This Public Benefit Organisation, the Hilton Steam Heritage Association, came about as a result of a consultative process including two public meetings with Umngeni Steam Railway (USR) and residents of Hilton Village. In order to look at ways of protecting our country's irreplaceable steam trains USR sent Hilton ratepayers a general email inquiring whether residents would be interested in getting the Hilton Station functioning again, both as a museum and a place from which to take steam train rides. As a result of the unanimous positive response from the public and with the assistance of the HRA, in April 2011 a meeting was convened at the Protea Hilton Hotel to find a way forward.
After much discussion and input from various parties, a unanimous decision was made to form the Hilton Steam Heritage Association committee (HSHA) and investigate the viability of running the museum and steam trains as a commercial venture: providing the necessary revenue to restore and maintain the steam trains; ensuring that this was a sustainable venture; drawing more tourists to the area; establishment of a tourism office; generating further income and job creation; preventing further urban decay in the heart of Hilton.
At present there is a high rate of unemployment in the greater Hilton area and due to a lack of funding. There is also no Local Economic Development project in the area. The project supports and compliments the following IDP Strategic Framework policy and goals and strategic objectives:
• Local Economic Development (LED) – Tourism Development and Link Route Upgrades; Sustainable Job Creation, Skills development, local economic participation by low income communities.
• Social Development – encouraging community development for sustainable livelihoods
• Infrastructure Investment – avoid deterioration of existing infrastructure, prevention of urban sprawl by densifying existing urban node.
Recently the station has hosted a number of successful family events such as the carols by candlelight and the heritage day celebration. At these times we fire up the old engines and bring people together to celebrate our community and the heritage that we all share.
Watch this space as the HSHA is picking up steam!
Chairman - Grant Fryer
telephone: +27 (0)83 278 1490
Ward Cllr - Craig Millar
telephone: +27 (0)74 125 9114