Outeniqua Transport Museum
Part 1: A general overview and the locos
This is a synopsis of an article by Andre Strauss which appeared in the November December 1999 edition of S A Rail with additional information supplied by Les Pivnic who was assistant curator of the SAR/SATS Museum for 17 years. Located in George in the Cape, the Museum forms part of the activities of the Transnet Heritage Foundation.
In the early 1920s the then SAR and Harbours Administration approved the accumulation of artefacts connected to the history of the railways harbours and road transportation in South Africa with the intention of establishing a museum. 20 years passed before premises were reserved at Esselen Park. The museum was moved to premises under the Rissik
Street bridge in 1956 and a further move occurred in 1972 to the concourse of the old Johannesburg railway station.
The collection of locomotives and other rolling stock was commenced in earnest in that year as a result of an instruction given by the then Minister of Transport – The Hon Ben Schoeman. The Minister referred to this in an address to Parliament in 1972. At that time the SA Railway Museum was controlled by the Publicity & Travel Department of the
SAR. It was only in 1985 that the Museum was transferred to the General Manager’s Parliamentary Section. By this time, many locomotives and coaches were already set aside for museum purposes.
In the early 1980s the Railway Administration sent Les Pivnic to the UK and Europe on study tours with a view to gaining first-hand information on how the large transport museums operated overseas. During the two trips he visited all the major transport museums covering the UK, Germany, Holland, France and Switzerland. At that time there were
plans to occupy the old Mechanical Workshops in Pretoria after the Depot was transferred to Koedoespoort. The old Depot was empty and offered an ideal site to establish a major museum along the lines of the National Rail Museum in York.
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