the 1067mm (3ft 6in) system can never be repeated again, although there are yearly steam events at Sandstone Estates, allowing for the narrow gauge (610mm) fleet based there to still see occasional service.

National Railways of Zimbabwe Garratts feature extensively in several of our previous programmes, for those would like more variation (ref VR40, VR66, VR76 & VR83)

South African Railways Class 25NC 4-8-4s Renaissance 2006-2010
Product code: VR88
3 hours 50 min
Single DVD - R150.00

This review of the famed class 25NCs, the only 4-8-4 to have been introduced into the SAR, continues pleasantly onwards from where the final chapter had been expected back in 2004, when all preserved examples of the class were out-of-service (see our previous programme VR72 "SAR Class 25NC 4-8-4s, 1989-2004, The Final Years")

This programme brings to the viewer extensive records of Reefsteamers' No 3472, on specials to Magaliesburg and several steam tours to the Free State taken between 2006 and 2010, when this locomotive was again withdrawn for recertification and overhaul.

In 2013, no funds had as yet been allocated, so it was uncertain whether No 3472 would be seen in action again in the near future.

Together with this class 25NC, various 4-8-2s make guest appearances, notably in the form of doubleheaded passenger train operations over the lines in the Eastern Free State; these comprise classes 12AR, 15CA and 15F.

Rovos Rail operates at the luxury end of the railway tourist market, and had restored No 3484, as an oil burner now, to service in 2006. Later, two more of these 4-8-4s, No 3442 and 3533, as original coal burners, were restored into operation a year or two later.

These locomotives have mostly seen service in and around Pretoria, but also for a Railway Touring Company long distance safari to the Northern Cape, Free State, and then twice to Zimbabwe, the final trip in April 2008 being via Botswana. This was only the second such venture with these large locomotives to Zimbabwe. We have therefore incidental action of class 19D 4-8-2s and various National Railways of Zimbabwe Garratts.

Regrettably, in 2013, all three of these class 25NC locomotives were also once again out-of-service, perhaps awaiting the return of an interested steam tour operator.

South African Railway Roundabout 1992 Part II
Product code: VR87
Out of stock
3 hours 40 minutes
Single DVD R

This review of the second half of the 1992 (July to December) excludes the major steam tours of the year (for example Union Limited and Steam and Safaris, which are duly featured on programmes VR20 and VR22).

This programme brings to the viewer a variety of steam operations, both regular and preserved, plus some incidental modern traction at times. Specifically, we have the following:

West Rand, Magaliesburg, Cullinan, Dullstroom and Trans Karoo steam Operations and specials (classes 6A, 7A, 15F, 16DA, 19D, 25NC, B and S2)

Industrial steam on the mines in the Transvaal, Free State and Natal comprising classes 10CR, 11, 14R, 15CB, 15CA, 15F, 16CR, 19D, 24, GEA, GMA and North British standard design tank engines

Rovos Rail specials and the Blue Train

Some modern traction (examples - classes 6E1, 7E, 10E, 34 and 35) on passenger and freight turns is featured occasionally.

(For 1992 part 1 of the series, see programme VR22; previous year's "Roundabout" - 1991 - are featured in our programmes VR31 and VR79)

Twin Steel Through Kenya - 2011 Preserved Steam and Regular Trains
Product code: VR86
Out of stock
100 min
Single DVD - R

Vidrail takes us to Kenya during May 2011 to join a Geoff's Trains preserved steam tour, which commenced in Nairobi with a visit the Rift Valley Railways' central workshops. Here, apart from diesel locomotive and rolling stock repairs, Kenya Railways Museum working steam locomotives for the tour were being serviced. These comprised a 4-8-0, No 2409 and the huge Garratt, No 5918, "Mt Gelai", the largest of this type for the metre gauge.

Another locomotive, No 3020, "Nyaturu" a 2-8-4, had already been sent down to Naivasha in preparation for a mixed train excursion the following day back to Nairobi, up the Great Rift Valley. This 120km journey from Naivasha sees No 3020 tackle a climb of nearly 600m, which takes up most of the day. This is considered to be one of the world's great railway journeys.

Back in Nairobi, there is chance to see commuter train action around the station, together with freight turns from the Mombasa side of the Kenya Railway. There are also several old 1960s era English Electric class 87s still in regular service.

The East African Railways class 59, No 5918, the 4-8-2+2-8-4 Garratt, is steamed up for the first time in several years to perform some station shunts for the benefit of the tour photographers.

On the third day, there is also a short passenger train excursion to nearby Makadara station, in east Nairobi, behind the 4-8-0 oil burner, No 2409.

Finally, a short excursion behind No 5918 in the direction of Athi River, outside Nairobi on the Mombasa line.

This programme gives the viewer an insight to this metre gauge railway, the likes of which are quite different to the Cape gauge system, which is found in most of the neighbouring countries of sub-equatorial Africa. This may also prove to be the last occasion that as many as three steam locomotives from the Museum can be steamed and operated for a tour group at any one time.

The SAR Class 19D - Operation and Maintenance 1991/2010
Operation and Maintenance of an SAR class 19D 4-8-2 Steam Locomotive
62 min
Product code: VR85
Out of stock

Single DVD - R

This programme reveals the mysteries of the duties and functions for which the fireman and driver of a typical South African Railways steam locomotive are responsible for. The film begins with a typical day at Capital Park Locomotive depot in Pretoria during 1991, during the final year or two of regular steam operation.

The fireman arrives for duty prior the driver and begins with his various duties: checking the boiler steam pressure, water level and fire. Then he begins with a number of maintenance functions necessary prior arrival of driver, sometime later.

The driver signs on for duty at the locomotive foreman's office and then proceeds to his waiting locomotive. By this time, the fireman will have completed his tasks. The driver performs a quick check and then proceeds to his own duties: mechanical verification and thereafter, greasing and oiling of the motion and valve gear.

We experience shunting operations around the depot and how the controls are employed for the boiler water feed, steam regulation and brakes, amongst other functions.

A cut away diagram is used to illustrate basic steam locomotive steam cycle operation, as typically applicable for an SAR class 23 4-8-2 steam locomotive: firebox, boiler tubes, superheater, steam cylinders, smoke box operation. The fascinating intricacies of the wonderful Walschaerts valve gear system's operation are explained by means of an ingenious working model.

This presentation is expertly narrated by Nathan Berelowitz, who is a member of the active Friends of the Rail steam preservation group in Tshwane (Pretoria) and also now a qualified fireman and driver.

The programme ends with a look at Friends of Rail, whose locomotives were still, in 2010, based at Capital Park Rovos Rail depot, all of 20 years later. These comprised classes 15F, 19D and 24, which were steamed up for a winter photographic gala. Lastly, the 150 years of railways anniversary trip with their class 19D, No 2650, to Cullinan in September, 2010, is reviewed.

Zambezi Rail Tours - Union Limited and Rail Safaris 1994
Product code: VR84
170 min
Single DVD - R150.00

This programme covers two steam rail tours through Zimbabwe during 1994. The first, a condensed version of our programme VR29, was a Rail Safaris tour from Bulawayo, as detailed below, which also included Zambia and Botswana. The second was a Union Limited trip which started from and ended in Johannesburg.

August: Rail Safaris Zambezi (100 min)

1 Bulawayo steam depot and local trip: classes 15A and 19
2 Bulawayo - Colleen Bawn - return: classes 14A, 16A & 9B
3 Bulawayo - Thomson Junction: class 15A
4 Thomson Junction - Victoria Falls: class 15A
5 Zambia - Mulobezi Branch: class 12
6 Victoria Falls - Lukosi: class 15A
7 Bulawayo - Plumtree: 20th class
8 Plumtree - Francistown: class 16A
9 Selebi Phikwe Mine: class 19
10 Plumtree - Bulawayo: classes 12, 14 and 7

October: Union Limited Zambezi (70 min)

11 Johannesburg - Beit Bridge: class 15F
12 Heany Junction - Bulawayo: 20th class
13 Bulawayo - Victoria Falls: classes 16A and 15A
14 Victoria Falls: various plus diesel traffic
15 Victoria Falls - Bulawayo: class 15A
16 Bulawayo - Somabhula: classes 14, 14A & DE10A
17 Beit Bridge - Johannesburg: class 15F

Geoff's Trains
Steam Tours 2010 Botswana-Zimbabwe-Zambia
Product code: VR83
Out of stock
200 min
Single set DVD - R

Our first venture up north for some years, steam hangs on in these countries, against the odds. The tour begins with a visit to the Selebi Phikwe mine, in north east Botswana, which still has class 19 haulage. This is followed by a cross border diesel hauled passenger train trip from Francistown to Bulawayo.

Next, in Bulawayo, a look at the steam depot and NRZ passenger station operations. Thereafter, we have a local NRZ trips with three classes of Garratts and museum/mixed trains: 14A class to Cement, 16A class to Plumtree and 15A class to Dete and Victoria Falls. Around Thomson Junction, both the 15A and 16A are in action, combined.

Lastly, there is a local 14A powered trip from Victoria Falls to Livingstone, with views of the Falls bridge. In Zambia, 12th class, No 204 is in service at the yard and 10th class, No 156, is also in attendance; both locos are used on local luxury safari trips. There are also various sequences of diesel hauled regular passenger train and freight trains in the area.

We have added in an interesting feature of an actual regular trip up the ramshackle Mulobezi branch line in Zambia (Zambezi Sawmills Railway) which also includes amazing footage taken from the cab of the diesel engine.

The programme features no narration but is accompanied by informative subtitling, but a separate detailed tour write up is available on request.

Geoff's Trains
South African Steam Tours 2009-2010
Product code: VR82
Out of stock
360 min
Double set DVD -

This programme covers the two tours operated by Geoff's Trains during May 2009 and May 2010. Both narrow and Cape gauge are adequately represented within these excursions and we also bring the viewer additional sequences from regular day trips operated by both the Friends of the Rail and Reefsteamers steam preservation groups.

In order to feature the content rapidly and uninterrupted, no narration has been provided with this programme. The DVD menu subdivides the various sections as detailed below, with subtitling, where relevant:

1 Sandstone Estates 2009 Featuring narrow gauge classes NG4, No 16; NG 6, Nos 97 & 106; NG15, No 17; NGG13, No 49 and NGG16, No 153

2 Apple Express 2009 A four day excursion from Port Elizabeth, Patensie and Assegaaibosch with class NG 15, No 119

3 Day trips in 2010 with Reefsteamers class 25NC, No 3472; 12AR, No 1535 and Friends of the Rail class 15F, 3117

4 Geoff's Trains 2010 depot visits to Friends of the Rail and Reefsteamers featuring classes 19D No 2650 12AR No 1535, 24 No 3664 15F No 3046, 15F No 3117 25NC No 3472

5 Sandstone Estates 2010 Featuring narrow gauge classes NG4, No 6; NG6, Nos 97 & 106; NGG13, No 49; NG15, No 17 and NGG16, No 88; also Feldbahn 0-8-0T

6 Sisonke Stimela - KwaZulu-Natal - Donnybrook/Creighton/Riverside Classes 19D, No 2669 and GMAM, No 4074

7 Patons Country narrow gauge Ixopo Class NGG11, No 55 and ex sugar estates Avonside tank engine

8 Apple Express four day excursion from Port Elizabeth to Hankey and Assegaaibosch; class NG6, No 106 (to van Stadens) and class NG15, No 119, main trip.

