The last train out
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝟭𝟮 𝗡𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯.
Willie Marais was once a steam train driver born opposite the railway station in Touws River in the Western Cape. Built in 1881, the station was the central hub of the community. Touws River was one of many thriving towns built around an extensive railway network. That all changed in the 1980s when any route deemed uneconomical was simply cut off. Entire communities were drained of their lifeblood, leaving thousands jobless, and the towns began to die. Today, these towns are sad remnants of their former glory, with most inhabitants surviving on state grants, and the tracks leading to these far-flung places are lined with derelict and abandoned sidings. While trucks thunder past, the people left in their dust cling to the hope that, somehow, their towns can be revived.
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