The history of the Choo Choo Park Train

For the children playing at Choo Choo Park on the corner of Belvedere and Cleveland road in Claremont, the train is something which captures the imagination. It’s large, red, and provides full steam ahead to all the wonderful places that exist in their minds.

It may have looked a bit scruffy in the past but last year it was lovingly restored by the Friends of Choo Choo Park who thought the iconic engine deserved a makeover to make her look all shiny and new. Surrounding businesses pitched in too. The group were helped by ProPaint and the the paint was donated by Stoncor. Generous donations were also given by Belvedere Square management and Cal’cacchio a pizza restaurant situated in Belvedere Square, according to local newspaper, The People’s Post. 

While the makeover has made the train look like it’s just come from a show room, what few people realise is that the train itself is steeped in history and is currently at least 121 years old! The locomotive was actually built by the Brooks Locomotive and Machinery Co in New York, USA in 1894/1896 (sources differ on the year) and was given a works number of 2725.
According to one blog which features stories about old steam locomotives dotted around South Africa, Belvedere’s train started service life at the Transvaal & Delgoa Bay Collieries Ltd near Witbank. Choo Choo Park’s train is not the only one of its kind in Cape Town – there’s another one plinthed in Intaka Island in Century City. 
Claremont’s iconic train has worked hard. During the course of its life the train became the property of the City of Cape Town Corporation (City Council) and used as a shunter at the Dock Road and the Table Bay power stations at the Cape Town foreshore and was referred to as “Dyna-Mo” or “Dinah-Mo” – again sources differ on the name. Shunter locomotives are typically used for manoeuvring coaches rather than for making journeys but the work is onerous nevertheless. 
However, there was a stage where even Dyna-Mo could not conduct all the work allocated to her. Neville Aubrey, who saw the train in operation when he joined the Table Bay Power Station’s engineering staff wrote to the Friends of Choo Choo Park about the train’s last movements. “The increased shunting duty that accompanied the commissioning of the very much larger Table Bay power station stage 1 in 1937, was clearly beyond the capabilities of Dinah-Mo, and a powerful new Ruston Hornsby diesel-electric shunting loco had to be purchased, the steam loco then being relegated to a light duty standby status as D.R.P.S. was also decommissioned coincidentally with the demise of the electric trams which were being replaced by the electric overhead trolley bus service.”
The original Dock Road Power station was finally demolished in 1961/1962 according to Neville but Dinah-Mo was still being operated on a standby basis at the power station and was believed to be the oldest steam loco still in service anywhere in the country. 
But the strain of the work was starting to show. Neville adds: “However, over the years, by this time, her age had begun to show, serious corrosion deterioration of her boiler becoming evident. The government boiler inspector, after his routine two-yearly inspections and four-yearly pressure tests, had no option but to reduce her safe operating steam pressure, which of course reduced her shunting capability and her consequential usefulness. Eventually major and expensive boiler repairs became unavoidable for further operational use of the loco and the decision was taken to decommission her. This happened in 1967 or 1968. However, rather than selling her for scrap, in view of her unique history, it was decided to place her in a children’s playground for children to enjoy, and consequently all her fittings and accoutrements were removed and all openings welded closed for safety reasons before she was transported to the park.”
There’s no doubt that Dinah-Mo had a colourful life (both literally and figuratively). Older pictures show the locomotive sporting several colours including blue, red and green. Our photos provided by the Friends of Choo Choo Park shows that it started to look lacklustre after being exposed to the elements. However, since its revival it now sits proudly in the park painted mainly ‘fire-engine’ red with a bit of yellow and black. “Originally, during her operational life she had been painted dark maroon and, when sounded, her whistle was a high pitched peep-peep,” says Neville.
With such love and passion from the community and surrounds, there’s no doubt that Dyna-Mo will live a long life in the heart of Choo Choo Park giving ‘rides’ to children and capturing imaginations from days gone by. While Dyna-Mo may not be working hard right now we’re sure he’s enjoying giving all the kids a lift to whichever fantastic destinations they conjure up. 