South African Railways 150 Years 1860-2011
Product code: VR81
Double set DVD - R280.00

For those who cannot spend the time reading or who would like to see some action of the type of scenes statically depicted in our hard copy publication, Vidrail have released a twin DVD disc 450 minute mega programme. This presentation, therefore, complements the book "Railways of Southern Africa 150 Years" but may also be viewed entirely on its own.

The two part programme commences with a review of the ancient steam locomotives of the very first standard gauge railway companies in the Cape and Natal colonies, followed by the development of steam motive power under the various regional governments in South Africa. This followed the decision, taken in 1875, to continue railway construction according to a narrower track gauge, namely the so called "Cape" (1067mm). The main operations took place under the Cape, Natal and Transvaal government railway administrations (CGR, NGR and NZASM). The latter, together with the Orange Free State railway, were operated by the Central South African Railways or CSAR after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, in 1902.

Following amalgamation of the previous four regional governments into the Union of South Africa in 1910, all the regional railways were further consolidated into the South African Railways or SAR. This state transport organisation has recently been restructured, as detailed above. In addition, this review has a look at some private and provincial systems, such as the various mines and the recently opened Gautrain system. These developments are in line with what has been outlined for the book itself. However, the DVD programme focuses specifically on the railway systems within South Africa itself, with the other countries in the region (Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana) being featured in some detail within various of our other video programmes. (details on request)

The SAR and Transnet locomotive classes featured are as follows (both through static records or movie sequences, wherever possible):

Steam : Classes A to K, 1 to 26, S to S2, KM, MA to MJ, GA to GO, FD, FC, HF, U, NG1 to NGG16 and also various unclassed locomotives prior to 1910
Diesel: Classes DS, 31 to 43, 61 and 91
Electric: Classes ES, 1E to 19E
Electric Multiple Units (EMU): 1M to 10M series

The presentation also features much interesting archive movie film action, as well as more recent general video review of both steam and modern trains in operation around the country. This extensive presentation, therefore, provides one of the best balanced and broadest coverage of the railway scene in the country, both past and present.

Hence, recommended are our other programmes: Twin Steel through Namibia; Modern Traction in Southern Africa; Best of S A Steam 1983-1990; SAR Railway Roundabout (from 1990), full listing on request. In addition, for interest further afield, productions on Zimbabwe steam are also available, which would supplement the section on Botswana, whose railway system fell under both Rhodesian and Zimbabwe national railways administration for a long period, from 1899 until 1982.

Steam Loco Safari Tours 2007 The Three Provinces
Product code: VR80
Out of stock
Double set DVD -

The 2007 steam tour by David Rodgers, who has organised such safaris regularly from the UK since the 1990s, was destined to possibly be the final such tour to South Africa. This trip, operated between 26th May and 9th June, 2007 encompassed both narrow gauge and Cape gauge visits and excursions within the three provinces of the title: Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The Free State route featured the scenic main line between Bethlehem and Ficksburg, using no less than three different locomotives operated by the Reefsteamers group and the 610mm narrow gauge system at Sandstone Estates, with three types of steam locomotives.

The routes in KwaZulu-Natal comprised the operations around the Sisonke Stimela steam preservation centre at Creighton and two types of steam locomotives, including a Garratt. Then, a day at another narrow gauge centre at Ixopo, Patons Country Railway and finally two days on local excursions around Pietermaritzburg, with another Garratt.

The last two days in Gauteng comprised the Pretoria - Rayton - Cullinan route, employing one Reefsteamers' locomotive and one from Friends of the Rail group.

The details of the routes and locomotives featured in this four hour programme are as follows:

Bethlehem to Ficksburg Classes 15CA and 15F, 4-8-2 and Class 25NC 4-8-4
Sandstone Estates Classes NG4 4-6-2, NG15 2-8-2 and Class NGG13 2-6-2 + 2-6-2
Creighton - Donnybrook - Deepdale and Class GMAM 4-8-2+ 2-8-4 and Creighton - Riverside Class 19D 4-8-2
Ixopo - Carisbrooke Class NGG 11 2-6-0 + 0-6-2
Pietermaritzburg - Albert Falls Class GF 4-6-2 + 2-6-4
Pietermaritzburg - Arnolds Hill Class GF 4-6-2 + 2-6-4
Pretoria - Rayton - Cullinan Class 24 2-8-4 and Class 15CA 4-8-2

The Great 1991 South African Steam Festival and Railway Roundabout (Part II)
Product code: VR79
240 min
Double set DVD -

This follows on from VR 1 (1991 part 1) and focuses on the 1991 Kimberley to De Aar steam festival of July 1991, and a subsequent review of steam on this line until the end of 1991.

In addition we have:

"Brush with Steam" tour to the Eastern Transvaal
Witbank Coal Mines
Magaliesburg, Trans Karoo, Cullinan, Pretoria, Germiston, Bloemfontein operations (steam and modern traction)
Randfontein Estates, Welkom Mines
Sishen - Saldanha heavy haul ore line

Railway Touring Company Rovos Rail Steam Tour 2006
Product code: VR78
Out of stock
Single DVD -

The RTC have been frequent visitors to South Africa since 1999 and since the demise of the Union Limited steam service in 2004, have made use of the luxury Rovos Rail train set.

On this tour, the following lineside coverage and classes are featured through all of seven provinces:

Pretoria (Capital Park depot) Classes 6A, 19D and 25NC
Pretoria- Kimberley - Bloemfontein- Bethlehem Class 25NC (oil burner)
Sandstone Estates Classes NG15 & NGG16
Springs - Witbank & Tzaneen - Pietersburg - Pretoria Class GMA (with 19D from Hammanskraal)

Steam Loco Safari Tours Drakensberg Explorer II 2006
Product code: VR77
Triple set DVD -

This presentation covers the 18 day steam tour to South Africa from the 21st May to 7th June 2006. This tour group, lead by David Rodgers, has operated enthusiasts' rail tours to the country since the mid 1990s.

This year, as the name implies, a sequel to the highly successful 2005 tour was organised. Although some routes and locomotive classes were identical to those featured in 2005, there were some notable differences; in all, some 11 classes of steam locomotives saw service:

Krugersdorp - Magaliesburg Classes 12AR & 15F 4-8-2s
Springs - Bethal Classes 12AR & 15F 4-8-2s
Springs - Bethlehem - Ficksburg Classes 15F 4-8-2 & 25NC 4-8-4
Pietermaritzburg - Thornville Class GF 4-6-2 + 2-6-4
Pietermaritzburg - Donnybrook - Creighton - Riverside Classes GF 4-6-2 + 2-6-4 & 19D 4-8-2
Ixopo Class NGG11 2-6-0 + 0-6-2
George - Knysna line Classes 7A 4-8-0, 19B 4-8-2 & 24 2-8-4
George - Outeniqua Class GEA 4-8-2 + 2-8-4
Camfer - Oupad Class GMA 4-8-2 + 2-8-4
Snyberg - Toorwater Class 19D 4-8-2

This programme covers the tour from start to finish, and from a well-balanced perspective, namely most photographic runbys, lineside footage, servicing stops and varied sequences from on board the train, which provide stunning views of varied scenery in all of five provinces.

Twin Steel Through Zimbabwe 1991-1993
Product code: VR76

Double set DVD - R250.00

This double disc, 4 hour programme brings the viewer the best of four South African cross border steam hauled tours to Zimbabwe; the Trans Limpopo in 1991, broke new ground by being the first, followed by several Transnet Museum Safaris in 1992 and 1993.

The lines travelled with steam traction were based out of Bulawayo, where a number of NRZ (National Railway Zimbabwe) Garratt types were still in service at the time, supplemented by several NRZ Museum straight (tender) steam locomotive classes.

The main routes covered (most of these being repeated during the period under review on various of the tours, with different trains and motive power) are:

Bulawayo - Colleen Bawn
Bulawayo - Plumtree
Bulawayo - Victoria Falls (with the emphasis on the lines around Thomson Junction at Hwange)

In addition to the passenger tour and occasional regular trains, there is other freight activity to savour - in fact, the final years of regular steam hauled freight operations, some even featuring museum locomotives. There is also cross border modern traction traffic at Plumtree and Victoria Falls.

The steam power comprises classes 7, 11B, 12, 14, 14A, 15A, 16A, 19 and 20A. In 1993, this would be the last opportunity ever to experience such a varied, nine class steam line-up, since the majority of the museum fleet has subsequently become unserviceable over the years. Twenty five years on, the extensive economic crisis in the country, whilst delaying new dieselisation projects at the NRZ, has also contributed towards a general lack of resources for keeping all but two or three Garratts types in service at any one time.

Twin Steel Through Namibia
Railway Review 1992-2007
Product code: VR75
Double set DVD -

Namibia, previously known as South West Africa, is a vast, sparsely populated country, well known for its rugged desert scenery, large game parks and wilderness areas. There were only a few years of initial German colonial development between 1897, when the first railway was opened to the capital, Windhoek, and the outbreak of war in 1914. Thereafter followed 75 years of South African administration, during which the railway system was rebuilt, expanded and operated by the South African Railways. This programme tracks aspects of the initial railway and locomotive development history over this period.

During the mid 1980s, Trans Namib, the local state transport organization, was formed and consequentially inherited the spread out railway network from the S A Railways. Since steam traction had been withdrawn relatively early in 1960, the country was seldom visited by railway enthusiasts.

In the late 1980s, two class 24 steam locomotives were donated by Transnet in South Africa to Trans Namib. Scenes are depicted when one of these were put back into service in 1992 in order to haul short tours around Keetmanshoop, in the far south. Regular trains in this area are also recorded.

In 1998 the Union Limited Tours, based in Cape Town, operated the first cross border steam tour to Namibia since 1960. Hauled by two oil burning class 19D 4-8-2 locomotives, the two week tour covered an incredible route of over 5000 km from Cape Town to Walvis bay and back. On board footage and line side action is catered for on both sides of the border.

In view of severe logistical obstacles encountered during the course of the 1998 steam safari, it seemed unlikely that another such operation would be possible. However, in 2004, the UK based Railway Touring Company chartered the Union Limited train set for another and final steam trip in Namibia. We cover the majority of this journey, once again hauled by two oil burning class 19Ds. As a variation, the final two days of the tour in the Western Cape, featuring a 4-8-4 class 25NC and the Class 26, are shown.

