The Apple Express was started as a tourist train by the then South African Railways (SAR) in 1965, with regular weekend trips to Loerie. Since the late 1980s the line’s status as a tourist icon in the Eastern Cape was further entrenched with the annual Great Train Race, during which relay teams of athletes competed with the train over the 70 km distance between Port Elizabeth and Loerie.

The tourism operations on the Apple Express consists mainly of day-trips on the weekend – from Port Elizabeth to Loerie – with shorter weekday trips for mostly school groups to Chelsea Junction. Longer trips into the Langkloof, and along the Patensie branch, were limited to special steam safaris, with the recent introduction of weekend trips to Assegaaibos Station and Patensie firmly placing this unique rail experience on the list of top experiences in the region.

Read more on the history of the Apple Express