Steam Train to Elgin: A Train Ride from Cape Town to the Steampunk Market

Wine Tasting on Steam Train to Elgin

A relaxing weekend ride through the countryside.

Few things are more evocative than a steam-train ride through the countryside… It conjures movie scenes of star-crossed lovers saying their final farewells as the train chugs away from the platform amid a puff of smoke…

And you can experience the splendour firsthand aboard one of Ceres Rail’s family-friendly locomotives! The three-and-a-half-hour train ride to Elgin departs from the Harbour Bridge Hotel in the Foreshore district, and travels up and over Sir Lowry’s Pass (one of the steepest rail lines in South Africa). Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of mountains, rolling fynbos-covered hills, farmlands and apple and pear orchards along the way.

The destination: a cool market

Once the train pulls into the Elgin station, you will be able to disembark and enjoy two-and-a-half hours at the steampunk-themed Elgin Railway Market. With live music and a dazzling selection of clothing, accessories, toys, ceramics and art stalls, you’ll be able to enjoy all that’s on offer while savouring various street-food options and refreshments.

Kids can let off a little steam of their own on the climbing walls or in the play area, while the grown-ups sit back and enjoy the vibe with a glass of local wine, cider, beer or an L-gin cocktail.

Sitting pretty: seating options on the train

Ticket Type Description Cost
Day Sitter Seating ­Diner-type booth seating with great views. R675 per person, R500 per child Book Now
Bar Lounge Seating Seating in comfortable lounge chairs in the bar. Great views. No under 18s. R899 per person
Book Now
Lounge Seating In a more private section of the train, with little foot traffic, adjacent to the Observation car. Recline on comfortable sofas or wingback chairs and enjoy the services of a wine sommelier. R899 per seat
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Family Coupe­ Offers privacy and a large window. Suited for a maximum of four adults and two children. R1 775 per unit
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Family Compartment­ Offers privacy, a large window and a table. Suited for a maximum of six adults, or four adults and two children. R3 350 per unit
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Observation Car Truly the best seats in the house. Usually offered for the exclusive use of large groups of up to 25 people, it can often be booked by individuals. It comes with air conditioning, a private bar and wine-tasting, and guaranteed all-round panoramic views. R975 per person
Book Now

Onboard services

Elgin Steam Train

There are two baristas, to whip you up that cappuccino (or your choice of hot drink) as the train chugs out of Cape Town, and two bars – perfect for sunset cocktails on the journey home. Food and snacks are also available to purchase.

New for the 2024 season is an onboard spa service, offering massages either in your seats or in a dedicated spa compartment.


  • 8am: depart from Harbour Bridge Hotel, Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town
  • 11.30am: arrive at the Elgin Railway Market
  • 2.15pm: depart from Elgin
  • 5.45pm – 6.15pm: arrive back in Cape Town

Good to know

  • The trips are hauled by two locomotives; one steam and one diesel. On the rare occasion that a steam locomotive is not available, two diesel engines will be used, but customers will be informed in such instances.
  • One of the lounges is a wheelchair-friendly, accessible space, although numbers are limited due to space.
  • No food and drinks can be brought onto the train (in the case of special dietary requirements, exceptions can be made by prior arrangement).
  • Ceres Rail also runs occasional trips to Ceres.

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 22 December 2023