Finally, we bring the viewer some action featuring modern traction (ex SAR class 32s and 33s) on the line between Windhoek and Swakopmund during 2006 and 2007. Recent developments with the introduction of new diesels built in China are also briefly reviewed.

Twin Steel Through Southern Africa
Modern Traction
Product code: VR74
300 min
Double set DVD -

For the first time, Vidrail is privileged to bring the viewer a wide variety of electric and diesel traction haulage scenes on the Spoornet, Metrorail and Namibian railway systems. There is also a brief look at cross border diesel traffic between South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia. Guest appearances from some steam hauled trains/locomotives appear at times, relevant to the modern traction scenes depicted: crossings, service assistance and changeovers of motive power.

This two disc video programme is divided into the following sections:


Introduction: brief review of the technical aspects of the electric classes 1E to 14E (rebuilt from 6E1 class 18Es are also shown later); diesel classes 31 to 38 (a sneak preview of the prototype class 39 also appears)

Heavy haul coal traffic on the Witbank and Ermelo lines featuring classes 6E1, 18E, 10E, 7E, 7E1, 7E2 and 34

Various passenger trains on the Witbank and other lines around Gauteng; another look at the impressive Richards Bay coal line at Ermelo: classes 6E1, 10E, 7E, 34, 38

Colesburg - Springfontein, Union Limited special; some electric industrial operations (ex SAR 5E1); Ermelo exchange yard: 7E, 11E, 10E, 34 & 37

SentraRand Yard: 10E cab ride, look at the 14E, and a 36 on the pneumatic retarder hump wagon operation

De Aar area in the Northern Cape featuring 7E, 14E, 34 and 37; Braamfontein passenger coach yard: 8E, 35 and 5E1 and 6E1

Sishen - Saldanha iron ore heavy haul line with its unique 50kV class 9Es; Upington 33 and 34s; de Aar 7Es; Western Cape main line 6E1s and 14Es


Western Cape Boland main line: passenger operations, Blue Train, EMUs; action around Pretoria: classes 6E1, 14E, 34 and 35

Krugersdorp - Magaliesburg line, diesel operations out of Springs, mixed traction around Kempton Park and Vereeniging: classes 6E1, 34, 35 and 14E1

KwaZulu-Natal: operations around Pietermaritzburg, Albert Falls and timber traffic around Donnybrook: class 35s

Komatipoort: interesting electric/diesel operations at this yard bordering the Mozambique and Swaziland lines: 6E1, 8E, 10E, 37 and CFM

Springs - Witbank main line; Reef network - various freight traffic; the last semaphore controlled stations on the Witbank line: 6E1, 10E, 18E and 34.

Diesel operations in the Northern Cape: Mafikeng station, cross border traffic, Vryburg Union Limited and freights; Eastern Cape narrow gauge; 34 and 91 class

Trans Namibia: ancient ex SAR class 32 and 33s keep the country's freight traffic rolling; new Chinese imports; Bushveld safaris tour in July 2006

Cross border traffic: Ariamsvlei (Namibia), Komatipoort (Mozambique), Plumtree (Botswana), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia) - various types of diesels are seen in service at these locations.

2010-2011 update.
Gautrain Rapid Rail Link - construction, operation and train rides.
Review of recent Metrorail refurbished EMUs sets; new Transnet class 39, 43, 15E and 19Es locomotives in action.

Steam Loco Safari Tours Drakensberg Explorer Steam Tour South Africa 2005
Product code: VR73
240 min
Double set DVD -

This South Africa enthusiasts' tour in May 2005 was very successfully run by David Rodgers in 4 provinces, largely by way of local steam preservation groups and the THF in George.

In review the following:

Krugersdorp - Magaliesburg: Classes 12AR, 14R, 15F / Springs - Bethal: 12AR, 15F / Cullinan: 19D, 24

Sandstone Estates: NG6, NG15, NGG13, NGG16 / Pinetown - Cato Ridge: 3BR / Pietermaritzburg - Dalton: GF /

Ixopo: NGG11 / Creighton - Donnybrook: 19D / Port Shepstone: NGG16 / George - Knysna: 7A, 19B

Oudtshoorn - George - Camfer: GO, GEA

South African Railways Class 25s
The Final Years 1989-2004
Product code: VR72
Double set DVD -

Perhaps no other steam locomotive on the South African Cape gauge system has inspired as much awe and interest amongst enthusiasts as the massive class 25 4-8-4s. Introduced at a late stage of the steam era in the early 1950s (when many countries were already moving to diesel traction) 140 of these locomotives saw active service well into the late 1980s. In fact these 4-8-4 were larger and heavier than many equivalent steam locomotives that were operating around Europe on the broader standard gauge tracks.

In this presentation we cover the final years of regular steam on the SA railways from 1989 to preserved operations that still took place as late as 2004. This leads to a review of why so few of these successful modern steam giants are still running today, even though smaller and more ancient classes such as 19Ds and 15F 4-8-2s dominate the current preservation scene around the country.

Enthusiasts who visited South Africa during the last 30 years have, no doubt, fond memories of the Kimberley to de Aar double track main line, which was dominated by these class 25s since the 1960s. What has happened in recent years?

We review the technical features of the class 25C (condensing class) and the non condensing version (25NC). Well known locomotives are shown in action: numbers 3511, 3467, 3496, 3454, 3476, 3404, 3407, 3411, 3441, 3484, 3410, 3472, 3417 and, of course, the converted class 26, No 3450, amongst others. Guest appearances of various other classes, which featured on double headed operations, include classes 15F, 16DA, 16E, 19D and 23. Most of these locomotives are currently owned by the Transnet Heritage Foundation.

Apart from the Cape Northern system, operations on the Bethlehem, Klerksdorp, Rand and Western Cape regions are reviewed over the given period. Who can forget the double headed Trans Karoo express trips in the 1990s, No 3410 in Zimbabwe in 2001, special 25NC freights on the de Aar line or No 3450 along the scenic Free State and Western Cape routes?

We also recommend our earlier programme series covering regular class 25 steam in the Northern Cape and Free State during the 1980s as supplementary viewing.

Steam and Safaris 2003 Steam Tour Eternal Hills II
Product code: VR71
2 hours 50 minutes
Single DVD R150.00

This programme documents what proved to be the final steam tour to South Africa by the UK based Steam and Safaris group. Such rather unfortunate conclusions have proved inevitable, following the demise of steam traction facilities around the country since the early 2000s and also the various progressively more severe restrictions, generally imposed upon vintage steam train operations, at the same time.

10-11 May: Pretoria to Cullinan - return class 15F
12-13 May: Sandstone Estates - classes NGG13/16 and NG15
14 May: Richmond to Pietermaritzburg - classes GF and 19D
15 May: Pietermaritzburg to Dalton - class GMA
16 May: Albert Falls to Pietermaritzburg and Taylors - Classes GMA and GF
17 May: Taylors to Donnybrook - Classes GMA/GF
18 May: Underberg/Creighton/Donnybrook - classes GF/GMA
19 May: Kloof to Botha's Hill - class 19D
20 May: Snyberg - Toorwater poort - Oudtshoorn: classes 19D/19C
21 May: Oudtshoorn to Camfer - classes GEA, 19D /19C
22 May: Voorbaai - George - Camfer Classes GEA/GMA
23 May: Ashton to Jubilee - Class GO

The Union Limited Steam Rail Tours
Cape Branches & Indian Ocean LTD 2002
Product code: VR70
Out of stock
Double set DVD -

Here we find two tours combined in one video; both were charters for UK based tour groups. The first, for the Northumbria travel group, comprised short haul routes in the Western Cape over some 10 days. We feature the following highlights with both the main tour train and mixed freights.

Cape Town - Simonstown: Class 16D / Worcester - Ashton: Class 26 / Wolseley - Prince Alfred Hamlet: Class 19D

Hermon - Porterville: 19D Doubleheaded / Malmesbury - Berg River: Class GF / Malmesbury - Graafwater: Class 19D & 15F

The second tour, "Indian Ocean Limited", was organised for the Railway Touring Company, and was named in view of the largely east coast routes between Cape Town and Maputo in southern Mocambique. Hence, apart from the well-established routes in the Western, Southern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, this steam safari broke new ground with an odyssey along the North Coast line from Durban to Gollela, through Swaziland and then on to Maputo. The group finished this tour in Pretoria. The routes and motive power are as follows:

Cape Town - Dal Josafat: Class 16D / Dal Josafat - Ashton: Class 26 / George - Oudtshoorn: Classes 19C & GMA

Oudtshoorn - Miller: Classes 19C & 19B / Colesburg - Bloemfontein: Class 25NC / Sandstone Estates: Classes NG6 & NGG16

Pietermaritzburg - Donnybrook: Class GF / Pietermaritzburg - Albert Falls: Class 3BR / Durban - Gollela - Mpaka - Maputo: Classes 19D, GF, GMA / Pretoria - Cullinan: Class 19D

The Union Limited Hantam
Steam Hauled Rail Tours 2002
Product code: VR69
Out of stock
Double set DVD - R

The two Union Limited "Hantam" tours were run in July and August 2002. In this presentation we feature highlights from both trips which covered identical routes with similar motive power. In total the whole itinerary is eventually featured this way, and, in view of difficulties currently prevailing with operating steam along extended routes, these were the final trips we can enjoy along such traditional Spoornet main and branch lines with the Union Limited.

The routes comprised segments along the scenic branch to Caledon and Bredasdorp (the most southerly rail head in Africa); the Porterville branch; journeys along the southern Cape coast and the little Karoo; a portion of the narrow gauge line out of Port Elizabeth and finally the entire length of the branch to Bitterfontein during Namaqualand wild flower season.

The following classes of steam locomotives are featured:

15F, 19B, 19D, 24, 25NC, 26, GEA, GF, GMA, GO & NGG16

Steam Loco Safari Tours Cape Province Explorer VI 2002
Product code: VR68
Single DVD -

This programme covers the first week in detail and a condensed version of the second from this tour organised by David Rodgers from the UK. The organisation of the operations was based around the Western Cape and Garden Route.

The following lines and classes are featured:

Cape Town - Simonstown: Class 16D / Malmesbury - de Hoek: 15F / Malmesbury - Bellville: 15F doubleheaded

Cape Town - Atlantis: 16DA / Elgin - Caledon: GO / Hermon - Porterville: 19D / Hartenbos - George - Camfer: GEA

Knysna - George: 24 / Jagerbos - Heights: NGG16 / Snyberg - Toorwaterpoort: 19B & 19D Oudtshoorn - Holgate: GMA

Jubilee - Ashton: GF / Ashton - Nuy Worcester: 25NC & 26 Wolseley - Prince Alfred Hamlet: 19D

The Union Limited Zambezi Steam Hauled Tours 2001
Product code: VR66
Out of stock
Single DVD - R

On 7th July, 2001, Bloemfontein based class 25NC, No 3410, set off on an epic 3000km journey from Pretoria with the Union Limited tour consist north to Zimbabwe. This was the first time a Transnet steam locomotive had undertaken a trip to this country. The tour is covered in detail over the 10 day period to and from Pretoria.

