An exciting new book on The Sandstone Steam Railway. The Sandstone Steam Railway-the story continues
This 220-page hard-back coffee table book in landscape format encapsulates in words and photographs the Sandstone Heritage Trust collection that nestles in the vast, rich agricultural grain and cattle Landscape of South Africa’s Eastern Free State. This new publication illustrates the grit, determination and vision of the founders to save a representative cross section of the transport history of Southern Africa. By virtue of its location this living collection complements the beauty of the area with its 3.5 million old Sandstone cliffs, lakes and snow-covered, cosmos-clad farmlands in the winter months.
The book documents the history of the Sandstone Heritage collection of transport relics from the days of European imperialism and empire-building. Almost a generation back, the need by the then Transnet Heritage Foundation to secure a safe home for resources at a collapsing museum in KwaZulu-Natal saw Sandstone Estates being approached to rescue the exhibits. The embryo was ‘alive’. Over nine chapters, the glossy publication looks meticulously at the history of every single locomotive (both narrow and Cape gauge) as well as each piece of acquired rolling stock, coaches and dining cars together with other complementary heritage categories such as Military vehicles, Cars, Trucks and Buses, Vintage Tractors, Earth-moving equipment all surrounded by the crops, flora and fauna of the extensive Modern Farming operation at Sandstone Estates.
The text is rich in recollections and memories of challenging expeditions to rescue artefacts throughout South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The time consuming negotiations that typifies African politics, the topography and relocation under tough conditions of representatives of British and German locomotive engineering for example in post conflict zones, makes this book more than a catalogue of assets. Almost without exception Heritage items saved would otherwise have seen the cutting torch or been lost to pervasive rust and neglect.
The book also deals with the significant challenge of moving heavy items on poor roads over long distances. Sandstone’s most recent innovative challenge was to move by road two massive Garratts and other heavy locomotives representing the old days of the renowned South African Railways.
The Sandstone Heritage Trust has facilitated skills training to young South Africans of all creeds in active workshops in both Bloemfontein and at the estates. The collection has contributed to South Africa’s tourist industry and community development in the local Free State area. European tour operators have brought locomotive enthusiasts and other transport buffs to experience the live, working railway on the farm by way of regular shows and open days. Huge agricultural fairs, record-breaking ploughing competitions and what has become known as the ‘Sandstone experience’ are featured in the book.
Time to get a copy of the book, the second but much grander production on the Sandstone story, and enjoy......
In the UK the book costs £29 including post and packing.
In South Africa the cost is R795-00 including VAT and delivery.
The book is available in the USA at US$34. Delivery on quotation.
“The Sandstone Steam Railway, the story continues”. Compiled by David Richardson. Hard Cover, 340mm x 280mm.
Published by Sandstone Heritage Trust, 2022.