Thank you, Ferdinand

Train driver Ferdinand van Rensburg and the Joubert brothers, from left, Roald, 4, Ellis, 6 , and Joel, 8.

Katinka Joubert, Glencairn

My boys had a very close encounter on Glencairn Beach with the Simon’s Town bound train on Tuesday July 12.

On return from fetching my youngest at preschool, the boys and I parked at Glencairn Beach for a quick stroll with the dogs, it was a lovely break in the rain, a nice sunny winter’s day.

The tide was high, closing the strip of beach leading to the tidal pool with the river mouth. Distracted by the dogs and cleaning up after them, I did not notice the boys crossing the overhead train bridge to access the tidal pool.

It was only when I heard the train’s whistle that I realised how far they were away from me and what imminent danger they were in. I ran towards the train, feet turning to lead with the thought of losing them. My eldest two, Joel, 8, and Ellis, 6, made it out of the tracks onto the walkway in time, but my youngest, Roald, 4, froze on the bridge, right next to the tracks. The train came to a halt next to him, just in time.

In the instant of the train stopping, I thought I had lost all three my boys. A horrifying moment for any parent. Miraculously no one was harmed and all three boys made it down to safety.

A dear friend of mine, Andy Stuart, who also resides in Glencairn, consoled me afterwards and made it her mission to find the train driver. On Saturday July 16, we had the privilege to meet Ferdinand van Rensburg, the train driver in charge of stopping the train, and his lovely wife, Georgina, also a driver on the same line, and thanked him for being alert and stopping in time.

He admits that due to momentum, a driver can break, but the train stops when it stops and he agrees that the incident was nothing short of a miracle.

Due to load shedding and maintenance, the trains have not been running as usual, causing us to forget how cautious we need to be. We want to warn Glencairn beachgoers to be alert at all times and want to urge Metrorail to give warning (by light or flag) when the trains do run. A special thank you once again to Ferdinand van Rensburg and the vary brave drivers and operators doing their best in keeping our pedestrians safe.