In addition, the programme also features some highlights of the concurrently running Zimfest or Zimbabwe Steam Festival. This included special trips with two class 20 Garratts and other locomotives from the Bulawayo museum preserved steam fleet, namely classes 9B, 12 and 15A. There are also sequences of classes 14A and 16A on the shunt in Bulawayo, at the time the only such regular operation with steam (not to mention Garratts) in the word.

Moving onto 1999, there are some views of steam around Bulawayo yet again and also construction trains on the new Beit Bridge to Bulawayo main line.

The Union Limited Maluti
Steam Hauled Tours 2001
Product code: VR64
Out of stock
Double set DVD - R

The two Union Limited long distance tour trains comprised 15 day trips that operated late July and August. Essentially round trips to Port Elizabeth and back, the tours each managed one final steam ascent over Lootsberg Pass, now destined to be indefinitely closed by Spoornet. The presentation features the first week of the second tour and Lootsberg Pass on both trips. The following routes and motive power feature in detail:

Cape Town - Dal Josafat Class 15F George - Oudtshoorn Class 24 + GL
Dal Josafat - Wolseley Class 15F + 25NC Oudtshoorn - Willowmore Class 24 + 19D
Wolseley - Ceres Class 19D Bethesda Road - Rosmead Class 19B + GMA
Worcester -Swellendam Class 15A + GO Patensie - Loerie Class NGG 16
Albertinia - Hartenbos Class GO + GL Swellendam - Ashton Class GF + GO
Hartenbos - Groot Brak River Class GEA Worcester - Cape Town Class 16D + 16DA
Hartenbos - George Class GO + GL
Montagu Pass - mixed train Class GL
George - Knysna Class 19D + GO

The Union Limited 2000
Double M - Millennium Magic
Maluti and Mountains
Product code: VR58
Double set DVD - R250.00

In 2000 Union Limited Tours operated three major tours, the Maluti, the Classic Mountains and a charter for the Railway Touring Group from UK. A variety of exciting routes are rendered here, covering the highlights of each tour. As usual we bring the viewer a balanced mixture of lineside action, on board footage, run pasts and plenty of scenery in all of 6 provinces.

Amongst the locomotive classes shown in action are the following:

Classes 7A, 7B, 12AR, 14CRB, 15F, 16D/DA, 16E, 19D, 19B, 23, 24, 25NC, 26, GEA, GF, GL, GMA, GO

The major routes covered are as follows:

Cape Town - Worcester (including the Ceres branch): Worcester - Ashton - Swellendam

Voorbaai - George - Knysna - Oudtshoorn - Willowmore; Graaff-Reinet - Middelburg - Colesburg - Springfontein - Bloemfontein - Kimberley; Redan - Pretoria - Witbank - Waterval Boven.

Transnet Heritage Foundation George Steam Festivals 1999-2000
Product code: VR57
240 min
Double set DVD -

The programme has been re-edited for DVD and starts with a condensed review of the opening of the George Outeniqua Railway Museum in September 1998. The majority of the action, however, takes place on the Knysna branch and the main line to George and over Montagu Pass to Oudtshoorn.

The following classes of locomotives are seen in action: B, 7A, 7B, 19D, 24, GB, GEA, GMA, GL, GO, NRZ 14A, NRZ 16A

As a follow up to the opening of the George Railway Museum and the few days of steam specials organised around the above Heritage Day weekend, it was decided to make this a yearly event. In this presentation we see the best of the 1999 and 2000 expanded steam weeks, with action on the Knysna branch, the line from Mossel Bay and Montagu Pass.

There were regular and special passenger trains (including visits by the Union Limited) and several enthusiast mixed trains.

The locomotives seen in action are as follows:
Classes B, 7A, 19D, 19B, 24, GB, GF, GL, GMA

In later years the extent of the Heritage week/days have been reduced in scale (besides which many of the locomotive classes are no longer in operation and the Knysna line itself was closed in August 2006, owing to extensive flood damage) thus we consider the content of this programme to be the most definitive and historic review of the steam festivals.

The Union Limited Spectacular Steam Tours 1997-9
Product code: VR56
240 min
Double set DVD -

This 240 minute blockbuster video presentation brings the viewer the best of the major enthusiast steam hauled trips over the past 3 years run in South Africa. These include portions of the Namaqua, Outeniqua, Golden Thread and Maluti tours. The coverage is unique since it comprises both on board and line side footage, as well as impressive scenery through 4 provinces. Action sequences of more than 22 of the Transnet Heritage Foundation's fleet of restored steam locomotives is seen in action in various parts of the country.

In detail the route and motive power are as follows:

Cape Town - Malmesbury - Vredendal Class 19D+19D
Sir Lowrys Pass - Botrivier Class GF+GO
Simonstown Branch Class 15A
Cape Town - Worcester Class 15F/25NC/16D+16DA
Ceres Branch Class 19D/GO
Franschhoek Branch Class 19D+GF
Worcester - Ashton - Swellendam Class 16D+16DA/GO+GF
Albertinia - Hartenbos Class GEA+NRZ 16A
Mosselbay - George Class GB/7A+7B/19D+GMA
George - Knysna Class 24/19D/GMA/S2
George - Camfer - Oudtshoorn Class 19D+GMA/GEA/GL
Oudtshoorn - Vondeling Class 19D/14CRB
Port Elizabeth - Narrow Gauge Class NGG 16
Graaff-Reinet - Middelburg Class 19D
Colesburg - Bloemfontein Class 23
Lady Grey - Motkop Reverses Class 19D
Bloemfontein - Bethlehem Class 25NC+16DA
Kroonstad - Bloemfontein Class 15F
Bloemfontein - Kimberley Class 23/16DA+16E
De Aar - Kimberley Class 26
De Aar - Beaufort West Class 25NC

Southern Cross Indian Ocean Limited Steam and Safaris 1999
Product code: VR55
Out of stock
Double set DVD - R

This tour by the UK based group broke more new ground with several days of steam hauled action in KwaZulu-Natal on the Pietermaritzburg-Donnybrook- Underberg- Matatiele-Kokstad branches, These last saw steam in the early 1970s. The traditional use of SAR era coaching stock here is likely to be the last since these have now been repainted for use by the THF; however mixed type freight trains are still the order of many days on the tour. In many ways this presentation will therefore be quite unique, with much that will not be seen again. In detail the routes are as follows:

Orange River - Kimberley Class 25NC (3454)
Kimberley - Bloemfontein Class 26
Bloemfontein - Bethlehem Class 25NC/15F
KwaZulu-Natal Branches Class 24 + GO
Lady Grey - Barkly East Class 19D
Springfontein - Colesburg Class 23
Miller - Oudtshoorn Class 19D
Oudtshoorn - George/Camfer Class 19D/GEA/7A + 7B
Wilderness - George Class 24
Caledon - Elgin Class GF

Steam Loco Safari Tours Cape Province Explorer V 1999
Product code: VR54
Double set DVD - R250.00

This group have organised several tours over the past few years and this the first to be featured by Vidrail in full. Again the use of preserved Transnet red and grey passenger coaching stock as well as SAR era mixed trains predominate. The video features lineside action and train runpasts. The sections covered are as follows;

Kempton Park - Redan Class 3E
Redan - Grootvlei Class 12AR
Bethlehem - Modderpoort Class 26, 15F, 25NC
Modderpoort - Bloemfontein Class 16DA + 16E
Bloemfontein - de Brug Class 25NC/15AR
Lady Grey - Tierkrans (Reverses) Class 19D
Aliwal North - Springfontein Class 19D + 15AR
Springfontein - Colesburg Class 23/15AR
Miller - Oudtshoorn Class 14CRB/24
George - Knysna Class 7A/24
Assegaaibos - Louterwater Class NGG16
George - Oudtshoorn Class 14CRB/GEA
Middelburg - Blouwater (Lootsberg) Class GMA
Thaba Nchu - Bloemfontein Class 16E + 15F
Bloemfontein - Theunissen Class 26
Theunissen - Kroonstad Class 25NC (3454)

Southern Cross Mountaineer Steam and Safaris 1998
Product code: VR52
Single DVD -

This steam hauled tour was the last in a series of trips to South Africa organised since the early 1990s. As usual, Steam and safaris have strived to provide authentic steam era (red and grey) coaching stock for the main train and period type mixed freights on certain branch lines that formed part of the itinerary in order to ensure photographers' satisfaction. The summary of routes covered and locomotive classes used on each are detailed as follows:

Durban - Pietermaritzburg Class 19D
Escourt - Bergville Class 19AR
Ladysmith - Bethlehem Class 25NC
Bethlehem - Bloemfontein Class 25NC
Bloemfontein - De Brug Class 15 AR
De Brug - Bloemfontein Class 16DA + 15E
Bloemfontein - Thaba Nchu Class 15F
Lady Grey - Barkly East Class 24
Middelburg - Graaff Reinet Class 19D
Willowmore - Oudtshoorn Class 14CRB / 19D
George - Knysna Class 7A + 7B
George - Oudtshoorn Class GMA
George - Camfer Class GEA
Ashton - Dal Josafat Class 15A
Dal Josafat - Cape Town Class 15F

The video covers the majority of photographic stops, on board scenes and views of the excellent scenery en route.

The Shimmer of Steel
1991 - 1998
Product code: VR50 (D1034)
Single DVD - R150.00

This programme complements the book by Dennis Moore "The Shimmer of Steel", distributed by Chris van Rensburg Publications, a celebration of the final years of steam in South Africa in the 1990s. The action sequences in the video may be closely identified within chapters of the book, although his presentation may also be enjoyed in its own right. This programme has proved to be our most popular title to date. More than 30 different classes of steam locomotives are featured.

The Magic Hours
Sunrise, sunset revealing gleaming steam trains in vivid colours. Locomotives shown in action frequently exhibit long steam and smoke trails.

The Devil and His Sisters
Featuring the Red Devil (No. 3450) and class 25NCs, as well as other visitors (classes 16E, 15CA, 15F, 25C) on the "Steam Racetrack" - Kimberley to De Aar - Main Line.

Mountain Vistas
The scenic railway lines in the Free State, Eastern and Western Cape feature prominently in this section with special and tour trains.

Transvaal Traveller
Special steam runs, the Trans Karoo, coal mines, preserved operations and a host of differing locomotive classes.

