A new attraction has popped up in Elgin in the Western Cape and it’s drawing in the crowds – by road and rail. The Elgin Railway Market opened on 16 June 2018, the brainchild of businessman Roger Orpen who converted the old apple warehouse into a bustling steampunk station market boasting local vendors, live music and a gateway to the beautiful Overberg town.
Inspired by the barn’s railway-side setting, Orpen took his creative cues from the invention of steam and the industrial age. The result is a beautiful space where art deco meets Victorian. Sweeping staircases, detailed metal archways, light fittings and wall sconces, raw brick and stone, black metal framed panes and a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style fan system of belts and pulleys result in a collective double take as visitors unsuspectingly enter the space.
“I moved to Elgin a couple of years ago and I started to reimagine this intriguing old barn,” says Orpen. “It was far from easy to buy the building and unbundle the red tape, but I felt sure there was something special in store.”
Working with designer Corban Warrington, Orpen eventually set up his own workshop to complete all the fittings and décor elements that brought the project to life. Only local artisans worked in the studio and Orpen is committed to using local suppliers wherever possible.
The next step in Orpen’s plan was to bring a steam train to the Market, which he now does a few times a month in partnership with the Ceres Rail Company. The whistle and steam of the arriving train is a must-see for children (and adults) and a bucket list experience for the passengers who sign up to take the ride. Visitors to the market can greet the train on the station platform or view its arrival from the Market’s leisure deck overlooking the railway.
Market visitors can choose from a wide range of food vendors serving everything from fragrant curries to schwarmas, Mexican dishes to health foods, and local treats like vetkoek, pancakes and biltong.
A bar will also serve local wines, beer and cider, or pop in at the artisanal gin bar for some local craft gins.
Aside from tasty eats you can also look forward to retail stands offering jewellery, leather goods, vintage clothing, pottery, wooden pieces and more.
The market has live music throughout the weekend and is in the process of constructing a children’s play space with climbing walls, ziplines and an area to hire for parties. Jungle gyms and roundabouts are currently keeping the little ones happy.
During the week, locals and working visitors can take advantage of the hot-desk zone with free wi-fi, plug points and printer facilities. Ground Central Coffee remains open to fuel Elgin’s workforce.
Those curious about exploring Elgin’s famed wine farms and attractions can check in at the info kiosk for more information. If you call ahead they can even arrange a tour in a vintage car (082 460 6046).
The Elgin Railway Market is open Fridays 4PM – 8PM, Saturdays 9AM – 8PM, Sundays 9AM – 5PM and the work space is open during the week 9AM – 5PM. Free parking is available.
Contact the Elgin Railway Market at 021 204 1158 or mail email@example.com