Those of you who live in the area and use the Kenilworth Road, the Kenilworth station is probably very much on your mind at the moment– especially when it comes to crossing the railway line! However, it wasn’t always this way –many people have fond memories of Kenilworth station and the people who worked there. The station was safe and clean, while the trains were kept in beautiful condition and ran on time! Below is a collection of memories from people who frequented the station, often on a daily basis.
“Wonderful memories of Kenilworth station - I travelled on the 8.12 (and it arrived at 8.12) every week day to Observatory to school from 1952 to 1956. Arrived at Observatory at 8.22 sharp ...kids often tried to get through the small gate after the boom came down and the man operating the boom would sometimes close the gate as they were going through. There was a ticket office as well and a waiting room with toilet facilities and seating. Also used the post office which was just outside the station quite often.” – Charlotte Reynolds
“I used to live in Kenilworth in the mid-nineties and used to catch the train to Muizenberg every day. I remember the shop on the station, the man that ran it used to be addicted to Grandpa's. I also remember the stained-glass shop that was run by the Colleen Peacock and her sister. The station was safe and clean in those days.” - Liezl Wollenschlaeger Brown
“The Putney Road subway, being an L-shape, was sought after for liaisons by local prostitutes and their clients, but was always immaculately kept.” - Barry du Plooy
“I helped a Mr Krok who ran the kiosk. Had to run to the train windows to sell the passengers their newspapers.” - George F Larke
“On Kenilworth Station where the trains from Cape Town stopped there was a Waiting Room. Behind the Station was the Station Master’s house with a piece of land with creepers and bushes. As kids we decided that this was a wonderful place to build a den. My Dad had a plentiful supply of cardboard boxes from the shop especially the ones that contained toilet rolls. So, we duly made the den and if it got wet we had a steady supply of cardboard boxes.” - Rosemary Grant-Eveleigh
“I lived in the block 'Many Gables' at the top of Putney Road, against the railway line and next to the subway, from March 1978. I caught the train into 'town' daily in the early rush-hour, returning after work. Fascinated me how many people followed that routine and always looked so familiar. When people approached me 'out of context' with the comment 'You look so familiar', I would usually respond with 'What train do you catch in the morning?' and we would have a good laugh.” - Barry du Plooy
“Many years ago, I had the privilege to work for the Barclays Bank in Wynberg and on certain occasions I was taken to the Sub agency to help with the daily duties there. The agency was situated in the main road right next to the traffic intersection. During my well-deserved lunch break I would walk down to the railway station in Kenilworth just to get a little peace of mind and a short rest on the platform. What a real pleasure it was in those days.” - Andrew Albertyn
“I was personally involved in a driving incident with my tiny Sephardic-descended paternal grandmother, close on eighty, in her gigantic Hudson, I think. Aged five, I accompanied Mater, as she was universally known to family and non-family, to visit her great friend, Mrs Sanderson, who lived in a flat on First Avenue [opposite the gates of St Luke's which was then the home of Dr MacDonald and family], just over the level-crossing at Kenilworth Station. I dozed on the back seat and awoke with a bump and a frightening grating noise. Mater’s car was no longer on the road but jammed on the tracks and she couldn't find reverse. It was a terrible embarrassment. The operator of the signal-box approached shouting and waving his arms: "There's a train to Simons Town in five minutes. Your days of driving should be over." Intending to turn left after the crossing, Mater had made the turn in the middle of it. Fortunately, there was a line-maintenance team at hand and they were summoned. How they hooted and laughed as they pushed the car off. Mater was unperturbed.” - Richard Benjamin
“There were often drivers who tried to beat the booms after the lights started flashing. One or two didn't make it and how embarrassing to be caught in the middle and having to beg the boom operator to let them out… he used to let them stew for a while.” - Charlotte Reynolds
“In my teenage years I befriended a gentleman who was the general cleaner on Kenilworth station by the name of Mr. Vosloo. My late grand mother worked for a prominent lady who lived in Karatara Avenue and during visits to my granny I met this gentleman. I later on in life discovered that he was a neighbour of ours just a stone throw from my parents' home. What a coincidence. Kenilworth station was one of the tidiest railway stations in those days.” - Andrew Albertyn
“It was a clean and well-kept station. There was a bookstall as at many stations. Kenilworth Road with its booms was practically attached to the station. The trains were clean and the best mode of transport for going to work in the city. This was probably in the late 1950's and 60's.” - Ruth Leibbrandt
“The trains were fabulous...all varnished wood and lovely seating in green leatherette. There were racks above the doors where you could stack your suitcase and the windows had a stencil of the springbok on all of them. There was a ticket examiner who would come through to clip your ticket and there would be a hell of a fuss if you couldn't produce your ticket!” – Charlotte Reynolds
Many who live in the area or use Kenilworth Road on a regular basis, are probably aware that the Kenilworth Station booms are not working and have not been working for a while. Not only is this dangerous, it’s also causing headaches for those who have to live with screeching brakes and even verbal abuse. We shed some light on the situation. Read more here.
And did you know? The Kenilworth Station was originally a simple shed. Here is the background story of the history of the line, the trains and the stations.