Train from Cape Town to Paarl under the cover with Ed Beukes
The lovely and quaint town of Paarl is located at only 62km out of Cape Town’s CBD and with convenient access to railway transport, one can easily hop a train and spend the day tasting wine between vineyards, drinking tea in charming thatched houses or even feed a squirrel running up an old Oak.
The Train from Cape Town to Paarl is without question the perfect way to start a fun and colourful daytrip out to the Boland, yet the reason for my catching a train at 06:10 on a Saturday morning was neither business nor pleasure and had me running to Platform 10 with a wedding suit flapping between me and my fiancé’s heels clicking down the corridors of the Cape Town Metrorail Station.
The train we were about to board is known as the Cape Town-Belville-Wellington-Stellenbosch-Strand train and goes back as far as 1863 when the Railway Service kicked off with its first passenger commuter train between Cape Town and Wellington, via Eersterivier.
Passing suburbs and towns such as Woodstock, Maitland, Parow, Bellville, Kraaifontein, Klapmuts, Paarl and finally ending in Wellington, this train also makes its rounds in Stellenbosch and Strand.
With my car being at a trustworthy panel beater (scarce these days) in Worcester and having to pick it up at 09:00, I had to catch a taxi at 05:45 in Gardens CBD, board the train at 06:00, arrive in Paarl by 07:30, catch a lift with my fiancé’s brother to Worcester, pick up my car from the panel beater, get dressed at a friend in a nearby town and hit the road to another friend’s wedding somewhere between Stanford and Gansbaai on the East Coast. If we missed the train… all would fail miserably.
Trains to Paarl leave as early as 04:00 in the morning and as late as 20:30 in the evening. Information regarding the different timetables and schedules is also very easily accessible on the Metrorail’s user friendly website and can tickets be purchased either at the stations or from Metrorail Ticket Officials with portable ticket machines.
My ticket was bought in extreme haste as our taxi driver decided to be 15 minutes late, and after only hearing wisps of “Platform 10” from the ticket booth lady, Chris and I jumped onto our train seconds before the doors casually swooshed to a close.
Safety: With marshalls patrolling the carriages and doors every time the train stopped at a station, I could not help but feel safe and protected and even dozed off for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Seating: More than enough, this man of 191cm had leg space for Africa.
Sensational: What caught my attention was some of the graffiti in the carriages and various posters had me frowning and laughing at their offers to services from marriage-spells to removing bad luck to enlarging certain male parts and offering promiscuous activity/jobs for free.
All in all our train ride was an experience and something I would definitely do again.
This time around, I would make sure to enjoy Paarl and taste wine at Laborie Winery, KWV or popular Juno in Main Road. Perhaps drink a flat white at Kikka’s, Bean in Love or pop in at Hout Street Art Gallery for some culture.
Paarl is worth a visit and can further be discovered when browsing around ShowMe Paarl, but when making the trip to Paarl, leave the car in the garage and take the Train from Cape Town to Paarl.
Content & Images: Ed Beukes