Media statement by the office of Western Cape MEC for finance, economic development and tourism Alan Wilde:
'After a long period of silence, Transnet revealed last month that because they had not found an appropriate bidder to take over the train's operations, they had no option other than to terminate the Choo-Tjoe service. This is in line with their policy of shifting away from non-core business.
'Because the service is being terminated, the train will not be sent in for the maintenance service it needs for its passenger safety licence to be reinstated. Instead, it will stand idle. Because the Choo-Tjoe is a major tourist and heritage icon of the Garden Route, Minister Winde is determined to get the train chugging again as soon as possible.'An asset this valuable should not be left to rot. The provincial government has applied to Transnet to take over the train and the line from Knysna to George. Because of its special place in the hearts of locals and steam enthusiasts around the globe, we are confident that Transnet is considering our request seriously. We hope to have a response to our application soon', said Winde.
'Because it is a national asset, the transfer would have to go through strict Public Finance Management Act regulations.
If all requirements are met and the train is transferred, Minister Winde will immediately seek a private operator to run the train in line with its intended purpose, promoting tourism and preserving our rail heritage. '
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