Three Train Stations

Pinelands is surrounded on four sides by railway track, so it follows that rail transport plays a major part in the history of Pinelands.

Raapenberg Station was the first railway station to service Pinelands. It was originally just a low wooden deck and hut serviced by steam trains. Later a full station was built but in time was superseded by the Pinelands Station and was eventually closed and demolished.

In the early days of Pinelands, residents wanting to go to Town at night by train had to carry their paraffin-burning storm lanterns to the unlit station which had only a corrugated shelter. Their evening out was curtailed by the last train leaving town at 11 pm.

Even before the Pinelands Station was built, residents enjoyed a special lunch-time train which brought them from Cape Town and returned them again. The only stipulation was that there had to be a minimum number of passengers. Sometimes when only six people used it, the kindly conductor would adapt his register to show up to 40 people using the train.

Pinelands Station was completed in 1925, although the first-class waiting room was only built in 1942. Some four years after the opening of the station the Minister of Transport threatened to close the Cape Flats line, apparently because it was not used enough. Fortunately nothing came of this.

The station and the rail service were the subject of debate at almost every meeting of the Civic Association during the 1930’s and 1940’s resulting in deputations constantly approaching the System Manager. Residents had ongoing complaints about the late arrival of trains and the one hour it took the morning train to travel the five and half miles to Cape Town. Overcrowding at rush hours and the noise of the remaining steam trains were also causes of annoyance.

In 1939 the complaints centered around hooligans at the station, but whenever a uniformed constable went to investigate all was quiet much to the complainant’s embarrassment. A few years later, in July 1943, the train timetable was adjusted, and a constable was permanently on duty to control the congestion caused by the fact that the focal point for Langa had been moved from Maitland Station to Pinelands Station.

Despite the ongoing complaints about the station and the train service, there were many fond memories when the station was demolished. One such story was of lady who lost her shoe between the train and platform when boarding the train at Pinelands. The passenger alighted at Maitland Station, the next station on the line. A call was made, and the Pinelands Station master agreed to put the shoe on the next train.  Unfortunately, the next train did not stop at Maitland. While the shoe owner waited for her shoe the train come speeding past with the conductor flinging her shoe on to the platform.

The Oude Molen Station was built in 1942 at the crossing from Maitland which dated back to the early days of the path for ox wagons heading into the interior.

The Railway Administrator originally refused to name it after the nearby historic farm Oude Molen as it sounded too Netherlandic. He also rejected Uitvlugt as a station with that name already existed. Residents suggested Peak View Station and Woodside Station as alternative names. However, sense prevailed, and it was named Oude Molen. Unfortunately the station was not widely used and was demolished. The road name, The Crossing in the area is the only memory of the crossing where the station was built.