Sishen–Saldanha railway line, a record breaker.

A train of true significance.

When we recently visited my Son in Kathu I had the pleasure of observing a train being loaded with iron ore. 342 trucks each with 100 tons of ore, 34200 tons on its way to Saldanha Port, 861 km (538 miles) away.

Here are some interesting facts about the train…

Trains employing Radio Distributed Power (RDP) technology. These 41,400 tonnes total mass, 3780 metres (2.36 miles) long trains, that use 8 locomotives and 342 wagons, are the longest production trains in the world.

The longest and heaviest train that carried ore from Sishen mine to Saldanha Bay, was a 7,5km (4.69 mile) train of 660 wagons which carried 68 640 tonnes of ore.

Here are some interesting facts about the Port…

Significant capital has been spent to increase iron ore exports from the deep-water port to meet the growing demand. The infrastructure’s set to further expand as the port is gearing up to increase capacity on the rail line in the future. Current infrastructure at the port comprises two rotary tipplers, four stacker/ re-claimers, two ship-loaders and 25 conveying systems, providing the terminal with a capacity to load 10 000 tonnes per hour into a vessel.

  • Operating 24/7, the ore quay at Saldanha has two berths where two vessels of 310 000 DWT can simultaneously berth at the iron ore jetty.
  • From arrival to departure – including piloting, berthing, loading, draft survey and de-berthing; an ore vessel carrying 170 000 tonnes will be in Saldanha Bay for just 24 hours. A vessel carrying 210 000 tonnes will spend 32 hours in the port, while a vessel carrying 240 000 tonnes of ore will be there for 48 hours.
  • Saldanha Bay Port is bigger than Durban, Cape Town’s Table Bay, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth’s harbours combined.
  • Saldanha Port Operations submits an annual Environmental Report in line with the Global Reporting Initiative. It respects that it’s located in an ecologically sensitive area, and takes all measures possible to manage the area responsibly.
  • In 2011, 37 100 000 tons of iron ore was exported by Kumba from Saldanha Bay to customers in countries and regions around the world. (approx. 1000 train loads of ore)And the few photos that I managed to capture… it is difficult to photograph a train of this length… but suffice it to say, it is long…

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and this is what they are loading… although it would be crushed to a smaller size than this piece of approx. 2.5 tons…

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Choc-nut Sundae–or is it–A Chocolate filled Sunday ????

Today seems to be a day for chocolate… cold weather an indoor day… plenty of what goes down best and for the Grand kids? The last photo, but we did sneak them a bit when their Mother wasn’t watching…

A cuppa with my cigarette… followed by chocolate cake… and then the chocolates…





































Babba’s Lodge–A Mountain Bike Race…

A Sunday outing with a little exercise… for the whole family…

The Race begins, and they just keep coming… 75km. 35km. 13km and then for the shorties the 1km. ….

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And then they start to ride through the bush and veld.. ending at last at the end post..

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King Fishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers..colourful birds.

There are several different Kingfishers to be found in my country, approx. 10. This one though is the Brown-Hooded Kingfisher.


Rietvlei 4-05-2012 165The Giant Kingfisher…………….

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The Pied Kingfisher…………………..

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The Lilac-breasted Roller, a bird of beautiful colours. They are normally quite happy to let you photograph them, as this one was.

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Lilac-breasted Roller

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The Bee-eaters of Southern Africa number approx. 10 different species. Two types below, the Little Bee-eater and the White Fronted Bee-eater.

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