A World in One Branch Line
The preserved railway between George and Knysna. Its lakes, seascapes and forests are subject of this section.

Precious Metal
The steam operations on the gold and platinum mines in the Free State and former Transvaal are covered here.

Southern Stalwarts
A large number of unusual and interesting trains and locomotive classes in the southern part of the country are reviewed.

This has been our best selling programme to date. (Over 1500 copies sold from initial release, back in 1998!)

The Southern Cross Drakensberg Steam and Safaris Tour 1997
Product code: VR43
Single DVD - R150.00

In similar vein to their previous tour of the 1990s, this is yet another railway tour by Steam and Safaris. This also features mixed trains and red/grey SAR coaching stock over similar routes in the Free State, Northern, Eastern and Western Cape as the 1995 tour did (see VR36) but with some changes in motive power. In addition, we have excursions on the Grahamstown branch and along the narrow gauge line from Port Elizabeth for the first time in recent years, as well as varied excursions in the George region.

Twelve classes of locomotives are featured here: 7A, 7B, 14CRB, 15AR, 15E, 16D, 16DA, 19D, 25NC, GB, GEA, and NG15. The programme comprises two DVDs for a total playing time of 208 minutes.

The Union Limited Steam Tours 1995-1996
Product code: VR42
Double set DVD - R250.00

This six and half hour long double DVD set features the best of the Union Limited tours during the two year period. Highlights of various tours are shown: Namaqua, Golden Thread, Outeniqua, Zig-Zag and Umgeni tours. Routes cover over 6000km through five provinces: Western, Eastern and Northern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Routes featured are to Klawer, Caledon, Franschhoek, Porterville, Ceres, Worcester, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Klipplaat, Port Elizabeth (narrow gauge), Lootsberg, Barkly East, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Bethlehem, and Port Shepstone (narrow gauge).

No less than twenty various type of Transnet and Spoornet locomotives are seen in service: classes 7A, 7B, 14CRB, 15A, 15AR, 15E, 15FR, 16D, 16DA, 16E, 19C, 19D, 23, 24, 25NC, 26, GB, GF, GL, GO, S2, NRZ 16A, NGG16, 3E, 4E, 31 and 32.

The tour rolling stock was largely made up of many of the original Union Limited coaches, painted in pre 1960s SAR era imperial brown colour scheme. This was changed in 1996 to a blue and grey livery, somewhat related to the pre 1972 old Blue Train colours. The Blue Train replaced the old Union Limited service during the 1940s.

The Union Limited Zambezi 1997
205 min
Product code: VR40
Single DVD - R150.00

This documentary programme covers the 2500km journey undertaken with the Union Limited tour train during May and June between Cape Town and Victoria Falls. During this centenary year (the first steam train reached Bulawayo in 1897) the authentic route from the Cape via De Aar, Kimberley, Mafeking, Plumtree and Bulawayo was followed.

Motive power comprises:

South Africa, classes 16D, 16Da AND 25NC
Zimbabwe: classes 14A, 15A, 16A and 20th; also a Zambian 10th class

The 1999 portion reviews construction trains along the new Beit Bridge Railway link.

The Southern Cross Adventurer 1996
Product code: VR39
2 hours 10 minutes
Single DVD R150.00

This 15 day steam tour began in Bloemfontein, Free State and then steadily made its way down country through the Northern and Eastern Cape and finally terminated in the Western Cape. The DVD featured highlights are the Lootsberg Pass, the scenic Vondeling - Oudtshoorn line and Montagu Pass.

The following motive power was featured:

Bloemfontein - Tweespruit: class 15AR (4-8-2) (not shown)
Bloemfontein - Kimberley: class 16E (4-6-2)
Springfontein - Colesburg: class 25NC (4-8-4)
Lootsburg (Middelburg - Blouwater): class GMA (4-8-2+2-8-4)
Klipplaaat - Oudtshoorn: class GMA
Montagu Pass (Oudtshoorn - George): classes GEA (4-8-2+2-8-4), GMA and 14CRB (4-8-2)
George - Knysna: classes 7A (4-8-0), 19C/19D (4-8-2) and 24 (2-8-4)
Robertson - Wolseley - Prince Alfred Hamlet: class GF (4-6-2+2-6-4)

The Drakensberg Farewell Steam and Safaris Tour 1995
Product code: VR36
Single DVD - R150.00

This enthusiast 14 day long steam tour was organised to operate through the Free State, Eastern, Western and Northern Cape during mid-winter of 1995 in order to benefit from the optimum photographic opportunities, in line with previous steam tours such as the Cape Mountaineers tours of 1990 and 1992. Up to then, most steam tours commenced in Johannesburg or Cape Town, but this 1995 tour started in Bloemfontein.

It was considered one of the best from the 1990s owing to no less than 12 days sunny weather, somewhat unusual given the Cape rainy season during the winter months. Further, no less than eleven different classes of locomotives were featured. Side excursions with mixed train added a measure of authenticity to the video sequences. Even the main coaching set was requested in the traditional SAR Further no less than twelve different classes of locomotives were featured. Side excursions with mixed train added a measure of authenticity to the video sequences. Even the main coaching set was requested in the traditional SAR era red and grey colour scheme.

The highlights include the Barkly East reverses, Sterkstroom - Maclear branch and the Lootsberg, Montagu and Sir Lowrys Passes. Locomotives: classes 6J, 7A, 15A, 16D, 16DA, 19C, 19D, 24, 25NC, GMAM and GO. This 172 minute DVD features most of the photographic run-bys, plus the magnificent scenery along the varied sections.

Southern African Railway Roundabout 1993 (Part 1) and Cape Wanderer steam tour.
Product code: VR32
Out of stock (previous code VR25)
Double set DVD - R

The pilot DVD of this series follows on from the above (VR31), but moves two years ahead, and also comprises several volumes along the same lines as VR31. This pilot programme comprises action seen during the first part 1993 (late summer to autumn).

As described above, the DVD disc set also covers some later material in 1993.

A trip on the Alfred County Narrow gauge with steam; action at SANRASM site near Krugersdorp and a multitude of steam operations to Magaliesburg; Randfontein Estates Garratts; Trans Karoo with steam as well as Rovos Rail trips; steam action around Waterval Boven; the final weeks of steam at Vryheid Coronation and Enyati collieries in Natal; Rustenburg Platinum Mines; Garratts at Tweefontein colliery and 14Rs at Greenside near Witbank; some steam action in the Transvaal with a Union Limited tour; steam activity at Pretoria station including the Blue Train shunt; the two-week "Cape Wanderer" tour in the Western Cape. (Cape Town - Klawer; Caledon; Ceres; Worcester - George/Knysna and Montagu Pass/Toorwaterpoort)

Locomotives include classes 4E, 14CRB, 15F, 19C, 19D, 24, 25NC, GO and GMA

Southern African Railway Roundabout 1991 (Part 1)
Product code: VR31 (Previous code VR12)
240 min
Double set DVD - R250.00

The pilot programme of this series is now available and will eventually comprise several volumes. These will feature all manner of operation, but chiefly steam over the whole sub-continent. There are condensed reviews of past tours, but also much by way of operations not yet shown on our programmes.

This pilot video here shows the following filmed in late 1990 and early 1991 and features numerous steam locomotive classes in service as well as some modern traction:

The DVD release, being a double programme runs further into the winter of 1991; however the second video volume is continued accordingly. (see VR79)

The basic contents:

Steam specials to Cullinan and Magaliesburg; the final steam hauled passenger trains into the Free State; Randfontein Estates GMA action; the Trans Karoo under steam; steam specials and regular action in and around Bulawayo; a condensed version of Transnet Museum's March "The Indian Ocean Limited" steam trip to the Cape and back; preserved steam around SANRASM site at Krugersdorp; preserved steam in Namibia; steam in action at various Witbank collieries; some of the last remaining steam on the de Aar - Kimberley line; review of the final steam in and around Springs and Germiston and more.

Steam and Safaris The Namaqualander 1994
Product code: VR30
110 min
Single DVD R150.00

In September 1994, Steam and Safaris operated an extended version of their "Cape Wanderer" steam tour of the previous year, 1993. This 1994 tour began in Cape Town and terminated 14 days later in George. The highlights include steam over Sir Lowries' Pass to Caledon, a complete trip up the lengthy Bitterfontein branch in Namaqualand, Oudtshoorn to Toorwater poort, the Montagu Pass and the George-Knysna branch.

The various locomotives employed over the various sections were as follows

Electric - class 4E 1Co-Co1
Steam - classes 7A & 7B 4-8-0
Steam - classes 14CRB 4-8-2
Steam - classes 15F 4-8-2
Steam - classes 16D 4-6-2
Steam - classes 19C & 19C 4-8-2
Steam - classes 24 2-8-4
Steam - classes 25NC 4-8-4
Steam - classes GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4

Rail Safaris - Zambezi Tour 1994
Product code: VR29
Out of stock
Single DVD R

This 15 day steam hauled tour, operated by Rail Safaris of Bulawayo (originally owned by Geoff Cooke, who now runs "Geoff's Trains" from the UK, see VR 82/83 programmes) was chartered by UK based Steam and Safaris group back in August 1994 for a party of overseas railway enthusiasts.

It was the most comprehensive s trip of its kind to date and featured steam trips in three countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. The excursion in Zambia to Mulobezi (Zambezi Sawmills Railway) was only the second since 1973, but was destined to be the final steam journey over this famous branch line.

The steam trip to Francistown was the first since dieselisation of the main line through Botswana, back in 1972. The following routes are therefore featured:

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo to Heany Junction, Colleen Bawn, Plumtree and Victoria Falls;
Zambia: Victoria Falls - Livingstone - Mulobezi
Botswana: Plumtree - Francistown and Selebi Phikwe mine

Steam classes appearing: NRZ 7, 9B, 12, 14, 14A, 15A, 19 and 20th

Union Limited Steam Railtours Cape Routes 1994
Product code: VR28 
Out of stock
230 min
Single DVD R

This programme covers various Union Limited tours during 1993, whilst the service was still based in Gauteng and finally the March 1994 "Cape Routes" tour, which saw the stock leave Johannes burg for the last time eventually bound for its new home at Dal Josafat, in the Western Cape.

Between May and December 1993, a number of long and short distance tours were operated out Johannesburg; these were "The Tropics", "Holland Afrika", "Mafeking Weekender", "Outeniqua", "Mafeking Express" and "Langeberg".

The Union Limited "Cape Routes" of March 1994 covered the following section:
Johannesburg-Bloemfontein-Kimberley-Cape Town-Worcester-George-Oudtshoorn-Vondeling-George-Knysna and then return to Cape Town via the same route through Worcester.

