As Sandstone is not actively involved with 3’6” gauge operations it has been decided to move our 3’6” assets off Transnet property at the old Bloemfontein steam loco depot and relocate them to Sandstone Estates at Ficksburg. The first locomotive to be moved is the rather forgotten “other” GMAM, number 4114. This locomotive was purchased from Randfontein Estates Gold Mine at the same time as number 4079 “Lyndie Lou” which saw a great deal of main line use up to a few years ago.
4114 had been cared for by Lukas Nel before he retired in April 2019 and was moved on August 19, 2021, from its parking space next to the old loco shed in Bloemfontein Depot for loading on road transport to Ficksburg. It is believed that this is the largest locomotive ever moved by road in South Africa and unusually the GMAM has not been split into its component parts. Some clever logistics by Mercor Transport and Munro Transport has enabled the loco to be placed on a massive multi axle trailer in one piece. Avoiding the use of heavy and expensive cranes was key and by utilising a second gooseneck lowbed trailer as a loading ramp, 4114 was safely loaded on to the multi axle trailer without damage to any of the pivots which is always a risk when moving Garratt locomotives. 4114 weighs 160 tons devoid of coal and water and is just under 29 metres long.
There are other locomotives to be moved from Bloemfontein over the next few weeks and we will update the web site as this happens. Already there are some wonderful stories emerging about these later moves as some railway lines seem to have disappeared leaving the assets trapped. However, work is ongoing with a road construction gang to build a “highway” to their parking spot so they can be safely loaded. We must also say thank you to Transnet for their excellent cooperation and assistance at Bloemfontein Depot and at Transnet Head Office in Johannesburg for making the operation totally straightforward.
GMAM 4114 makes its first move since 2001
The multi axle trailer ready to receive 4114
4114 on the gooseneck trailer.
4114 on the gooseneck trailer being used a aloading ramp prior to moving on to the multi axle trailer
Closing the gap!
Safely on the multi axle trailer.
Another view of 4114 on the multi axle trailer.