Out of sheer frustration, any other tour operator would have given up using trains years ago. JB Tours, in their December 2013 Newsletter, explain: 'All ten of our Jo'burg to Cape Town train tours, as well as the one Jo'burg to Durban tour to be hosted in December 2013 and January 2014 - all fully booked - had to be converted into tours by luxury bus in a short space of time. The reason - all our Shosholoza Meyl bookings lapsed while we were waiting for the invoices! The tickets were then sold to other people.
'Despite severe complaints and protests from JB Tours, Shosholoza Meyl just ignored our pleas!'
'We had to inform more than 600 affected passengers of the changes! The company decided not to cancel the tours - people were looking forward to their holidays - but made alternative arrangements using luxury buses and arranging hotel accommodation en route as well as meals. Unfortunately some passengers cancelled their bookings because they wanted to travel by train.
'The poor service rendered by Shosholoza Meyl (just one of many more) has had a major negative impact on our business over many years, obviously affecting our clientele as well. However, we are committed to rail tourism in South Africa.'
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South African transport minister Dipou Peters, launching the Green Paper on national rail policy on 22 September, told reporters that widening the gauge would bring the network in line with about 60%...