Little Train Cosmos Steam WeekendView the Gallery >>
Sandstone Heritage Trust staged another successful event over the weekend of 9th & 10th April. Named after the Cosmos wild flower that only blooms in autumn in South Africa, visitors were treated to fields of colour as they rode on the narrow gauge railway, took a vintage bus ride or just walked into the Cosmos areas.
Sandstone's events team gambled on the date as the Cosmos is a very fickle plant that could flower at any time during April, but they got it spot on! The weather added its own beauty to the event with clear blue skies for the two days over the Eastern Free State.
The main attractions took place on Saturday with train rides behind Sandstone's stable of smaller locomotives that are not often seen at such events as well as the visitor's favourite, Class NGG16 Garratt no: 113. Locomotives in steam were the 1895 ex Beira Railway Lawley 4-4-0, the 1914 Fowler , "Sandy", the O&K from 1910 and the Avonside tank loco, Sezela No: 3.
With the event on a working farm, there were agricultural exhibits to see as well. A vintage tractor display complemented vintage implements as well as a ploughing and threshing demonstration using vintage equipment. A large collection of working stationary engines from local restorers added to the variety of attractions while vintage transport enthusiasts were not disappointed with some very rare vehicles to look over including two Model T Fords and a number of steam traction engines and rollers. Regular tours of the farm were conducted by vintage tractor and trailer while a 1950 AEC Regal bus provided an alternative to rail transport.
Saturday evening saw a traditional Barn Dance round off the day's proceedings.
Sunday morning was for the rail enthusiast with a pre dawn trip behind NGG16 no: 113 to capture steam in the Cosmos. With clear skies the photographic experience was exceptional and both enthusiasts, photographers and those who just came for the ride enjoyed the four hour trip.
As winter approaches we shall soon say farewell to the Cosmos for another year and look forward to the next event, could it be "Steam in the Snow"?