There are a considerable number of different steam locomotive classes featured in this programme, viz: 7A, 14CRB, 15A, 15CA, 15F, 16D, 16DA, 19C, 19D, 23, 24, 25NC, 26, 32, GB, GF, GMA and 4E

The Cape Mountaineer II and Railway Roundabout 1992 (Part 1)
Product code: VR22
205 min
Single DVD - R150.00

Steam Safaris Limited organised another winter enthusiasts steam hauled tour train through South Africa's popular Cape mountain areas in May and June 1992. Their route covered some 4 900 km and was a sequel to the successful 1990 trip of the same name. Some 17 classes of Transnet Museum locomotives are featured.

Johannesburg - Redan Class 25NC 4-8-4
Redan - Balfour Class 7A 4-8-0
Bethlehem - Sannaspos Class 15F 4-8-2
Lady Grey - Motkop Class GB 2-6-2 + 2-6-2
Sterkstroom - Elliot Class 19D + 19D 4-8-2
Elliot - Maclear - Sterkstroom Class 19D 4-8-2
Stormberg - Rosmead Class 15AR + 14CRB 4-8-2
Rosmead - Lootsberg - Graaff Reinet Class 19D 14CRB 4-8-2
Toorwater - Oudtshoorn Class 19D 4-8-2
Oudtshoorn - George Class 19D + Class 24 4-8-2 / 2-8-4
Knysna - George Class 24 2-8-4
George - Camfer Class GMA 4-8-2 + 2-8-4
Riversdale - Ashton - Hartenbos Class GMA 4-8-2 + 2-8-4
Hartenbos - George Class 19D + Class GMA
George - Camfer Class 24 + Class 19C 2-8-4 / 4-8-2
Camfer - Klipplaat Class 19C 4-8-2
Lootsberg Class 14CRB / Class 19D 4-8-2
De Aar - Belmont Class 15CA 4-8-2
Orange River Class 25C 4-8-4
Belmont Class 6J 4-6-0
Orange River - Kimberley Class 25NC 4-8-4
Krugersdorp - Syferbult Class 16D + 16DA 4-6-2
Krugersdorp - Magaliesburg Class 15A 4-8-2
Krugersdorp Class S2 0-8-0

The highlights of the tour include the vintage GB Garratt on the Barkly East switchback line and the last steam workings over Lootsberg Pass (closed in 1993).

The Railway Roundabout (1991 part I) section includes Pretoria, Magaliesburg and Trans Karoo steam; Blue train and modern traction freights; Rustenburg, Randfontein and Witbank mines steam; SANRASM; Alfred County narrow gauge; Waterval Boven steam; Union Limited Transvaal steam. Classes featured are 6A, 14R, 15CA, 15CB, 15F, 16D, 16DA, 19D, 15NC, GMA, NG15, NGG16; 34, 5E1, 6E1, 7E, 9E

The Union Limited Outeniqua 1992
Product code: VR20 
Out of stock
137 min
Single DVD R

The first part of this programme covers the summer of 1992 rail tour from Johannesburg to the Western Cape and back via the Eastern Cape and Free State. The route followed was as follows: Johannesburg - Klerksdorp - Kimberley - De Doorns - Dal Josafat - Franschhoek - Cape Town - Worcester - Hartenbos - George - Knysna - Oudtshoorn - Klipplaat - Rosmead - Bloemfontein - Kroonstad - Johannesburg.

The second part of the programmes features several Union Limited short tours and departures/returns of several long distance tours around the Rand and Transvaal regions: Zambezi, Langeberg, Magaliesburg and Cullinan trips.

The classes of locomotives featured over the entire programme, many of which are double headed combinations: 15A, 15AR, 15CA, 15E, 15F, 16E, 19C, 19D, 23, 24, 25NC, GF, GMA, GO and 4E

Cherriots of Fire
Double-Heading to Cherry Festival Ficksburg
CVP Productions (Paul Hloben
Product code: CVP1
85 min
Single DVD - R180.00

The train to the Ficksburg Cherry Festival was hauled by Reefsteamers' flagship, 25NC No. 3472 double-headed with 15F No. 3016. The locos performed flawlessly and attracted the attention of many bystanders and motorists.

It was quite chilly the next morning and made for a spectacular show of condensing steam as the two engines made their way up the steep grade out of Bethlehem. By the time the sun was up, all the passengers marvelled at the scenery. But the heavens opened up, turning the railway track and festival grounds into a mud pit.

The next day Reefsteamers ran three trips to offer others at the festival the opportunity of experiencing steam travel from a bygone era. That evening the crews prepared the locomotives for the return trip, hoping to make an early start.

The trains pulled out of Ficksburg just after 5AM. With the sun just piercing over the horizon and through the golden sandstone cliffs, one could not stop wondering if this was a paradise on earth.

On the Footplate
Driving & Firing Steam Locomotive
The closest you'll ever get to driving, firing and servicing a steam locomotive
CVP Productions (Paul Hloben)
Product code: CVP2
85 min
Single DVD - R180.00

Before the planned departure, the fireman shovels coal into the firebox and checks the steam pressure. The driver tests the brakes for the whole of the train and also checks the motion parts. He stares out of the window waiting for the "right away" signal. Then he pulls the regulator handle towards him. As soon as the steam force of the engine kicks in and the train begins to move, he gently releases the handle for a slow, smooth acceleration. The engine gracefully leaves the station through the maze of points and crossings.

A 100km further, the driver sends the whistle signal and moves the train over the ash pit for the fireman to clean the fire, take on water and a load of coal. The driver oils and greases the loco and makes sure that the train is properly serviced. On the footplate the driver is the boss, and the fireman is under his supervision.

Reefsteamers Great Trek
From the Reef to Drakensburg
CVP Productions (Paul Hloben

Product code: CVP3
75 min
Single DVD - R180.00

When steam traction made way for other means of transportation, the parting was sweet sorrow for those who remember its finest moments. The steam locomotive was too grand a machine to disappear into oblivion. A wave of steam enthusiasm swept the world and South Africa was not an exception.

Reefsteamers are a group of amateur volunteers that are dedicated steam preservationists. A team of enginemen reports on duty to light up the engines and make sure that the right pressure has been generated before the departure. The locomotive has been oiled, greased and polished. With the tender filled by coal and water, the locomotive is ready for the right away signal.

A steam whistle breaks the silence. The train starts to move and veritable billows of smoke shoot rhythmically from the chimneys high into the sky. The mine dumps of Goldfields speed by, bridges whip overhead and railway crossings sing their warning songs. The train is leaving Johannesburg for the wide-open spaces of Africa.

Steamy Giants of the Drakensberg
Great steam extravaganza under Drakensburg Mountains
CVP Productions (Paul Hloben)

Product code: CVP4
80 min
Single DVD - R180.00

Golden sandstone cliffs and snow-covered Drakensberg mountains is an unparalleled natural setting to anywhere in the world for a great steam extravaganza of the post-steam age. The giants of African steam return to this magnificent scenic railway and wind their way through this highland region between Bethlehem and Ficksburg.

During the steam era of railways, this Eastern Free State line played host to Class 12 and a few different Class 15 engines and from the early 1970s to the biggest non-articulated engines on the continent - the mighty Class 25NCs - some of these featured in this documentary.

Meeting their narrow gauge cousins near Sekonyela, they take a short rest as tiny sugarcane locomotives try to impress the weary traveller. Then the Garratts take over. Single and double-headed they beat up to great finale with three locomotives hauling the longest 2-foot narrow gauge train ever.

The spirit of steam lives on if only for a week.

Steam Spectacular
South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe
Product code: FD123
112 min
Blu-ray - R200.00

The very best of preserved and working steam trains in Southern Africa filmed over a four year period by enthusiast and cameraman Jean Dulez.

Living in South Africa, Jean was uniquely able to travel throughout the African sub-continent to seek out the most spectacular locations to film preserved steam at its best. He was also able to record the amazing spectacle of some of the last pockets of working industrial steam trains in the 21st century in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

It takes an ardent enthusiast and expert photographer to compile a series of sequences of such high quality. Producer Peter Middleton was simply blown away when he first saw the spectacular sequences contained within. The scenery, the weather, the wide variety of steam action over main lines, branch lines, the so-called Cape Gauge (3ft 6ins) plus narrow gauge lines all combine to make this a steam spectacle not to be missed.

The film starts with a brief history of railways in Southern Africa followed by detailed maps and graphics throughout. This is a spectacle that you will want to watch and listen to over and over again, so we have added a commentary off button to allow you to listen to the wonderful stereo sounds of steam engines hard at work without interruption.

Filmed between 2013 and 2017.

Narrated by Jonathan Kydd.
Written and filmed by Jean Dulez.
Produced by Peter Middleton.

Steam Fever
Frameline Television
Product code: FRA 01
60 min
Single DVD - R160.00

A detailed review of the South African steam scene, with emphasis on the De Aar to Kimberley line, the class 25NCs and the "Red Devil", the railwaymen, enthusiasts and scenery. This is a superbly professional documentary that has appeared on National TV in South Africa in abridged format. This is the full length version that captures the essence of South African steam in its final glory years and a must for enthusiast and interested viewer alike.

Steam Safari
South African Steam Power in action in the 1980s
Frameline Television
Product code: FRA 02
Single DVD - R160.00

A detailed look at SOUTH AFRICAN STEAM POWER in the early 1980s.
Made in 1983, this 45-minute documentary takes a detailed look at a 4000 km "Steam Safari" running from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

From the immaculate Class 24s of the George-Knysna branch line, to the giant 25NC workhorses that once plied the arterial routes of the Great Karoo, "Steam Safari" introduces a feast of different locomotives against a changing pageant of backgrounds:

GMAM Garratts on the Outeniqua Pass and the Crocodile River Gorge;
Class 16E on a long, fast run to Kimberley;
Class 15F at Springs Locomotive Depot;
Class 12AR and 15AR on the Port Elizabeth line;
Double-headed 19Ds in the Little Karoo;
The "Apple Express". . . and many more.

"Steam Safari" was the first railway-oriented programme produced by Frameline, in 1983. Although it looks a little old-fashioned by modern documentary standards, the quality from the original 16mm negative film is far superior to the video quality of the day. We hope you enjoy this step back into the past, which was in itself an exercise in nostalgia!

The Apple Express
South Africa's Avontuur Railway
Frameline Television
Product code: FRA 03
Single DVD - R160.00

South Africa's Avontuur Railway was one of the few remaining narrow gauge lines on the continent. Rich in history, atmosphere and natural beauty, it was still a stronghold of steam until very recently.

This video takes an in-depth look at its past, present and future, and at the delightful little locomotives that are the heroes of its story.

