Railway Heritage

Johns Book

John Middleton’s new book.

Railway Historian, John Middleton, is well known to South African railway enthusiasts for his numerous books on South African Railways main line  and Industrial locomotives over the last 30 years or so. His latest book, Industrial Locomotives of South Africa (Volume 1) has been published. This covers the three Cape provinces, Free State (including a Sandstone entry), Kwa-Zulu Natal and North West provinces. It is available as a hardback book (B5 size) has 496 pages, almost 300 photographs (158 in colour) and 40 maps. Volume 2 which should be ready in 2024 (its already in draft form) will cover the rest of the former Transvaal plus Swaziland and Lesotho.The book is a magnificent work of reference and has obviously been part of the author’s life for some time.

To whet your appetite, here are some reviews from  readers:

“For fans of South African steam an announcement of the launch of a much awaited new book on the complex history of Industrial Railways and Locomotives of this beautiful part of the world. Published by the Industrial Railway Society this is the latest of their series of hand books and is a most welcome addition to this excellent series…..The book is segmented by geographical region and the simplified maps show the locations of each of the sites featured. Importantly there is an index of sites / companies at the rear of the volume. Volume 2 will also feature an index by locomotive which will be most useful and is a great improvement on the Indian and Chinese volumes which lack this useful feature. The book is excellently illustrated with both historic and more recent images illustrating the vast variety of loco types that operated. The pictures are embedded into the body of the text rather than a separate section at the back of the book which to my eyes is also an improvement on other volumes in this series. This new book aims to be a definitive  listing of all known industrial Steam, Diesel and Electric locomotives in South Africa, back to the first, a 7’0” gauge Hughes 0-4-0ST delivered to the Table Bay Harbour Board in 1862.” – Continental Railway Circle Review

I have just received your magnificent publication.  It was so big I could hardly pick it up.

It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could collect so much accurate date in a single lifetime and then record it in a meticulous way.

I cannot even imagine how many thousands of hours you must have spent working on this book.  It is and always will be the definitive reference book for industrial locos in South Africa”.

Sandstone Estates.

Click below to see more details of the book and how to purchase it. Also we have included, courtesy of the author, the section on Sandstone locomotives from the Industrial railway sector.

Ad  Page 1

Ad Page 2

Sandstone Estates

Some cosmetic work on the Sandstone locomotive collection.

The cosmetic restoration has begun of NGG16A 141, which donated it’s power bogies to NGG16A 155 in 2021 so that 155 could be finally restored to working order.  Our pictures show the engine units and part of the wheelsets after cleaning and painting.

IMG 20230519 WA0003

IMG 20230519 WA0004

IMG 20230519 WA0005


Class 6B 544 has also been given a makeover together in green  with 10CR 771 now resplendent in black livery after some years in red.

IMG 20230519 WA0001

IMG 20230519 WA0006

IMG 20230519 WA0002

Finally, for now, 24 Class 3688, which was moved from Bloemfontein a red ochre colour scheme, is now being painted in SAR black.

IMG 20230519 WA0007

Bloem locos shed Sandstone July 22
Three locomotives, originally from Sandstone’s Bloemfontein facility, are now under cover. From left to right, 11 Class 929, 19D 2654 and 24 Class 3688.

All the locomotives and rolling stock moved from Bloemfontein and Germiston are now in a covered facility at Sandstone.

Locomotives Galleries

The Sandstone Railway stock list has been a feature of the website for many years. For 2021 we are adding a photo gallery of all our locomotives in 5 parts.

Part 1 Narrow gauge steam (ex SAR)

Part 2 Cape Gauge Steam (ex SAR)

Part 3 Cape Gauge Industrial

Part 4 Narrow Gauge Industrial

Part 5 Diesel locomotives

We hope you enjoy them!

Sandstone Spring Festival

Sadly the Cherry Festival will not be held in Ficksburg in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic but a number of local establishments will be open over the weekend of Thursday 19th November to Sunday 22nd November together with Sandstone who will be holding a steam festival over the four days. Sandstone has been closed since the pandemic began but will re-open  for visitors from November 1st 2020.

