2008 – Year of the Charter

Accommodation is at such a premium during the peak season that tour companies bringing groups out to the Savannah region need to book their own train. The limiting factor of the Savannahlander is not the seats in the train, but the beds in the districts that we visit. Therefore, groups can travel over short half day sections on their own train, while not taking up valuable accommodation places for the independant travellers. Typically, groups charter the train between Forsayth and Mt Surprise.

Spare railmotor unit 'crosses' the Savannahlander

Spare railmotor unit

This year, we will operate a total of 11 additional Savannahlander trips.

Because we only have three Rail motor units in our fleet, charters must be ran as a single car train – two units normally being required for the main service. The ‘spare’ car is transported on a regular train to Mt Surprise and stored there – normally a week before it is needed. The day before the charter, the crew drive out to Mt Surprise by car and prepare the unit, then take it over to Forsayth Empty. They remain there over night, and in the morning, meet the passengers and work the special train back to Mt Surprise.

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Using the train to Muster Cattle

Using the train to Muster Cattle

We are convinced that the local wildlife and animals know the Savannahlander time table better than we do. When they are not expecting a train to come through, they are out in force and you can see fauna in quantities not normally experienced on the normal train. It might also be that the specials run to different times. Normally, these wonderful sights are only enjoyed by the train crew, because this seems to only happen during the ’empty car run’.