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It’s a Train Smash

…Just a Train Smash

We are fortunate in this country to have some nice stuff… and when we are unhappy, we burn that nice stuff to the ground!

I lived close to Transnet’s “train factory” and/or “train graveyard”. I’m not too sure. I had to go in there once and saw there were trains in the big factory warehouses, so I think it might be where they build some trains and also do some repairs.

These photographs were taken on the outside of the premises on the tracks, probably newly vandalized trains that were waiting either for repairs or to be destroyed?

I went there one Saturday afternoon and photographed some of the trains. After showing my friend (also a photographer) some of the photographs I took he wanted to go there too, so we went there the next weekend. Was so much better being two people there, you know…for safety reasons.

It’s so sad seeing the damaged trains, not just trains but all the vandalized properties around because people are ‘unhappy’. If you want to burn something when you are unhappy, wait for load shedding and burn a candle!


I actually thought two of the photographs I took looked pretty amazing, so I printed them, framed them, and put them on my walls. They’re a nice dark sepia colour.

It actually fitted in quite well with my decor at the time, I went all earthy colours. My whole house were filled with brown and orange colours. Too weird. I’m over that now. Need more colour in my life, but the trains are still on the walls in the hallway. Still looks good.

Here’s the one print:

One of the Prints

Happy Accident

The image below, the second print I made is technically a mistake.

We took some photographs of the sunset on the tracks (will post those later) and somehow my camera settings were all messed up, but I didn’t realized it till I took this photograph.

The camera was on Aperture priority, I don’t know what I was thinking or why the Aperture was set to f/22, but that resulted in the shutter staying open for 6seconds.

Those 6 Seconds felt like forever. I didn’t use a tripod and tried to keep the camera as still as possible to prevent camera shake.

Just before the shutter closed I decided to just drop the camera and wait for the shutter to close whenever, I didn’t know how many more seconds it were going to stay open but I got tired of holding my breath, and I knew that image would be a blur.

But the result actually came out quite nice, looks very spooky and haunted like a burned train would look like.

This is still one of my all time favourite photographs, and if I were to maybe print a book one day, this would definitely be in the book, if not the cover!

Haunted Train

4 thoughts on “It’s a Train Smash

  1. These photos are amazing photos, really nice, I love the colors… looks so abstract and the last one is wonderful, so atmospheric. It sends chills up my spine. It reminds me of the years my daughter was traveling into technological college on the train. She was traumatized by seeing carriages going up in flames in Cape Town Station and passing burning trains enrout. I think the situation with the trains and transport was one of the last things that pushed her to leave the country.

    1. Thank you.
      Sad to say I’ve never been a passenger on our trains (besides the Gautrain) There’s a train going to Cullinan from Pretoria as a tourist attraction, still want to go on that though, but I’m sure if I had to see all the trains being burnt would make me think twice too. It’s amazing how easy it is in UK to travel, I’ve been to the UK, and as a tourist it’s so easy to travel, here, I’m grateful I don’t have to use Public Transport.. So sad actually.

    2. Yes I know what you mean. đź‘ŤUK it is second nature. We traveled there at all times of the day and felt so safe.

  2. […] The photo in this post were taken in 2006, same day as the photos from the blog post I did in January (It’s a Train Smash). […]

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