Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Southern African Transport Conference 12 - 15 July 2004 "Getting recognition for the importance of transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. The Langkloof, a fertile agricultural district producing mainly deciduous fruit for export, can
be described as a narrow, elongated valley wedged between the Tsitsikamma- and Kouga
mountain ranges. Transportation infrastructure serving this region is limited to a single-lane
surfaced road, Route 62, and a narrow gauge railway line. While the road pavement is
deteriorating at an alarming rate because of damage caused by an increasing number of
heavy freight vehicles, the rail capacity remains under-utilised.
The future of the rail link has been in jeopardy because of negative growth in
income-generating traffic. However, since the beginning of 2003, a determined and successful
effort has been made to shift bulk freight from road to rail to improve usage of existing rail
assets. The increase in rail borne traffic has necessitated the re-opening of previously
abandoned sections of the railway and has also reduced heavy vehicular traffic on the R62.
This paper reports on progress towards improving the efficiency and profitability of rail
operations. It is anticipated that retaining and expanding the rail service in the Langkloof will
not only complement existing road transport, but also serve as a competitive alternative,
which can only impact positively on the economy of this region.
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