*Article written by Andre Ter Morshuizen from Norgarb Properties. Photos courtesy of Ryan Matthews from The Friends of the Choo Choo Park, Angelique Ruzicka and Lew Norgarb.

Further Reading and related articles:
Piet Conradie - Cape Town Children's Playground

Friends of Harfield Parks - Feedback September


Princes Park clean up on 19 August
We had a successful work party – the beds were weeded, composted and mulched; low branches were trimmed; trees were weeded at the base and mulched to stop ring barking by Council weed eaters.

Our special thanks to:
Emile for the bakkie load of compost and mulch!  This will be a life-saver for the plants in the coming summer.

Sean for providing a most welcome and delicious breakfast fry-up – you made our day!

This young champ was helping pick up rubbish in the park – thank you mom for teaching him well!

On an ongoing basis we’d appreciate donations towards compost, mulch and extra labour at work parties.
Thank you to Urban Village Properties
Al’s monthly contribution towards weekly labour is invaluable for the upkeep and maintenance of our four Village parks and street kerbs.

R25 per month Donations
We have 13 people contributing R25 a month, but as you can imagine we need to raise much more than that to run our projects – so please consider setting up a debit order each month or you can donate via SnapScan:

Loubie Rusch
HVA has sponsored Loubie Rusch to assist FOHP in converting the Hampstead Park vegetable garden into an edible, indigenous, food garden which will be completely water-wise.
See the full article with photos here:

Jungle Gym in Purley Park
A big thank you to Cllr Cottle who has given a wonderful, big, new jungle gym to Purley Park from her Ward allocation fund.

Fence in Purley Park                   
Cllr Cottle has asked Parks to repair the broken section of the fence in the park. 
We need the services of a landscaper to draw up a proposed a walkway meandering around the park along the fence.

Purley Park Poo Bin to be moved       
Cllr Cottle requested Parks to relocate the doggy poo bin to a more suitable spot away from the children’s play area.     

Notice board in Hampstead Park
Robin Williams has been given the go-ahead to fix the notice board.

Benches in Surrey Park  
Benches to be repainted at the next work party in Surrey.                          

The test without dustbins on the street is ongoing.  It’s working well in some areas but not in others.
Dustbins in the parks are taking extra strain.

Broken Picnic Tables       
Cllr Cottle has asked Parks to obtain quotes for plastic wooden picnic benches to replace the rotten and damaged picnic tables in Hampstead, Princes and Surrey Parks.

Ball Play in Parks  
Gail carried out a poll on the HVA Facebook page – 82 residents voted in favour of allowing ball play in parks – no one voted against.  One comment about ball play was made. 
Cllr Cottle said they’d take up the matter and get back to the FOHP – wording needs to be considered to ensure no organised team practices take place in the parks.

Weekly Garden Program           
Once a week Francine supervises John and Morton who clean and maintain the Village parks, street kerbs and along the fence on the railway line.  It’s a never-ending job and the area is too big for just two people – wouldn’t it be great if we could sponsor two more gardeners?

Water Restrictions          
Level 5 water restrictions mean that no new beds may be created in public spaces.
We’re raising funds for water tanks to be housed in properties along the parks’ perimeter (they cannot be on Council land) to help plants survive the increasingly difficult summers.

Froggi Stream
The frogs are alive and hopefully breeding but not nearly as vocal as in previous winters.  There must have been a massive loss due to poor winter rainfall combined with the clearing of the canal at Harfield Station.

We need a volunteer to oversee the clearing and rehabilitation of this area.
FOHP will fund-raise to pay for labour.

