The CSAR existed from 1902-1910 and was well-known for its extremely luxurious suburban and main-line trains which were generally regarded as the most well appointed in South Africa and compared well to the best in the rest of the world. One of these four A-17’s was named the Pongola and became car No. 146 in 1911, and saw service until 1926 as a type A-17.
Main picture: Dining car of the Pongola 146 in its heyday
In 1923 these cars were regarded as being unsuitable for long-distance runs and in 1926 were converted into “twins”, meaning that the pantry and kitchen were removed, thus allowing the entire car to be used for dining only. The dining car would thus be coupled to a kitchen car which included the pantry and staff quarters, these two making up the “twins”.
A feature of the refurbishment was the installation of 7 pairs of carved roof supporting pillars and seating for 46 people as opposed to 24 previously.
The records in Privic’s book state the Pongola was sold in 1978, but give no indication as to when it was taken out of service prior to being sold.
This wonderful antique was transported here by Grikky Steward with the sleeping car using it for many years as a private holiday retreat and was acquired by the Five Assegais Estate to enable the Num-num Trail.