As previously communicated; with the assistance of Dirk Smit from the Fire Protection Association, Transnet had a team working on the railway in October between Brenton and Belvidere. It was surely a good start, however, it was a “quick or rushed job” and required much more attention to reduce the fire and security risk. The majority of the Transnet servitude is still overgrown with invasive/alien vegetation. Transnet promised that the team will return in 5-7 weeks to “redo any regrowth or new growth of invaders” but will not remove any cuttings. As anticipated, the 5-7 weeks fall in Mid December, which makes it unlikely to see the Transnet team in 2020.
With the fire season approaching, we took action.
Johan Labuschagne allocated his small team for 2 days a week to clear the line properly; a 10m wide lane; 5m each side of the railway line. The idea is also to clean it up to a level that reduces the fire and security risks. The additional benefit is that the Brenton-Belvidere community can use it safely (hikers, joggers, cyclists) while we wait for the Outeniqua choo tjoe to return.
PS: Transnet still have a responsibility to clear their full railway servitude of invasive / aliens. We would propose that we insist that Transnet MUST clear the servitude/s before putting the line back in operation.
Johan is happy to report that his team is half way between Brenton and Belvidere – See our progress in the few photos attached.
We hope to complete the work in two weeks (about 11 Dec); however, if it takes longer, we will continue till it is done.