A Railway Romance to Remember

Image by Ceres Rail Company

Smoke billows from the fiery beast, the ‘choo choo’ of the vintage engine heralding its arrival into the station. It is time to hop aboard the Steam Train to Elgin. The destination: a steampunk-style market replete with all of the mystique of a bygone era.

While this scenario might easily have taken place in the 1800’s, it is easy to recreate now with the Ceres Rail Company. Every weekend, Bailey, Jessica and Dominique – the faithful locomotives of the railway family, chug their way in steaming glory to the Elgin Railway Market and back again. So whether it is pure nostalgia, or a bold new adventure, we invite you to step back in time and embark on the whirlwind ride.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

A history tidbit

Having been originally built at the turn of the 20th century, starting in July 1910 and finishing in May 1912, part of Ceres Rail Company’s mission is to help preserve and promote South African Rail Heritage, which involves restoring and refurbishing old locomotives and coaches.

 

What to expect?

On weekends, the train departs at 8am from the Harbour Bridge Hotel in Cape Town’s Foreshore.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

Nestle into the beautifully restored carriages with comfy leather couches and enjoy the scenic views, the landscape shifting from the city scape to the open, rolling hills beyond the Hottentots-Holland mountains. Open the windows and feel the rush of cool air as you steam up the iconic Sir Lowry’s Pass. Try and spot the odd sheep, or cow dotted in the fields of yellow canola. If you need a small snack, the bar cart is open, but is simple in its offering, so save your appetite for the market instead.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

The train stops at the Elgin Railway Market in all its glory at 11am – the waving market visitors energised by the spectacle of the whistling arrival – a grand arrival if there ever was one. Here, you have 3.5 hours to explore and absorb the gateway to the Overberg region.

 

The Elgin Railway Market

Housed in a refurbished old apple warehouse, the Elgin Railway draws crowds both by rail and road. The decor is a magic combination of Art Deco-Art Nouveau, a vast hall, and vaulted balcony overlooking the railway and smorgasbord of delights waiting to be sampled. A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style fan system of belts and pulleys that result in turning the heads of many who unsuspectingly enter the place.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

This, all to the tunes of live music create a uniquely exciting atmosphere.

Choose from shawarmas, fragrant curries, Mexican dishes, health foods, pies or pizza but make sure that you leave space for local delights like pancakes, vetkoek, and biltong.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

Of course, you need something to wash this all down with, and as you are not driving, it is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some fine, cool-climate wines from the region, as well as a selection of local craft beers, hand-crafted gins, ciders or freshly-pressed juices or smoothies.

When you feel fed and watered, wander through the craft stalls and pick up a vintage item or some leather goods, or venture beyond the realms of the market if you want to explore a bit more of the beautiful Overberg.

If you are visiting with the little ones, and need to burn off some energy, hoist them up the indoor-outdoor climbing walls, join in on a zipline, or let them loose on the jungle gyms and roundabouts.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

Plan on staying the night? Enquire about renting a vintage car, or hire some bicycles. Those curious about exploring Elgin’s famed wine farms and attractions can check in at the info kiosk for more information, where local tour operators, Elgin Leisure Tours, are based.

 

Heading back home

The train departs from Elgin at 2:30pm. After a full day of adventuring, it is a comfort to enjoy the relaxing train journey (and perhaps a bit of a snooze) back to Cape Town where you’ll arrive back in the 21st century at about 5:30pm.

Image by Elgin Railway Market

Book your train tickets

Tickets: R750 per Adult / R500 per Child / Infants under 2 – FREE

Duration: 9.5 Hours

Inclusions: Train Trip

Exclusions: Goods for sale at the Elgin Railway Market

Departure Point: Harbour Bridge Hotel and Suites, Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town

 

Visit the Ceres Rail website to purchase tickets online.

 

Blog post by Tarah Darge

 

Discover Cape Town

A little more to explore.

Our blog serves as a guide and gateway for the luxury traveller. Through our well-informed concierge team, we provide our readers with up to date information on the finest restaurants and places to explore in and around the Mother City.
Explore and ExperienceCape Town dreaming: A post-lockdown bucket list day you can imagine from anywhere
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt   You might have had big plans for this year. Plans to travel and explore. To meet new people and make memories in incredible new places, like South Africa. It is disappointing when our big plans are dashed by something beyond our control, even when we understand that staying at home is for the greater good. Sunrise on Lion's Head. Image by Cape Town …
FeaturedFour Nights For Less in Cape Town: An Irresistible Package and Itinerary
You never need an excuse to linger longer in the Mother City, but if there ever was a great one, it is our Four Nights For Less package. Stay with us for four consecutive nights and receive a 20% discount off the nightly room rate. What a difference an extra day and night can make! One last adventure, one more sunset enjoyed over a glass of South African wine and with it, the chance to enjoy another local dish and …
FeaturedWhere to Listen to Live Jazz in Cape Town
Image by Kloof Street House Jazz in Cape Town is a celebrated form of social commentary and poetic expression. More than just music, it is the story of slavery and the struggle against apartheid. It is about history and salvation and exile and freedom. The Mother City boasts a variety of jazz clubs and events, including the much anticipated annual Cape Town Jazz Festival. From the classic to the avant-garde, we have rounded up a list of great venues …
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with our hotel’s latest developments as well as our concierge team’s top recommendations regarding the best places to visit in and around Cape Town.
Physical Address
  • West Quay Road
    Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • Postal Address
  • PO Box 51387
    Waterfront 8001
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • © 2020 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus
    © 2020 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus