Must-do Day Trips: Try Ceres Rail Company’s Steam Train Tour to Simon’s Town

steam train tour to Simon's Town

Ceres Rail Company recently revamped their popular steam train tour to Simon’s Town and you’re in for something extra special to explore. For a fun day trip for the entire family, take a ride on vintage steam locomotives from quiet neighbourhoods that bring epic scenery into one frame.

‘The trip last ran for 10 years, pretty much consistently under Atlantic Rail and ended in 2018,’ explains Rick Botha, General Manager at Cares Rail Company. ‘The drought and a lot of infrastructure problems put a stop to it, but it has taken us a long time to get this back into place. And finally, we managed to get it right with the help of Metro Rail.’

steam train tour to Simon's Town

What to expect on the steam train tour to Simon’s Town

There’s nothing quite as memorable and nostalgic as a steam train journey through some of the cute and quirky suburbs in Cape Town. This steam train tour to Simon’s Town starts in Foreshore where you’ll have time to snap your selfies and marvel at the impressive display of preserved engineering and architecture of the steam locomotive.

The experience delivers more than just gorgeous scenery. The Ceres Rail Company team managed to map out a delightful 3-hour trip that covers both the Northern and Southern Suburbs and shares some insight into its people, places and culture.

Zip past keen collectors snuffling around at Milnerton Market, watch the waves of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, and see the beachgoers unwind next to the iconic multi-coloured huts in St James, Muizenberg, and now Fish Hoek. Upon arrival at Simon’s Town, you’ll get little over 3 hours to find out more about Simon’s Town on foot or by TukTuk Simon’s Town.

Although the more scenic and popular sights along the Deep South are all covered, it’s the neighbourhood scenery past the Northern Suburbs and quiet railway intersections that tell much of our city’s diverse people and culture.

Train enthusiasts will relish getting a glimpse of Transnet’s freight rail hubs in Cape Town as well as operational and long-forgotten commuter stations and the endless tracks weaving into one another.

It’s an important activity to try for both locals and visiting tourists, and a great outing for couples and families alike. ‘Our focus is firmly on locals, and it’s important for us to keep the rates affordable,’ says Rick.

The cherry on top? If you’re lucky enough, the sun setting on the Atlantic Ocean will definitely be an experience to behold for years to come. The steam train tour to Simon’s Town is one of the best day trips in Cape Town and a fabulous way to explore the city’s rich culture and attractions.

steam train tour to Simon's Town

Your train schedule and itinerary

The steam train tour to Simon’s Town operates on both PRASA (commuter rail) and Transnet (a heavy haul freight rail)  routes and is subject to the movements and operations of the companies. And with load shedding still in place, you may experience some delays en route. It’s not recommended to plan events directly after the trip.

Head to the meeting point located at AC Hotel by Marriott in Foreshore, passengers board anytime from 7:15am when the locomotive arrives on the platform. The train departs sharply at 8am, so get there earlier to marvel at the steam train up close, explore the carriages, and meet the Ceres Rail Company team.

The estimated time for arrival in Simon’s Town is 11am, and there are about 3.5hrs to explore the historic village. Go on a self-guided walk along the main road, or try one of the TukTuks, shuttles, or mini-buses at the station. There’s much to see and do while you’re there. Visit the Naval Museum, browse through vintage stores on the main road, or dine on fresh seafood at the many waterfront restaurants and cafes in Simon’s Town.

Departure back to Cape Town kicks off at 2:30pm, and arrival in Cape Town at 6:30pm.

Need to know

No smoking or vaping is permitted on the train. There is a fully stocked bar serving cocktails, beers, and bubbles, as well as a dining car for snacks, sandwiches and coffee onboard. No personal food and drink are allowed on the train. Purchases can be made by cash or card.

Ceres Rail Company’s steam train is wheelchair friendly in the Lounge Car seating only, and no smoking is permitted onboard.  The weather in Cape Town is famously unpredictable, so do take along a light jersey or jacket.

Cost and how to book your tickets

Day Sitter seating – R575 per adult, R450 per child, R500 per pensioner (60 and over)
Bar Lounge seating – R799 per seat (no under 18’s)
Lounge Seating  – R799 per seat
Observation Car Seating- R899 per seat

All bookings must be made online in advance. Note that the Observation Car can be booked as a private venue. Contact the team for more details.

When: Saturday 27 April; Wednesday 01 May; and Sunday 19 May
Where: Meet on the platform at AC Hotel by Marriot,  Dockrail Rd, Foreshore, Cape Town

Tel: 079 401 9353
Facebook: @ceresrail
Instagram: @ceresrailcompany

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