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A brief history on the Gillitts and Upper Highway area through the rails of the Umgeni Steam Railway

Category General News

History and heritage play a vital role in the development of any area, suburb or city and Gillitts situated in the Upper Highway area of KwaZulu-Natal is no different. This history dates back as far as the late 1800’s and has still been preserved through the fascinating Umgeni Steam Railway which is in operation to this very day. This train was first constructed as a route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, however today the existing route is much shorter and only runs once or twice a month or on special occasions. Sometimes the trains do go further North or South, however most months it will run from Kloof to Inchanga, a stone’s throw away from the Gillitts suburb. 

The Umgeni Steam Railway is run by volunteers and is a great outing for the whole family and when the fires are lit and the coals burning the train ends with a craft market at the Inchanga Railway Station. There one can also immerse themselves in learning about the history behind this steam train at the Railway Museum, before heading back to Stoker’s Arms in Kloof, which is the train stop for which the trains departs from. 

The train runs through the famed Valley of a Thousand Hills, which gives visitors a taste of the diverse and interesting heritage of KwaZulu-Natal. The naturally hilly region has also led the train to traverse through some of the highest gradients for any train in the whole of South Africa. This is another aspect that makes the whole experience one of kind and adds value to the entire residential expanse.

The train has managed to stay in operation due to the volunteer program and they rely solely on the revenue made from monthly train trips and other fundraising initiatives. “The organisation is run entirely by volunteers and is self-funding, relying almost exclusively on revenue generated from running public and charter trains to continue operating and preserving our railway history. Over the years Umgeni Steam Railway has managed to collect a sizeable array of historically significant rolling stock and other items, including approximately 10 locomotives; 50 coaches and a variety of goods wagons. Unfortunately due to ongoing financial constraints many of these irreplaceable items remain in storage awaiting preservation”. -http://www.umgenisteamrailway.com/About

When the train service takes place there is both a morning train and an afternoon train, so train enthusiasts can decide which one they wish to take. When one arrives at the Inchanga station, they will be treated to an assortment of food on sale and various stalls in the craft market. The Umgeni Steam Railway organisation moved to their current homebase (Inchanga Station) a few years prior. Their original location was in Pinetown and they established the organisation in 1982 and are still going strong today, with the help of their volunteer program, which is open to anyone, young and old. 

This makes the entire upper highway location highly favourable for investment within the residential property market and Gillitts is one such area located within close proximity to the Umgeni Steam Railway. Leading property company Century 21 sees the benefit and they have 19 available properties for sale in the Gillitts area and attractions like this help raise the profile. 

If heritage, culture and the rolling sounds of steam trains filling the hills are things that appeal to you, why not consider moving to Gillitts in the Upper Highway region of KwaZulu-Natal. There really is a lot to offer and you couldn’t be in better hands, then with Century 21. Contact one of their highly skilled brokers today and start your dream home from Gillitts.

Author: Century 21 South Africa

Submitted 19 Jun 18 / Views 244

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Gillitts, KwaZulu Natal

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