Who has a major love for Trains?
The history, the extraordinary mechanisms and the growth since the very first is incredible. Train geek? Hell yes!
As with most countries, the Railway service has always played a huge role in South Africa’s development and growth. Running across most terrains, the Locomotive has been able to provide cargo transport, passenger service to name a few and as a result has always been a benefiting financial factor. Literally, you could call it a gold mine.
But when do we actually see a moving Train? Apart from the main districts- Johannesburg, Natal and possibly areas of the Free-State, they are not that often used nor seen. So where did it start?
The first locomotive entered South African ‘waters’ in 1859: The 0-4-2 Hawthorn Leslie of Leith 1852. Blackie hauled the first train between Cape Town and Eersterivier on 13th February, 1862.
The discovery of diamonds in SA, then took the lead for railway growth and expansion. The necessity to haul and transport workers and equipment across all terrain was very much needed to keep the industry afloat.
We could go on with just the history, it is intense! But for now, we have the pleasure to not only ready about the history, or even watch movies or documentaries on these awesome inventions and game changers- but we are lucky enough to work, sleep and eat in such history!
Keeping its fine curves and genuine train build and style, The Santos Express Train Lodge, got it’s name for a reason- it is based at Santos Beach, it is indeed a Train and yes, you guessed it- it is a lodge and pretty posh backpackers!
Living the dream!
There was one dream in mind when taking on the challenge of Santos Train. To come up with an eccentric yet relaxed, enjoyable time for all. Be it young families, retirees and whomever else stumbled across the big beauty…. It has done just that. Known on all corners of the globe- China included … This Train in all it’s glory is taking the industry by storm.
Being able to offer guests a unique sleep on a real train as well as our in house restaurant and bar keeping the locals and tourists entertained- we love our Train.
Going on 25 years of business Santos Train Lodge grows from strength to strength.
The awards, the staff, the guests ,the beach side vibes- if you don’t know the Train, you should!
Know more about where we started…
Have a read of an insight, beautifully written by Eugene Joubert…
Santos express started with a mere thought by Eugene Joubert on February 1994. He saw the great need for affordable accommodation in Mosselbay, stumbling amongst the idea of a Train and to rent the compartments to holiday makers.
From this simple grand idea, Santos Express then opened it’s doors on 1st December 1994 on Santos Beach, Mossel Bay. The Train started out with 9 sleeping wagons, 1 of which visitors could use as self catering, fully equipped with kitchen facilities and another where visitors could relax with a living and eating area. In the beginning there was no restaurant and in a primitive but great way, only take-away meals were served; Fish on the braai gave an atmosphere like none other than a big family get together.
Accommodation was only R25.00 per person! You had to provide your own bedding and towels, with the idea that this was for season only….but then there was talk with the Municipal bodies.
Water was supplied with a hose-pipe to tanks into each wagon and lights supplied via Spoornet through the use of batteries. Due to the uniqueness of the concept and the fantastic location, it was from the beginning a recipe for success.
The thought then started to carry on with The Train for longer than just season. But there was much opposition from the town and the Municipality of Mossel Bay but with Faith and determination, Eugene pushed through. More ideas like running the Train , Robbie, between Hartenbos and Mossel Bay in season months was very popular to Holiday Makers. Robbie was then replaced by the Yellow Topless bus, which was also became very popular.
From then, a restaurant started and in December holidays it was the ideal place for families and friends to visit because of the young ones being able to play on the beach while mum and dad could view them from the restaurant.
Water and Electricity was then permanently available and the compartments were upgraded with bedding and towels. Breakfast was later included with the accommodation causing Santos Express to appear on overseas Travel Channels. Also, known for the ‘Best backpackers location in South Africa’ on a Dutch Channel.
Santos then began to be world known under backpackers and other foreign visitors and is now listed as one of ‘Mosselbay’s To Do’ in South Africa, due to everything it supplies and has on offer.
Discover Santos Train in all it’s wonders & don’t forget to enquire about our Educational Tour Projects for Schools nationwide; providing value for money, safe and educational tour destinations for Schools around the country to help teach and protect our surroundings. Raising awareness for the necessity of Environmentally Conscious generations.
Stop for lunch and discover the Train today
Bye for now & see you soon