Desert Steam
Through the Namib with the Union Limited
Frameline Television
Product code: FRA 04
Single DVD - R160.00

Join South Africa's celebrated Union Limited on a 5000 km steam odyssey - a pioneering journey into the Namib Desert. Aboard this authentic thirties-style train, you'll relive the grand old days of colonial rail travel. Through the vast thirstlands of Southern Africa, your steam trek will take you across the arid plains of Namibia and down to the Atlantic Ocean.

This video brings you steam in glorious action, as the Union Limited plies the inhospitable wastes of scrub and sand. And it takes you right on board the first mainline steam passenger train that Namibia has seen in 40 years!

Golden Thread
The Splendours of the Garden Route
Frameline Television
Product code: FRA 05
Out of stock
Single DVD - R

Although nothing was quite like travelling with The Union Limited, we trust this video will capture some of the beauty, splendour and excitement of the Golden Thread Steam Safari and bring back memories of good company, new friends and the exhilaration of travelling by steam.

This video takes you from Cape Town into the Parl winelands, the wheatlands of the Southern Cape, through the Montagu pass and the majestic Outeniqua mountains, the Lake District and Knysna, along the coast at Wilderness and across barren plains of semi-desert and beautiful Klein Karoo scenery.

The Great South African Steam Train Festival 1989
SA Railways Northern Cape Region
Goodheart Productions
Product code: GP6
60 min
Single DVD - R150.00

Although Vidrail have featured this event on another programme, the Goodheart version brings the viewer a differing perspective with many different scenes - classes 25NC, 25C, 26, 15CA, 15F, GMAM, 23, 12AR, 16E and 24.

Pure Steam Magic
Ray Freeman Productions
Product code: RP738
60 min
Single DVD - R150.00

PURE STEAM MAGIC -After the premature demise of steam traction on British Railways during 1968 only a handful of diminutive industrial tanks continued for a few more years operating in small N.C.B. pits.

But in Southern Africa ex-mainline locomotives are in daily use working hard for their new masters. In the U.K. the steam enthusiast can only watch a monotonous procession of steam engines "chuffing" along a preserved railway. Of course the Light Railway Order prohibits any mercurial running and loco longevity demands that the preserved steam engine must be driven with care at nowhere near its design maximum output. In Pure Steam Magic we can witness again "RAW" steam power- the magnificent sight and sound of a large powerful steam locomotive working flat-out hauling heavy trains against gruelling steep gradients.

We visit many busy large industrial rail systems in Zimbabwe and South Africa, some of which were still in operation early in 2012! You will see truly awesome dawn to dusk footage illuminated by the luminescent light that is unique to Africa. The non-stop steam action includes atmospheric early dawn scenes at active steam sheds, fast run-pasts with unbelievable smoke and steam effects and glorious golden sunsets that only winter in Africa can produce. A professional voice-over that is unobtrusive, accompanies the programme, so allowing the viewer to enjoy the sounds of the loco's shattering exhaust beats to be heard unhindered.

All the sequences were recorded live. R.F.P. was not part of any organised tour, nor were any scenes rehearsed or staged. The steam locos were being driven skilfully at their design maximum outputs during their normal daily operations. This 60 minute video was recorded on component broadcast equipment in full Hi-Fi stereo. Pure Steam Magic is our most dramatic railway video yet. It is the definitive programme for the steam aficionado who demands continuous and devastating action that only "REAL WORKING STEAM" can provide.

Locomotive Classes Featured

Class 4 4-8-2
Class 6 4-6-0

Class 15CA 4-8-2
Class 15F 4-8-2
Class H 4-8-2T
Class GEA 4-8-2+2-8-4
Class GMAM 4-8-2+2-8-4
Class 15TH 4-6-4+4-6-4
Class 19TH 4-8-2

We also add in a bonus 60min feature of the De Aar-Kimberley line, with its class 25NCs, still in regular service during the late 1980s.

Return of the Giants
Product code: SHT01
86 min
Single DVD - R160.00

The Eastern Free State was once one of the world's greatest theatres of steam. At the end of the 1990s, the Sandstone Steam Railroad Company began a new initiative to bring back the glory days of steam. This DVD tracks the development of the Company, the restoration of its locomotives and rolling stock, and the challenges that faced steam preservation in South Africa at the time.

It will also take you back to the days when powerful locomotives working daily trains were a common sight, when drivers and firemen were men of grit and mettle, and when it seemed that the Golden Age of Railways would never end.

The Sandstone Steam Railroad Company was committed to bringing back this glorious past, reviving a great scenic railway and preserving a piece of South Africa's unique steam heritage. Although circumstances have changed, the dream is still alive and being carried forward by the Sandstone Heritage Trust and its partners in the Steam-in-Action initiative. This DVD is a reminder of the very beginning of that renaissance.

In this video:

GMAM Garratts, 25 NCs, 15Fs and more
The restoration of locomotives, rolling stock and infrastructure
On the footplate of a mainline freight

The 2011 Sandstone Steam Gala
Frameline Television
Product code: SHT07 Out of stock
50 min
Single DVD -

This programme follows a week-long narrow gauge steam extravaganza held on the Sandstone Narrow Gauge Railway in the beautiful Eastern Free State region of South Africa.

No less than 22 engines were steamed during the event - from tiny industrial locomotives to mighty Garratts which would not look out of place on the standard gauge.

The diversity of motive power, the variety of rolling stock and the train configurations that these allowed for, make this a must-see for anyone who loves the sights, sounds and special ambience of the great age of steam.

The undoubted highlight featured four Garratts heading a mega train - a first anywhere in the country.

The Blue Train
Product code: TM1
Out of stock
Compilation (1972 -2001)
90 min
Single DVD - R

This programme commences with an archive film dealing with concept, construction and commissioning of the new upgraded Blue Train in the early seventies, and is followed by an update video made some years later. It is updated with Vidrail footage from 1989 onwards featuring the new class 12E units, the Blue Train steam "shunt" in Pretoria, and three unique and rare main line steam runs.

This video has been further updated in 1998 and 1999 with new sequences covering the refurbished (1997) Blue Train.

Best of Southern African Steam 1983-1990.
Product code: VR1000 (25-disc set)
(Discs can be purchased separately - see individual VR number below)

This is a 25-disc DVD set featuring both regular and special operations on a region by region basis during this period, no doubt the last full decade of major steam operations around the sub-continent.

Each disc is of approximately 115 minutes duration and these are provided in sets of 2 discs for best pricing and coverage of the subject matter at R250.00 per set (except set 3, which comprises 3 discs at R300.00)

Although the sets should be purchased complete e.g. Set 1 (Product code VR1001) with Discs 1 and 2 it is possible to purchase an individual disc - each Disc has its own VR number for ordering purposes.

All individual, single order discs, are priced at R150.00 each or R250.00 per set of two DVDs.

Since the video work was sourced on the equipment of the day (in most cases over 25 years ago) the picture quality is still reasonable (note, no 8mm film conversions), but may lack some definition at times. The majority of video footage was completed using professional U-matic equipment, with a limited amount of supplementary Video-8 material during our cameramens' 100 000km/8 year plus trek around the country. Since the material cannot unfortunately be re-filmed, the series will appeal to those who lived through the end of steam and want to relive what it was really all about, much of this still authentic freight and passenger operations.

In total, the whole series of 25 discs comprises more than 48-hours of the best steam action of the 1980s on the subcontinent

Roughly divided into 8 railway regions, (named Parts 1 through 8 in the original video series) it is easier to track via the disc numbers as such.

Set 1 (Product code VR1001)

Disc 1 Western & Southern Cape Regions
Product code: VR15

Specials around the Cape Town area; Paarl to Worcester; Worcester to Touws River & Hex River Pass; Worcester to Hartenbos; Mossel Bay shuttles; Hartenbos to George specials; George to Knysna; Montagu Pass specials; Oudtshoorn to Klipplaat; Port Elizabeth workings; Narrow gauge workings to Loerie (Apple Express) and regular steam to Gamtoos and Patensie, as well as a full special tour to Avontuur.

The classes of locomotives featured are 19D, 25NC, GMA, 24, GO, 19C, 12R, 15AR, 15F, NG11, NG15, NGG16.

Disc 2 Eastern Cape Coastal and Adjacent Regions
Product code: VR16A

East of Port Elizabeth to Kirkwood, Alexandria, Alicedale, Grahamstown and Port Alfred (regular freight and special workings); Main line to Cookhouse and Amabele; Kei Road to Butterworth (Kei Pass); Sterkstroom to Elliot; main line to Rosmead; Stormberg to Rosmead: Klipplaat to Graaff-Reinet.
Classes featured: 19D, 24, 15AR, 14CRB, 15F.

Set 2 (Product code VR1002)

Disc 3 Eastern Cape Interior and Natal Coastal Regions
Product code: VR16B

Lootsburg Pass (to Middelburg); Lady Grey to Barkly East (reverses); Noupoort to Springfontein
Port Shepstone to Harding narrow gauge (SAR era and ACR); Ixopo - Donnybrook
Classes featured are: 12R, 14CRB, 15AR, GF, 19D, 16E, NG15, NG16, NG16A

Disc 4 Natal - Part 2; North and South Eastern Free State
Product code: VR17

Durban area (Umgeni Railway specials); Natal South and North coasts; Pietermaritzburg and Hilton specials; Umgala, Vryheid Coronation and Enyati Colliery railways;
Bethlehem to Van Reenen; Warden to Harrismith and Sanniespos to Aliwal North - specials and regular workings.
Classes featured are 19AR, 14R, A, NB Tanks, 24, 1B, 15CA, 19B, GF, GEA, 15F, 19D,

Set 3 (Product code VR1003)

Disc 5 Free State - Bethlehem Line - Part I
Product code: VR18A

This scenic line, extending to Bloemfontein, famous until the end of steam in 1987, is covered in detail and features the regular Class 25NC freight and passenger workings. Also shown are some trains with the class 23 and 15Fs in charge.

Disc 6 Free State - Bethlehem Part II; Southern and Western Regions
Product code: VR18B

Review of steam between Bethlehem and Bloemfontein is completed with specials that took place on the line; then the main line around Springfontein (Class 16E, 16DA) and the Fauresmith branch (Class 19D); finally the main line between Bloemfontein and Kimberley, featuring heavy double headed freights powered by Classes 25C, 25NC and the Red Devil (Class 26); Also some 15F and 19D operations.

Disc 7 Free State - West and North
Product code: VR19

We complete review of the operations on the line to Kimberley until the end of regular steam early in 1990; the line north to Kroonstad, specials and tours; all the mines in the Welkom area, with some rare classes of steam power; Theunissen to Winburg branch; pick up duties and shunts at Virginia and Hennenman; finally the main line to Vereeniging, which saw specials and also some regular passenger trains, steam powered on certain special days - Classes include 25NC, 15F, 26, 16E, 19D, 15AR, 10CR, NB Tanks, 11, 3BR, 19B, 14R, 16CR and 23

Set 4 Northern Cape Steam Part I (Product code VR1004)

Disc 8 1984-86
Product code: VR33A Out of stock

This series covers the famous high traffic double main track between De Aar and Kimberley in its prime years, prior to large scale dieselization and well before the electrification had even been proposed; the class 25NCs reigned supreme on both freight and many passengers duties; All the action is covered, shed sequences at both ends, cold early winter mornings, hot summer days, double-headed and single locomotive operations; highlights include the 1984 de Aar steam festival and 1985 Kimberley railway centenary.