From the 19th November until 21st November Sandstone will be offering train rides together with walking tours of the Sandstone Heritage collection.

Entrance is R200 for adults and R125 for children under 12.
Trains will run from 11h00 on Thursday 19th and Friday 20thth and from 10h00 on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd.

Please note that strict Covid 19 protocols will be followed and no one will be admitted if not wearing a mask. A screened temperature over 37 degrees will also result in non-admittance together with other members of the party.

Click here to Read more

SAR NGG13 No. 49 HANOMAG 10598 psh kl

The Sandstone Steam Railway Stock List has been updated. The new version amends the incorrect Hanomag works number for NGG13 number 49 from 10599 to 10598. Information via Andreas Giller at the Hanomag Museum in Germany and Garratt Bucher in the USA confirms that 10598 is the correct works number for number 49. The attached pic courtesy of Hanomag confirms the information.

Our documentation extending back some 20 years has always detailed number 49 as Hanomag 10599 but after all these years the correct information has emerged.

Click here to see the Latest Stock List


Screen Shot 2021 05 21 at 10.46.33

Sandstone Steam Railway has updated its stock list. The update corrects the build date of 15F 3052 and the disposal of four mainline coaches. - Click here to view


Sandstone Heritage Trust has a varied collection of stationary engines but one gem that is currently under repair is a Watermota K2 6hp twin cylinder 2 stroke inboard marine engine. These engines were produced by Watermota Ltd of Newton Abbot, UK from 1910 to 1955. Their long production run was testament to their durability and reliability. Also produced was the K1 3 hp single cylinder version. Both were used in small launches. The design was noted for its ability to feather the propshaft blades for forward, reverse or neutral obviating the need for some form of gearbox.

Watermota are also well known for their range of Ford Anglia based marine engines produced in the fifties and sixties.

Today the Watermota K1 and K2 types are highly prized as display engines around the world while some are still in service as light craft. The Sandstone example is having new brackets made for the ‘gear’ lever mounting, together with some seals and a new cam for the water pump.

Watermota image

The Watermota K2 marine engine. Starting was by a crank handle on the top chain pulley.


Today Watermota is still very much in business supplying marine engines – particularly Hyundai Seasall as well as other brands, accessories and parts.


Update on 14R 1745 - Impending scrapping put on hold

Sandstone is pleased to announce that the impending scrapping of Class 14R locomotive No. 1745 has been put on hold for the present. An Australian enthusiast and owner of an ex SAR locomotive in South Africa has expressed a desire to purchase some parts from 1745. In the interest of preservation Sandstone has agreed to delay any action with 1745 until the enthusiast has visited South Africa later in June 2015 and assessed the viability of a number of parts on 1745 for his use.

Letter from Grant Fryer regarding 14R 1745

Following on from the decision to scrap 14R No. 1745 we received the following letter from Grant Fryer at Hilton where 1745 saw service in the early 90s.


Good Day Sandstone,

I trust this email finds you well. I have recently seen the post on Reef Steamers of the intention to dispose of 14R 1745.

This is a loco that is close to my heart. I grew up on the Hilton old mainline, at Sweetwaters. I have vivid memories of watching the trains going over the level crossing, including 14R. I am sorry I never had a camera back then. My love for trains continued and eventually I worked at Hilton station during those preservation years. When 1745 was saved it was certainly with joy in my heart. I also so loved the colour scheme she went into, almost giving her a royalty title.

14R 1745 image 1

14R 1745 image 2

Today whilst cleaning at the station I came across a small book, ‘Locomotives of the Hilton line’.

Below are some scans of a few pages.

14R 1745 image 3

14R 1745 image 4

14R 1745 image 5

I saw her in 2013 when I was at Reefsteamers and took a photo.

14R 1745 image 6

I was filled with heartache after knowing her so well, and it is really sad to see her on the way out.


Grant Fryer