May 3rd, 2012
Transnet, owner of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, has said that its revival is not an option without the R150 million required to repair its flood-damaged rail infrastructure, according to a report in Business Day.
In a summary of the report, SA Tourism Update quoted Transnet CEO as saying: "Transnet does not have the R150m required to put the Choo-Tjoe back on track but we will listen to anyone who is prepared to put up the money."
Before the floods of 2006, the Choo-Tjoe attracted up to 150 000 rail enthusiasts from around the world to the Garden Route every year, generating about R10 million a year in ticket sales alone and tens of millions more in general tourist revenue.
The service was brought to an abrupt halt when the railway line was severely damaged by massive land slips, mainly in the Kaaimans Pass region at Wilderness.According to the report, Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, and the Garden Route Cycleway Association have been championing for the Choo-Tjoe's restoration to its former glory.
However, the minister recently said he was losing hope because of Transnet's long silence.