Surrey Park Work Party14 October from 9am
Purley Park Work Party 18 November from 10am
Railway Line Cleanup First Sunday in May 2018

 Friends of Harfield Parks


Welcome to Chiropractic
By Jesse B Roberts
Chiropractic Intern at: The Chiropractic Health Centre

I am a Chiropractic intern, and will soon be practicing at The Chiropractic Health Centre in Claremont and Sea Point. Throughout my Chiropractic studies, I have been asked the same questions.
To list a few…
  • "What is Chiropractic?"
  • "Do Chiropractors only treat the spine?"
  • "Is Chiropractic safe?"
Over the years, I have noticed that more and more people are becoming aware of the natural health benefits related to Chiropractic and I no longer have to explain why I have been studying for the past 6 years.
With the current health-care movement towards evidence-based practice and the constant growth of scientific knowledge surrounding our profession, it is important that the general public is made aware of what Chiropractors have to offer. For those that are still unsure, I hope this article is able to clarify some of your questions. If not, feel free to contact me at, The Chiropractic Health

What is Chiropractic?  

Chiropractic is an art, science and philosophy specializing in restoring normal balance and function to the neuromuscularskeletal system and thus, facilitating the body's natural ability to heal itself. The term 'Chiropractic' means practiced by hand and, as the name suggests, Chiropractic is a drug and surgery-free, hands-on, safe alternative for optimal health, healing and general wellness.
The first Chiropractic manipulation was performed in 1895 and since, the primary health care profession has become the 3rd most popular in the world. Doctors of Chiropractic are highly skilled at assessing and treating neuromuscularskeletal conditions which affect the nervous system, muscles and joints in the body and specialize in the biomechanical integrity of the spinal vertebrae.

How does the Chiropractic adjustment work?

Chiropractors are highly skilled at assessing the vertebral joints in the spine in terms of mobility and function. Individual vertebral joints that are not functioning normally may irritate the spinal nerve that exits their 'intervertebral foramen'/opening. This irritation may affect the related nervous supply and result in back pain, neck pain and other problems in the body. The Chiropractor aims to identify and manipulate or adjust the dysfunctional joint, and thus, restore natural balance, mobility and function to the body.

Who can benefit?
• Babies and kids- "as the twig bends, so grows the tree"-David Noer. Children's bodies and nervous systems are rapidly adapting as they grow. It is important to correct any spinal problems early in life.

Pregnant women- Chiropractic can make delivery easier and decrease back pain during and after the pregnancy
Office workers- Today's world requires us to sit in unnatural positions, with minimal movement or activity for extended periods of time. This results in poor postural habits, neck/back pain and other issues.

Elderly- After years of wear and tear, the elderly can be susceptible to spinal issues.

Athletes- Athletes place large amounts of stress on their bodies in order to perform at their peak and push themselves to the limit. It is important to maintain optimal health and prevent conditions from developing later in life.
When should I see a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are known to treat any neuromuscularskeletal condition. This means anything that is related to your nervous system, muscles or joints may benefit from Chiropractic treatment. Although Chiropractors are known to specialize in the spine, the biomechanical integrity of the upper and lower limbs is never overlooked and the body is treated as a whole.
Common conditions treated by Chiropractors include:                                                     
• Neck pain
• Low back pain
• Headaches and migraines
• Whiplash
• Shoulder pain
• Arm pain (elbow pain and tingling in the hands)
• Hip pain
• Leg pain
• Sciatica
• Knee pain
• Foot pain

What causes neuromuscularskeletal conditions?
Strains, falls, accidents, lifting heavy objects and stress are some examples that may cause a joint to become fixated. A fixated joint has compensatory effects on other joints in the body and causes irritation to their surrounding musculature. This often results in muscle spasms, the development of 'trigger-points' and nervous changes, such as increased sensitivity.
What to expect?
Initial Consultation
At you initial consultation, the Chiropractor will take a full medical health history. This will consist of questions pertaining to your current complaint, previous conditions and your family history. Next, the Chiropractor will complete a physical exam consisting of posture analysis, range of motion tests, reflex tests, neurological examination and the relevant orthopaedic tests. The information gathered will aid the Chiropractor to find the root cause of your problem and, if necessary, he/she may refer you for further investigations such as X-rays and lab tests. Once a diagnosis is made, the Chiropractor will establish the most effective management protocol.
How will the Chiropractor treat my condition?
If the Chiropractor determines that your condition is best managed with Chiropractic care, they shall manipulate your fixations. Manipulation is a highly specialized technique delivered by hand and consists of a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust with a specific vector and at a specific joint level. Manipulations are very safe. You may feel instant relief as natural balance and function returns to the joint and the nerve is 'freed.' However, some conditions require more than one treatment, especially chronic conditions that have been present for a long time. At the Chiropractic Health Centre, we incorporate various modalities into our treatment protocols in order to optimize your recovery. These services include dry-needling, rehabilitation, strapping, massage therapy, pilates classes, Bioflex Laser Therapy, Storz Shockwave Therapy and Foot Levelers Custom Orthotics.


