SkyscraperCity Forum banner

Branch line revitalization: Franschhoek Wine Tram to run between Franschhoek and Paarl

8069 Views 20 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  waltjie
#Franschhoek Wine Tram

Franschoek to implement new tram service
MONDAY MAR 05, 2012

A new attraction is on track to becoming a tourist icon in the Western Cape.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram arrived at its permanent home this week when a crane lowered it on to tracks near the Franschhoek Cellar.

The tram will be operating by the end of September, taking passengers on a two- to three-hour tour that will include wine tastings and other activities.

"Visitors will be able to take in the scenery, the wine and the vines," said David Blyth, general manager of the Franschhoek Wine Tram.

He said the project had been 10 years in the making.

The trip, at a leisurely 18km/h, will include a narrated guide to the history of the area and wine cultivation in the Franschhoek Valley. It will use old SA Railways lines.

The Franschhoek branch line opened in 1904 and Blyth said the tram would assure its preservation.

The "Fran tram" was built by Prof Engineers, an SA company that specialises in equipment for the rail and mining industries.

Modelled after a late-1800s open-sided Brill tram, the low-emission vehicle will seat 30.

The Argus

Source: IOL Property
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
^^ This is super-cool!!! A wyntrein. :booze:

I was trying to propose such an initiative along the seldom used Worcester-Robertson-Ashton line to the BVM-LED Manager and Worcester Tourism. Unfortunately, on this side of the mountain, people tend to be slow on the uptake.
Wow that is such a cool addition! Was just saying over the weekend how CPT needs to introduce a few tram routes.

Hope this will be a huge success and expand the idea throughout the city. Imagine a Constantia to Muizenberg or even an Adderley/Wale Street tram!
Nice! Kind of like the San Francisco tram system but more scenic. What kind of propulsion do these use?
I love the use of old and disused rail tracks - and anything that means you can hit 10 wine estates without driving is a winner straight away...
I love the use of old and disused rail tracks - and anything that means you can hit 10 wine estates without driving is a winner straight away...
I hope they'll be supplying barf bags :D
I like, i like.
Interesting news from the Western Cape. A new tourist rail service named Franschhoek Wine Tram to be launched in Spring 2012.


The Tram will be officially launched in the Spring of 2012

World renowned for its spectacular beauty, superb wines and world class restaurants, the Franschhoek Valley will soon boast a unique tram service running from the historic Franschhoek Village stopping at some of South Africa’s oldest and most renowned wine estates.

Our aim is to create a tourist icon here in Franschhoek on a par with the Table Mountain Cableway or the Cape Point Funicular, we want the tram to become synonymous with Franschhoek and the wine tasting experience

"The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a huge win for Franschhoek and the Western Cape as a whole. No other wine growing area in the world can boast its own rail-based tram system giving tourists direct access to wine estates, this truly is a unique project"
The Area
Breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world-class cuisine and fine wines: These are the hallmarks of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

When the Huguenots first settled in this spectacular valley over 300 years ago they bought with them their traditions and knowledge in winemaking and viticulture from their native France and transformed the wilderness around them into one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. This proud heritage can be seen and felt today in the Village and on the surrounding farms.

Franschhoek, or ‘French Corner’ was originally settled in 1688 by 176 French Huguenot refugees who had escaped religious persecution in France. Before this, the area was known by the Dutch government as Olifantshoek, or ‘Elephants Corner’, named after the elephants that roamed the valley.

Driving into Franschhoek you will notice that most of the farms still bear their original French names and are usually complete with a spectacular Cape Dutch homestead, towering oaks and rolling vineyards.

There are a variety of cellars, from small boutique wineries that cater for those in search of something unique, to large cellars that offer organised tours and conducted tastings. Award-winning wines range from plump reds to elegant whites and delicious sparkling wines.

This longstanding tradition of winemaking is a perfect complement to the excellent food that is served in any one of Franschhoek’s more than 40 restaurants. Franschhoek is known as the Wine & Gourmet Capital of South Africa and has among its truly talented chefs several who have been awarded the highest national and international culinary honors. From the innovative and delicious food, to chocolate or olive oil tastings, wine and food pairings, cooking classes, there is always something to entice the senses.

