Nomination of Reefsteamers as worthy recipient of the Simon van der Stel Gold Certificate
It is with pleasure that Egoli Heritage Foundation herewith submits for consideration Reefsteamers as worthy recipient of the Gold Certificate for outstanding achievement in the conservation, protection, restoration of heritage buildings, objects and sites in the Republic of South Africa.
Please find below the nomination form in support of this nomination.
Egoli Heritage Foundation (BRANCH OF HERITAGE S.A.)
Old Loco Sheds, Germiston, South Africa, 1400
For the following type of award: Gold Certificate
Details of nominee: Jacques Stoltz on behalf of the Egoli Heritage Foundation
Employment/profession: Non profit company
Approximate age: 26 years
When Transnet discontinued daily steam operations in the early 1990s, Reefsteamers was established to fill the void. While the primary objective of Reefsteamers is to preserve and rebuild old steam locomotives, the impact of their operations is equally felt in the conservation of rail heritage more widely. Their operations are based at the old loco shed in Germiston – itself a heritage structure. Reefsteamers is a voluntary organisation and their conservation efforts are cross-subsidized by private and public tours and day trips. Volunteers come from all backgrounds – business, engineering, accounting and importantly former railway employees – but they are united by the passion to preserve the giant heritage trains and keep the spirit of the age of travel alive. All work is done on a voluntary basis and no one is paid any remuneration. According to their website they have 100 members both locally and abroad. 25 people are actively involved in restoration projects during weekends.
By having built up a strong following among day trippers from Gauteng they not only provide a unique heritage-tourism experience but keep an interest in rail travel alive. In addition, they meet both international and national demand for steam travel photography and videography.
They regularly conduct day trips to Magaliesburg, Irene and elsewhere in Gauteng and South Africa on both a scheduled and chartered basis.
As the time and cost requirements of restoring steam trains are hugely prohibitive, many volunteers at Reefsteamers don’t see the completion of some of their projects in their lifetime.
The commitment by Reefsteamers is further illustrated by the increasing difficulty that railway heritage bodies – and commercial operators – face given official disregard and the prohibitive costs required to restore and sustain locomotives, passenger cars as well as supporting services and infrastructure. Prohibitions on trips during the winter months, lengthy signaling delays and the theft of railway lines, are but some of the regular obstacles that Reefsteamers doggedly face. Reefsteamers plays an indispensable role in keeping a part of South Africa’s unique industrial heritage alive.
Signed by proposer:
ACTING CHAIRMAN, EGOLI HERITAGE FOUNDATION
083 455 9688 or Jacques@placematters.co.za