Ermelo! (Last modified 2002-Dec-20)

Please click on images to see larger image and a brief description.


Ermelo is the location on the Coal Line where the diesel and DC electric hauled mine run trains of 100 or so wagons are marshaled into 200 plus wagon trains which are then hauled by AC electrics to tidewater at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal at Richards Bay, South Africa.

The Electronically Actuated Air Brake (EABS)Train is being tested on the Coal Line. The loco and wagon EABS equipment are supplied by Wabtec of the United States.

The two part yellow carriage is the railway rolling laboratory for investigating train dynamics and other real time subjects, such as EABS, that require an on site engineering field crew.

Class 34 and 36 Diesels snooze in sun with friend 6E1. 6E1 #1716 enjoying the very pleasant weather. EMD, Spoornet Class 36 #279. EMD, Spoornet Class 36 #284.
EMD, Spoornet Class 35 #697.

The diesels perform the function of marshalling the coal wagons between the AC and DC yards. Unlike the AC-DC exchange yard at the new Ermelo station, there are long gaps in the overhead power supply structure in the coal yard facility.

East end of shed complex, North side. .

The AC depot is home to the largest AC loco in South Africa, the EMD-ASEA 11E. The AC loco fleet is usually very dirty on account of working in an environment of coal dust.

The AC depot shown here only serves to sand, clean, and inspect the units. All major work is performed at the shop in Richards Bay.

Looking into East end of yard. . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed.
Looking into East end of yard. . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed.

Out on the line. Just out of Ermelo and before Camden. This location is great as I can see the trains coming from either direction.

I often stop by the Pick'n Pay prior to going to the rail line and I load up on yogurt and other goodies such as Milo bars. Then I spend the day out here along the Coal Line just looking over the land which could easily pass for eastern Wyoming on the Union Pacific Railroad.

Looking into East end of yard. . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed, North side . Looking at East end of shed.
Looking at East end of shed.

Station sign Camden. Camden is nothing more now than a group of passing sidings and a lead into the Eskom fossil plant. I rode a passenger train on this line in 1984 and I can not recall any building here other than a goods shed perhaps. I would welcome any input from readers regarding such matters as the Coal Line is being made void of any un-needed stuctures. Seems that a building left alone soon gets up and walks away piece by piece. Funny thing....

Camden Generating Station, coal fired. Now mothballed. Station sign CAMDEN. Nice overhead work. Headlight seen on horizon, train coming!.
7E3-7232 leading a coal train going up the line. Peaceful place.

Diesels in the Coal Line yard.

Class 37 and 34 EMD diesels.

DC Yard.

This is the home of the GEC-Alstom and Toshiba 3kV DC locos. The DC depot is two part. One group of ready tracks as shown here, and one true shed to perform maintenance.

GEC-Alstom 10E. 10E powered mine run.

AC Departure Yard.

A 7E1 lead train is about to make the departure to Richards Bay. This train crew will go as far as Vryheid and then return.

7E1 coal train. Tidewater coal, next stop Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

Electronic Air Brake Train, Revisited.

EABS train 1. EABS train 2. EABS train 3.

The sun is setting and I have spotted a mine run making a dash out of the Coal Line yard. What I eventually photograph is a diesel hauled mine run. The train crew is in line with the new company policies. Female african drivers and assistants are now becoming the norm and just when the cleanliness of the units should be therefore improving, the opposite is occurring.

My only advice, get your photos now.....

37-073 leading a run to the mines for more export coal.

Ermelo's New Station, now closed.

The station shown here is the new station, the older station back in town stands in good shape as offices for Spoornet. During my 1984 travels through here I do remember stopping here and listening to the loco change. There were many people on the platform and the station, as viewed from the train, was spotless. Why I never jumped off and photo'ed the loco change is beyond me.

The yard at this station is dual voltage, 3kV DC and 25kV AC, and is therefore one of few AC-DC exchange yards in South Africa.

The three photos shown below are views looking south, toward Camden. The PX building remains in good shape and is located behind me with respect to these photographs. I believe the Coal Line signal maintainers are using the building.

Notice the rain clouds making their way in.

Sunset on the new and now mothballed station. Sunset on the station platform. Station building and walkbridge.