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Photographer's Note

Throughout its history, the town of Klipplaat in the Eastern Province of South Africa was always a remote and distant destination, hundreds of kilometres from any of the major cities and towns in the country. For the greatest part of the 20th century however it enjoyed some acclaim and a degree of prosperity as a major railroad junction, where the main east-west railway routes joined with the rail routes from the northern parts of the country. The town was occupied by hundreds of ‘Railways’ families which created and sustained demand for other goods and services. It was a small but vibrant community.

Following the privatisation of the South African Railways and the rationalisation of the railway industry the junction at Klipplaat fell into disuse. The once bustling town went into terminal decline, both in population and economic terms. The current population is uncertain but cannot be more than a couple of hundred people.

The rusting hulk of this old locomotive (SAR Class 15AR, No 1840, for the enthustiasts) parked on a siding in the veld, in many ways symbolises both the history and future of Klipplaat.

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Additional Photos by JP Grobbelaar (Fly) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 66 W: 1 N: 70] (366)
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