The Sentrarand Marshalling Yard is located in Bapsfontein, just a few kilometers northeast of Germiston (Bapsfontein is approximately 60 km northeast of Johannesburg).
The concept of a centralized marshalling yard for the Pretoria - Witwatersrand - Vereeniging region was discussed as early as 1956. Detailed planning began in 1969, earthworks began in 1978 and the facility was brought into operation during September 1982. (Source: SIEMENS publication "The Sentrarand Marshalling Yard", Railway Signalling Division Siemens Ltd. #KSA 597 0783 2000).
The existing 64 track 'bowl' and two track hump complex are only one module of what was to be a maximum of four such modules. The four module facility was not to be built in one single process. Instead, the long term plans were to add the modules if and only if the rail traffic
warranted the additional modules.
The entire site is surrounded by the 'Ring' road. The Ring road serves two roles. The first is to provide the neccessary connections from the yard tracks to the link lines that radiate outward to join with the mainlines. Secondly, the Ring road provides as a
convenient place to park trains during periods of yard congestion.
The Ring road links to the main lines are:
(1) Westward toward the Pretoria - Johannesburg mainline, connecting at Olifantsfontein and Kaalfontein.
(2) Northward to Greenview (Pretoria - Witbank mainline) and onto Pyramid South.
(3) Southward toward a connection at Glenroy on the Germiston - Natal mainline.
Traffic headed eastward goes down the southward link for a short distance and is then routed eastward near the town of Weldedag.
The commissioning of Sentrarand during the early 1980's reduced the amount of wagon marshalling performed in the yards of Capital Park and Germiston. Therefore, this event of reducing the amount of wagon marshalling in the older flat yards, accelerated the phasing out steam traction in South Africa.
Walking about the marshalling yard trackage is not an option and the photography
is therefore limited to the access roads and the locomotive sheds. The Sentrarand locomotive facility is home to electric loco classes such as 5E1, 6E, 6E1, 14E, and the class 36 diesels.
Many of the instrumentated locomotives used by the Mechanical or Electrical departments are housed and cared for at Sentrarand.
So now let us take a brief visit to this facility.
In the Sentrarand electric locomotive storage tracks one can often find a real gem from the past. Here we have a 5E1 class locomotive. Granted, the unit is in need of another paint job, but this is a real find as these units may not have much more time in this world.
The first image shows the unit from afar, and the second two images show close-ups of each end. The unit number 1091 is just visible in the center image. Notice in the third image the 'Trans-Natal' logo behind the drivers side window.