Wednesday 22 February 2012

Outeniqua Choo Tjoe train

The text on the back of the card tells us that "the Outeniqua steam train wends its way through picturesque scenery between George and Knysna providing young and old with a leisurely view of magnificent scenery".

The card was sent in 2003.  Sadly, the train seems to be no longer in service.  Floods in 2006 damaged the line and although an alternative route was set up and the train rescheduled, in 2007 the owners, Transnet tried to sell the train.  But there were no takers.  In 2010, it stopped running altogether.

A non-profit organisation has been set up to restore the line and start the train running again.  There are many restored steam trains in the UK running successfully.  The Watercress Line in Hampshire is one I know of and for some of their "special" trips you had to book well in advance.  I hope this one in South Africa will have similar success and attract steam train enthusiasts and tourists from near and far.

I really have no idea how the name is pronounced but I fancy Choo Tjoe will be "choo choo" or very similar.  I await enlightenment.
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  1. Yes it is pronounced Choo Choo. I have no idea why but choo choo was what we always called trains when I was a kid. A South African colloquialism. As a big treat we used to take the train to Scottburgh beach.

    1. Yes, I grew up with choo choo trains too. Maybe something to do with the Chattanooga Choo Choo?

  2. I would like to be taking that train to the beach this very moment.

  3. What a lovely name for a train. I still dream of riding Amtrak. :)

  4. Haha! Same goes for me. I grew up with choo choo trains too. They were my favourite toys. :) Isn't choo choo the sound produced by the steam train, and that's why we call it choo choo train?

  5. "Choo choo" is the sound that steam trains make as they chug along. There whistle as they warned of their approach was a loud: "Choo choo!"

  6. I have photos of that train that I took on my second honeymoon! We went to George and Knysna in August 2003 after our April 2002 honeymoon was slightly marred by colds and flu. It is stunning down there.

    As Jocelyn said, "tjoe" is pronounced "choo". It is the Afrikaans approximation of the sound "ch" because the letter "c" is not used in Afrikaans. We have steak and tjops too.


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