Disc 9 1987-88
Product code: VR33B

The action continues, which is why these discs have been combined as a set of two; well-known locomotives are featured such as Nos 3511, 3454, 3450 and 3436. Also seen in action are 16E No 858 and 15CA No 2828

Set 5 Northern Cape Steam Part II (Product code VR1005)

Disc 10 1989-90
Product code: VR34A Out of stock

We complete the review of the de Aar to Kimberley main line; (most regular steam finished during the early part of 1991); One of notable the highlights of this disc was the 1989 Steam Festival that some 10 classes of preserved locomotives, in addition to the regular 25NCs, namely 25C, 26, 15CA, 24, 12AR, GMA, 23 and 16E; there is regular action, both during winter and summer; passenger (including Trans Karoo and Orange Express), special and single and double headed freight workings; all the famous stations on the line feature e.g. Modderriver, Witput, Orange River, Kraankuil, Houtkraal etc.

Disc 11 Kimberley - Warrenton - Vryburg - Mafeking
Product code: VR34B Out of stock

Some unfinished action on the de Aar line in the summer of 1990 is covered; then we move north to the electrified line to Warrenton (Classes 25NC, No 3454, Class 26, No 3450 and 16E No 858 on specials; regular steam 25NC operations on the Warrenton to Vryburg line; regular steam on the line to Mafikeng, starting with the final 19D and GMA Garratt operations in 1983, ending with the last 25NC operations in 1988, including cab rides.

Set 6 Cape Northern part III, Western Transvaal (Product code VR1006)

Disc 12 Cape Northern III, Western Transvaal I
Product code: VR45A Out of stock

The review of steam around Mafikeng is completed with 19D yard shunts and interesting shuttle operations to the Botswana border in 1987 and 1988; next, the line between Klerksdorp and Warrenton (No 3450 Trans Karoo); industrial operations at Vaal Reefs Gold Mine, Orkney (class 19Ds); the first class 25NC powered Trans Karoo operations between Johannesburg and Klerksdorp; the main line between Mafekeng and Krugersdorp (specials with 15Fs) and finally the first part of our review of the popular line between Johannesburg and Magaliesburg (1983-85) - classes 15F, 15E, 19D, 6A, 14R, 15CA

Disc 13 Western Transvaal II - Magaliesburg Line
Product code: VR45B

The review of steam (1986-1988) on the Magaliesburg tourist line is continued; there are the usual multitude of specials, some test trains, sequences on the Hekpoort branch; differing classes of locomotives now appear: 15A, GF, GL, GMA, 24, 16DA and 25NC, in addition to those shown on the previous disc.

Set 7 West Rand Steam - Millsite and Randfontein Estates Gold Mine (Product code VR1007)

Disc 14 West Rand
Product code: VR46A Out of stock

Some remaining operations (day trains and long distance specials) are reviewed during the course of 1990 (15E, 15F, GF, GMA, 16DA, 12AR, 15CA); the focus then shifts to the old Millsite steam depot outside Krugersdorp, where the last of the 15F pickup and shunt duties came to an end in late 1987; finally a review of the South African National Railway and Steam Museum (SANRASM) operations, located between Krugersdorp and Randfontein, as well as their new Chamdor site - numbers of rare and interesting locomotives are to be seen in action: Class 6A, various industrial tank locomotives and the modified ex SAR class 19D "Wardale".

Disc 15 Randfontein Estates Gold Mine
Product code: VR46B

This system started operations with class GMA Garratts in the early 1980s and we trace the early years on this hard working system; later the heavy climb to Doornkop shaft came into service; There are also sequences of hire 15Fs from Millsite and the shuttle/stores service class 15BR; we feature the scenes favoured by enthusiasts - early summer mornings, late afternoon stormy conditions and sunsets, featuring occasional double-headed or banking operations.

Set 8 East Rand Steam (Product code VR1008)

Disc 16 Germiston; East and Rand
Product code: VR47A Out of stock

Specifically for lovers of the class 15F, this disc covers the final years of once great Germiston steam depot with its massive allocation of 15Fs and some other classes - S1, 15CA, 19D, 12AR, 16DA, all of which are seen at times in service on shunts and pick up turns; historic locomotive line ups and operations during 1985 and the Rand Tram week in April 1990 (Class B, Kitson, Kessler 14T, 12AR, 16DA, 19D, 25NC); main line south to Vereeniging (passenger trains and freight turns); the link line between Redan, on the Vereeniging line, Grootvlei (on the Free State link line) and Balfour North on the main line to Natal - specials and freight turns (15F or 15CA); finally the industrial tank locomotives at the Rand Water pumping station.

Disc 17 South Rand and Springs
Product code: VR47B Out of stock

Focus here shifts to the special workings on the main line between Johannesburg and Heidelburg, which became an alternative to the Magaliesburg operations in late 1980s (15F, 15CA, 12AR, 19D, 16DA); then a look at the 15F pickups on the far East Rand; next, Springs depot (class 15F, plus some other visitors), and the regular class 15F freight turns operating from Welgedag yard; finally the Grootvlei Gold mine, to the east of Springs, with its unique class S and 14R ore/passenger hauling operations.

Set 9 Far East Rand &Eastern Transvaal Regions (Product code VR1009)

Disc 18 Springs - Nigel - Bethal
Product code: VR48 Out of stock

Here we review the heavy freights that operated daily between Springs and Nigel (15F, 15CA, 25NC); then the main line out east to Bethal and Breyten (15F, 15CA, 25NC, 12AR, 16DA) which still featured some daily freight workings in the 1980s; finally some special and freight turns on the electrified main line between Springs and Witbank (15F, 16DA)

Disc 19 Pretoria - Cullinan - Witbank I
Product code: VR59A

Passenger and freight trip workings on the line to Rayton and Cullinan were still in operation at the time (15F, 15CA, 16DA, 19D); we then head out to review the line to Witbank with some special workings; finally the first part of our extensive review of the Witbank Collieries: South Witbank, Saaiwater yard, Wolwekrans, Tavistock and Greenside; some of the classes seen in service: 12A, 12R, 14R, 15CB, 15F.

Set 10 Eastern Transvaal Region II (Product code VR1010)

Disc 20 Witbank II, Steelpoort line
Product code: VR59B Out of stock

The Witbank collieries review is completed with one of the most exciting operations: Tweefontein Colliery with its 15CBs and double headed class GMA Garratts; next, Witbank - Belfast (main line - 15F, 15CA) to Lydenburg and Steelpoort, a scenic mineral haulage line, which featured a number of special passenger operations during the period. (Class GMAs)

Disc 21 Carolina - Breyten - Lothair
Product code: VR60A

Steelpoort branch (concluded); the final years of freight turns from Waterval Boven to Breyten with GMAs; an extensive review of the Breyten-Lothair branch with its double-headed class 24 freights; a review of two of these locos transferred after the withdrawal of steam, to Keetmanshoop in Namibia.

Set 11 Eastern Transvaal (Concluded) and Northern Transvaal (Product code VR1011)

Disc 22 Swaziland, Waterval Boven, Nelspruit, Graskop Operations
Product code: VR60B Out of stock

Final years of steam in Swaziland with ex SAR 15ARs; the scenic main electrified line between Belfast and Nelspruit, featuring a number of specials - 15CA, 15F, GMA; Some special trips on the spectacular Graskop branch including early Rovos Rail trains (Class 19D and 24)

Disc 23 Pretoria Area, Rustenburg Mines and the Main Line North
Product code: VR61 Out of stock

Pretoria, Capital park shed, the end of regular steam; varied specials and freight turns around the region; the Magaliesburg - Hercules branch (19D, 24); Pretoria - Warmbaths specials (15F); Rustenburg Platinum Mines, early years with 15CA and 15CBs; Nylstroom - Vaalwater Branch, the final years of class 24 freights; the far north: Potgietersrus, Pietersburg, Tzaneen, Hoedspruit specials (class 16DA, 19D and GMA)

Set 12 Botswana and Zimbabwe (Product code VR1012)

Disc 24 Selibi Phikwe and NRZ Southern Lines
Product code: VR62A

Selibi Phikwe mine system with its ex RR class 19s and SAR 19Ds; Bulawayo shed and operations around the city at the time the "other" steam Mecca (Class 14A, 15A, 16A); Bulawayo - Colleen Bawn freight line with class 14A and 16A Garratts; Bulawayo - Plumtree line with passenger and freight turns (15A); and finally the main line north to Sawmills, Dete and Thomson Junction (Class 16A, 15A and 20th)

Disc 25 NRZ North to Victoria Falls
Product code: VR62B

National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) review is completed with exciting freight and passenger action through the African bush: Thomson Junction to Victoria Falls (15A and 20A); the Wankie Colliery system with its ex RR class 19s; finally a rare look at two Mozambique Railways Garratts on test runs outside Bulawayo.

Madagascar by Train - 2012
A film by Jean Dulez and Fabrice Lanoue
Product code: VRE32
70 min
Single DVD - R150.00

We bring you a programme covering a somewhat out of the ordinary railway journey over the metre gauge lines of Madagascar, the largest island in the Indian Ocean.

A lengthy introductory section retraces the historical development of the Malgache railway system, as illustrated with photographs taken between 1900 and 1990. Then, a recently completed journey of discovery takes the viewer over the three railway lines which fall under the Madarail operation: Tananarive - Tamatave, which links the capital city to the major port on the east coast; Moramanga - Lac Alaotra and lastly Tananarive - Antsirabe, this latter route crossing over the central highlands, where the line altitude exceeds 1600m. Freight trains, powered by both French and more recent Chinese diesels, constitute the majority of traffic, but we have the opportunity to also travel on mixed consists and also a superbly restored Micheline rail car, which is used for tourist excursions.

Further to the south, the isolated Fianarantsoa - East Coast line plays an indispensable role in providing a train service for the local inhabitants living in an extensive and remote forested area, which has been deprived of any other means of communication. Outward and return mixed train trips, on alternate days, result in a veritable marketplace appearing at station halts along the route, which consequently facilitate outlets for local fresh produce sales, the supply city goods to the local villages and news from the outside world. Here, in addition, we experience a short journey with a second Micheline rail car, affording the comfort of rail travel seated in wicker armchairs and the smooth riding characteristics of pneumatic tyred wheel sets, just as was commonplace during the 1930s.