The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe was the last remaining continually-operated passenger steam train in Africa, ending operation in June 2009. The Western Cape Province's Tourism Departement is trying to find a new operator to keep this heritage tourism asset operational.
The rail linking the towns of George and Knysna in the Western Cape, was completed in 1928. The 3 hour journey also stops in the towns of Wilderness, Goukamma, and Sedgefield. The scenic 67-kilometre route follows the rugged coastline of the Garden Route before ending by crossing a bridge over the lagoon in Knysna.
It was declared an officially preserved railway in 1992.
Since 2006 the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe started to operate between George and the Dias Museum Complex in Mossel Bay, a scenic route traversing the farmlands outside George with the Outeniqua Mountain in the background before descending down to the Indian Ocean.
All trains depart and arrive in George from the Outeniqua Transport Museum where a variety of steam locomotives, including the Emil Kessler- Johannesburg’s first steam locomotive, carriages of a bygone era, crockery, cutlery, road motor vehicles and vintage cars are on display.
In Mossel Bay the train stops at the Dias Museum Complex, explore the Maritime Museum with a replica of Bartholomew Dias Caravel, visit the Shell Museum, the famous Post Office tree and the Aquarium.
A class 19 D steam locomotive, although other locomotives may be used on certain occasions, normally hauls the trains.
The Choo Tjoe offers its passengers a unique, picturesque and scenic 52-kilometre journey experiencing the Garden Route with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.