The Blue Train
The World's Leading Luxury Train
Cape Town - Pretoria - Cape TownCape Town, South Africa's Mother City welcomes you with open arms. Cosmopolitan to the core and perhaps the most beautiful city in the world, this charming, festive city of diverse culture nestling at the foot of the famous Table Mountain, will entertain you in grand style.
The Classic Blue Train
Departing guests are greeted with scenes of the lush and bountiful Western Cape, covered with vineyards and orchards and dotted with historic Cape Dutch and Flemish homesteads. The train soon begins its climb through with vistas of lineside towns like Paarl, framed by the Drakenstein mountains, Wellington by the Slanghoek mountains and Wolseley by the Elandskloof mountains.
The largest town in the Breede River valley and gateway to the imposing Hex River mountains on the northern line.
The main center of the spectacular Hex River valley. A major pick-up point for export table grapes. The railroad runs the length of the Hex River valley and climbs the escarpment of the central plateau emerging into the Karoo via the 16.3 kilometers of the Hex River tunnel system.
The first major staging post, locomotive depot and marshaling yard after Cape Town. Built on the banks of the Touws River, it is situated at the summit of the Hex River Mountain Pass and was a great steam mecca in earlier times. 'Touws' means gate, in the Hottentot language.
(Northbound stop-over of one hour) James Logan, an official of the Cape Government Railways in the late 1890's, founded a health resort in the Karoo. During the Anglo-Boer War, at the turn of the century, it became the military headquarters for the British forces. Edgar Wallace used the post office to send urgent dispatches to his newspapers. Declared a national monument in 1975, the northbound Blue Train stops for an hour to enable guests to see this fascinating Victorian town.
The Karoo covers about two-thirds of South Africa and the world is derived from the Hottentot language meaning 'thirstland'. It is the only town in Africa where the streets are shaded by pear trees. Established in 1818 on the banks of the Gamka River at the foot of the Nuweveld mountains, it was named after the fifth Duke of Beaufort. In 1837 it was proclaimed the first municipality in South Africa and is known as the capital of the Karoo. Merino sheep farming is the major farming pursuit of the Karoo.
After Germiston situated in Gauteng Province, de Aar is the largest railway junction in South Africa. The line between De Aar and Kimberley, for many years, rang out to the sounds of giant 25 Class steam locomotives which brought countless numbers of steam enthusiasts to the region. De Aar, meaning 'the vein' takes its name from an underground watercourse.
(South-bound stop-over of one hour fifty minutes). Guests aboard the south-bound Blue Train will be advised of the expected time of arrival at Kimberley. They will be cordially invited to disembark, stretch their legs and be taken by bus or, when running, an historic electric tram, through the streets of modern-day Kimberley to visit the Kimberley Mine Museum and the 'Big Hole', the largest hole in the world excavated by many by hand. Here they will be advised to wear informal and comfortable clothing to visit a replica of an alluvial-diamond digger's claim where guests will be invited to try their hand at panning and, who knows, find a diamond of their very own.
The De Beer's Hall boasts a unique assortment of uncut diamonds and the internationally acclaimed De Beers collection of cut 'fancies' diamonds of different hues, as well as several items of jewelry. Also on display is the '616' the largest uncut diamond in the world and the fabulous Eureka, the first diamond to have been discovered in South Africa. Kimberley diamonds financed the later discover of the Witwatersrand gold strike of 1886.
Within sight of mining headgear, the railroad follows the huge 'golden arc' a 500 kilometer river of gold stretching south-westward from Evander in Mpumalanga, through Gauteng and Johannesburg to the western 'line' in the Klerksdorp area of the North-West Province and continues south to the Welkom Gold Fields of the Free State.
Potchefstroom was the capital of the former SA Republic and was founded by the Voortrekker leader, Andries Hendrik Potgieter. In 1854 the capital was transferred to Pretoria. Potchefstroom is the center of a maize, vegetable, fruit and poultry agricultural area.
Pretoria is the administrative capital of the Republic. The Union Buildings were the scene in 1994 of the inauguration of South Africa's first democratically elected State President. Pretoria with its wealth of historical buildings is often referred to as the 'Jacaranda City' because of the many thousands of Jacaranda trees which line its streets.