Franschhoek is also well known for its many festivals throughout the year, from the Bastille Day festival every July to the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in December, and many more in between. Whatever time you decide to visit our beautiful valley you are sure to find something unique to do

The experience of visiting the Franschhoek Valley and enjoying all it has to offer will now be enhanced by taking a leisurely tram journey through this truly magnificent area on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. This exciting initiative builds on Franschhoek’s reputation as the Wine & Gourmet Capital of South Africa, taking the concept of a food and wine experience to an entirely new level.
June 6, 2011 - The Wine Tram construction progress - news from the website

The Franschhoek Wine Tram construction is progressing at a steady pace. Main structural elements have been completed. Wheel sets, brake rigging, hydraulic power pack etc. have all been fitted. Engine compartment sound attenuation is complete and exhaust routing and fabrication is done.

Now we can see the Franschhoek Wine Tram is taking shape. We cannot wait for the end product to be complete, and that first wine tour- worth getting exited!

January 16, 2012 - Franschhoek Wine Tram Construction Completed

Final off-site testing of the Franschhoek Wine Tram has taken place and the tram is now ready to make the journey to the Franschhoek Valley where it has been greatly anticipated by wine estates and eager wine lovers. A dark green exterior color was selected for the Franschhoek Wine Tram which will blend in beautifully with the Franschhoek valley vineyards and scenery. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is sure to be a totally unique experience for all the local wine lovers as well as tourists to the valley.

February 28, 2012 - Franschhhoek Wine Tram Delivered

Early morning on Sunday 26 February 2012, the Franschhoek Wine Tram started it’s long journey by road from Gauteng to its new home in the Franschhoek Valley. Today, after a two-day journey, and with much anticipation the approximately 6-ton tram finally arrived. It was lifted off the truck by crane and placed on the line adjacent to the Franschhoek Wine Cellar, ready for final testing to take place over the coming months.

The Franschhoek wine tram will offer it’s guests an unique wine tasting tours, with scenic trips through beautiful Franschhoek vineyards. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is scheduled to be launched in spring later this year.

Franschhoek Wine Tram Test Runs

The Franschhoek Wine Tram Project

The Project Facts from the Website

Project Facts:

  • Official launch is scheduled for the spring of 2012
  • The wine tasting tours will include a narrated tour focusing on the history of Franschhoek and wine cultivation in the Franschhoek Valley
  • The Franschhoek Wine Tram was designed and constructed by Prof (Pty) Ltd. Engineers, one of South Africa’s leading specialist engineering companies involved in the development, design and manufacture of bespoke equipment for rail, mining and industrial applications
  • The newly constructed Franschhoek Wine Tram is loosely modeled after the open-sided Brill Trams of circa 1890 and seats approximately 30 passengers on 8 comfortable benches, 6 of which have flipped-over, tram-style seatbacks that allow passengers to enjoy the views in both directions
  • The Franschhoek Wine Tram will be able to attain a leisurely speed of 18km/h and is fitted with roll-down awnings to protect passengers from any inclement weather
  • Passenger access is via two low-raiser, non-slip fixed steps along both sides of the tram allowing for safe and easy passenger access and includes wheelchair access
  • The Franschhoek Wine Tram houses a self-contained hydrostatic propulsion system that utilises the latest in bio-diesel engine technology which has reduced greenhouse gas, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide emissions when compared to fossil fuel
Project Highlights:

  • Creation of a new Western Cape tourist ‘icon’
  • Job creation, skills development and entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Significantly increase tourism to the Franschhoek Valley
  • Enhance the Franschhoek brand locally and internationally
  • Reduce traffic in the Franschhoek Valley
  • Provide tourists with a safe method of travel while wine tasting
  • The only wine growing area in the world where wine estates can be directly accessed by tram
  • The Western Cape Government aims to use the tram project as a catalyst to promote tourism development in the area
Some other facts that I found

1. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is owned by a company called Fransrail CC
2. The old disused railway line between Paarl and Franschhoek was leased by Transnet to Fransrail on a long term basis
3. The Railway Safety Regulator already issued a Railway Safety Permit to Fransrail for the testing and commissioning phase.
AMAZING! Cant wait to go on it :)
Revitalizing old tracks, scenery and wine...this is going to be oversubscribed instantly. They will need ten more trams. Let's hope it spreads all over these beautiful disused lines.
Thanks for all the info, Higer.
We're already planning a drunken September run :p

There's another thread on this here:

We must get them merged. Awesome shots in this one!
We're already planning a drunken September run :p
Cape Town SSC meet-up? :)
Sounds like a perfect idea ;)
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.