The atmosphere was upbeat, filled with joy and contentment when I sat down with the newly appointed Blue Train employees. I mean, wouldn’t you be?

The Blue Train Executive Manager, Ms. Hanlie Kotze’s vision was to start the New Year by introducing a management ethos, driven by dedication and zest to meet the brand’s goals of service excellence. Permanently employing 5 new members to the team, effective 1 January 2017 was taking a major step in that direction.

Appointed Blue Train Butler, Mr Thabo Buthelezi, happily explained; “It’s a beautiful and rewarding transition. Something a lot of people were looking forward to, and as the Good Book puts it, “Many are called, but very few are chosen”. I’m blessed to be one of the chosen ones. Mr Simon Moteka, excitedly added,” It’s a big change from being a casual Butler to becoming a permanent employee, not just of this iconic brand, but of a huge company like Transnet.”

Mr Xolile Yengwa couldn’t agree more with his colleagues as he smiled broadly and exclaimed, “It’s a good thing, and a happy soul will produce good things.”

The joy and excitement didn’t just stop aboard the train. The office employees, Mr Siyathemba Mbambo and Ms Primrose Nxumalo also have milestones of their own to celebrate .Siya, as he is affectionately known amongst his colleagues, is evidently a hospitality man, with his broad smile and eager to engage demeanour. He jokingly corrects me ‘Its Chief Admin Official: Operations-Planning & Control, not just Chief Admin.” It’s impressive to see he already takes his role seriously and is ready to be the ‘oil’ in the operations department machine.

Primrose Nxumalo is less brazen than Siya. I bet it is any caller’s dream to speak to a Reservations personnel who is so calm and friendly. She is as equally excited about her new role as a Reservations Consultant and looks forward to the challenges and growth ahead.

As physicist Carl Sagan once wrote: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” Dedication, hard work and persistence are truly the ingredients to success, not just for The Blue Train but for the Tourism Industry at large.