GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - The state of the historic locomotive in Graaff-Reinet is cause for concern among many locals, with vandalism and littering rife at its spot on Church Street.
"Most of the fencing around the train has been stolen and the train is being carried away piece by piece," a concerned local told the Advertiser.
The train, number 429 of the South African Railways Class 6 locomotives, was one of 40 built in 1893. After 70 years of dedicated service, the train was retired and later became a tourist attraction in Graaff-Reinet.
Sonette Meiring-Crouse said that her dad had helped to move the train to its current location. She also said that the train was re-painted and the copper was replaced in 2010 when the town was named Town of the Year in a competition held run by Rapport and Kwêla.
"This breaks my heart, there isn't respect for anything anymore," Meiring-Crouse said.
According to Acting Municipal Spokesperson, Edwardine Abader, the upkeep of the train is the responsibility of the Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality, under the Parks and Public Amnesties Section.
"The department has commenced with cleaning around that area," said Abader, adding that provision will be made in the department's monthly program for cleaning of the area every fortnight.
A new fence will have to wait for now, as the municipality determines whether there is room for a new one in the budget. "This will have to be determined before a timeframe can be given," Abader concluded.
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