1. Are Chiropractors opposed to medical treatment?
No, Chiropractors recognize that often, medical/surgical intervention is the only appropriate treatment option and are qualified to refer when necessary.

2. What is the 'Cracking' sound?
A joint in the body naturally has a functional negative pressure system. During the Chiropractic manipulation, an audible 'pop' may be heard. This is gas/fluid shifting inside the joint and does not relate to the quality of the manipulation.
3. Is Chiropractic covered by medical aid?
Yes, most medical aid plans cover Chiropractic care.
4. Is Chiropractic covered by COIDS?
Yes, Chiropractic has been covered by 'Compensation for Occupational Injury and Disease' since 1994. Any treatment received from a Chiropractor, with or with-out referral and including X-rays, may be reimbursed by COIDS.
5. Are there risks involved?
All medical interventions involve potential risks and side-effects, Chiropractic is not excluded. However, it is important to know that you have a far greater chance of being struck by lightning than suffering from a complication of a spinal manipulation (1>1000 000).

At The Chiropractic Health Centre, we aim to restore mobility, function and health through natural, hands-on therapy and offer massage, rehabilitation and Chiropractic treatment.

Our Chiropractors are highly skilled at assessing and treating neuromuscularskeletal conditions and specialize in the biomechanical integrity of the vertebral joints of the spine. 

We provide evidence based treatment related to neck/back pain, sports and repetitive strain injuries, chronic headaches, pregnancy-related back pain, post-surgical rehabilitation, pediatrics, geriatrics and worker's compensation. 

 Our practitioners place emphasis on ensuring that our knowledge and treatment methods are up-to-date with the current literature and make use of the latest, evidence-based treatment modalities in order to optimize your recovery and health.

Our practices are conveniently located on the Atlantic Seaboard, Sea Point and in the heart of the Southern Suburbs, Claremont.

Chat to one of our friendly receptionists to make a booking or follow the link to learn more about our services:
Phone: 021 683 2996 (Claremont) or 021 439 8898 (Sea Point) 


Wall-top electric fencing has become a common sight in the Village as a first line of perimeter security. Many people may, however, not be getting the greatest benefit possible from their fencing. Fidelity ADT advise that “the effectiveness of these fences can be compromised if the wrong fence is selected and the installation done incorrectly.”

‘’For instance, there are general errors that residents should be aware of; certain aspects, including the wiring and structure of the electric fence, the height, number of zones required, and the lifespan of the fence, have to be considered, but are often overlooked.”

Things that need to be considered are:

  • Structure – the structure of the fence is determined by the height, quality and width of the wall.

  • Utilising the right installer – Good structure is useless, however, without the right person to put it together.
For more details click here

Other perimeter security tips include:

  • Gates – make sure that your gate opens and closes as quickly as possible. This means less time sitting in your driveway or the road where you are vulnerable target to hijackers. Also ensure that the motor has a locked box covering it to stop any attempts at tampering
  • Bushes and trees – make sure that bushes and trees on your property are checked regularly to ensure that they are not affecting your perimeter.
  • Beams – make sure that beams are installed correctly and at the most optimal angle to increase their range and effectiveness. It is also important to make sure that these beams are not obscured by shrubbery, or near reflective surfaces to prevent excessive false alarm activations.
  • Servicing your entire security system – It is very important that you have your security system serviced on a regular basis. Testing your alarm once a month is recommended.

(Information compliments of Fidelity ADT)

Cel: 081 412 6109   E-mail: