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

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

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 of puff of smoke…

And now you can experience the splendour firsthand aboard one of Ceres Rail’s family-friendly locomotives! The three-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.

Wine-tasting en route

Train Elgin Scenery

Ceres Rail recently welcomed a sommelier on board to offer professional wine-tasting during the journey (at an additional cost). Considering that you’re heading into the cool-climate wine country of the Overberg, with Elgin home to more than 20 estates, what better introduction to the region? Sit back in the new Lounge car and enjoy. Wine not your thing? Fret not, there’s a full bar on board serving beers, spirits and cocktails.

The destination: a cool market

Once the train pulls into the Elgin station, you will be able to disembark and enjoy three-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. R625 per person Book Now
Bar Lounge Seating Seating in comfortable lounge chairs in the bar. Great views. No under 18s. R750 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. R750 per person Book Now
Family Coupe­ Offers privacy and a large window. Suited for a maximum of three adults, or two adults and two children. R1 500 per unit Book Now
Family Compartment­ Offers privacy, a large window and a table. Suited for a maximum of six adults, or four adults and two children. R2 900 per unit Book Now
Observation Car Truly the best seats in the house. Usually offered for the exclusive use of large groups of up to 28 people (with special catering), it can often be booked by individuals. It comes with air conditioning, a private bar and wine-tasting, and guaranteed all-round panoramic views. R850 per person Book Now


  • 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

  • Snacks and drinks are sold onboard. No food and drinks can be brought onto the train (in the case of special dietary requirements, exceptions can be made by prior arrangement).
  • 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.
  • Pensioners can sign up to the waiting list for discounted rates.
  • Ceres Rail also runs occasional trips to Ceres.

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Harbour Bridge Hotel, Dockrail Road Foreshore Cape Town