My name is Petrus Engelbrecht. I was born in South Africa and I have been a train driver there for 25 years. I had my temporary 457 visa approved to work as a locomotive driver in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
I used to work mostly night shift because I was class C driver and in South Africa it is only class C driver who are able to work long distances.
My regular route consisted of driving a train from Johannesburg to Ladysmith which is close to Durban. This journey is about 500 kilometres and we used to sleep in a Hotel between 8 to 10 hours before departing with another train to Johannesburg (Joburg).
This whole journey takes between 36 to 40 hours.
In South Africa there is only one driver in the train, plus an assistant who just resets things on a train when needed.
In winter It’s very cold through the night, about -3 degrees!
Depending where the load went , would determine when I signed off. Johannesburg has over 8000 signals in the train complex where the rails are and a train driver in South Africa must know where each and every one of these signals are .
The biggest problem was the robbing of the trains. It is interesting to know that I was robbed 84 times on my train and held up once with a AK 47!
But other than this, everything on the trains was quite good!
I thought that I would love a little quietness in life. I was born on a farm and lived all my life on a farm, so I was looking forward to the change that life in Kalgoorlie will bring.
My family and I have been settle in Kalgoorlie since August 2011.
On arrival and through time there were a few things that was amazing and quite surprising to us compared to South Africa, and that was:
1) to see people walking around at night(beautiful to see the freedom),
2) cars that were parked outside of homes through Out the night,
3)the tidiness in Town and also surrounding suburbs,
4)young teen agers working in shops,(building up working experience),
5) the pathway for people to walk and for bicycle riders,
6) To have a safe working environment,
7) a feeling of peacefulness
and much more.
The peacefulness to sleep at night and to know that we are safe is a blessing
For us as a family to have that freedom to walk at dawn and sunset is just amazing.
To know that our children will have a future in Australia is heart warming.
Our family want to thank Migration Downunder for their hard work and constant communication with us.