Civilisation Lost

ABSTRACT: Images of the Joubertina train station in the Eastern Cape, show the destruction of a railway station and steamtrain. The station building is occupied by squatters and is in a poor state of repair. The train station was once a hub of civilization but has now been abandoned.

KEYWORDS: Joubertina, neglect, Uloliwe, train station, railway, Riana Ferreira

Author: Jan de Klerk

A railway track winding into the unknown is a familiar indication of civilization. At first it is built to connect the familiar with areas that are off the beaten track thereby making it easier for explorers to venture into the wild and untamed.
It then transforms to a mode of transport for adventures and developers with their equipment and building material. Once an area is developed the producers, traders and a general population settle in to establish a dynamic civilisation.

When the infrastructure of this core form of travel is neglected or destroyed, the status quo of the civilization collapses and the affected societies may revert to a more primitive state.

In 2012, the editor of Uloliwe, Hennie Heymans, posted disturbing photos of the Joubertina train station, displaying images of a Hanomag (No 10632) with rolling stock.

Steam train Joubertina
Train and rolling stock 2012

After seeing these images, a Joubertina resident, Mrs Riana Ferreira, sent us more recent images of the same set.

Train Joubertina station
Vernielde trok Joubertina
Joubertina train stationn building

Unfortunately, closer images were not possible due to safety concerns. Riana reports that the station building is occupied by squatters. The delapidated condition of the loco and stock is self-explanatory.

This is not mere vandalism but the destruction of civilization reverting Joubertina and hundreds of similar railway communities in South Africa to a more primitive state.