RN 60 - Sandstone Heritage Trust transport fleet – 'International Rescue'
One of the essentials in being able to move swiftly to save items of historic importance is a transport capability.
Sandstone Heritage trust is fortunate in being able to deploy a fleet of road vehicles, including substantial lowbeds, and qualified staff and drivers, at short notice if necessary, to points far and wide to collect locomotives, coaches, wagons and other items of equipment under threat.
One of the longest trips was to Beira Docks in Mozambique to bring back a Peckett tank locomotive and a Baguley Drewry diesel locomotive from those purchased from Sena Sugar Estates. This was to establish whether it was not only logistically possible to do the job, but made economic sense. It was certainly possible and played a part in the shipping company giving us a better price to transport the remaining locos by sea to Durban.
The availability of road transport was critical in the recent case of the possible scrapping of locomotives at St. Helena as we were able to use our own vehicles for many of the moves, as can be seen by the North British tank on the outskirts of Ficksburg having been plucked from the jaws of the scrap dealers at the 11th hour.
Jo please insert the pic of North British tank on the outskirts of Ficksburg
|Having our own transport made it economically viable to even save an old DZ from St Helena as well. It was not fit to travel by rail, and under different circumstances would probably have been cut up for scrap, but there are so few of the early DZ wagons left, of the tens of thousands built, that it was thought worth saving so was loaded up and transported to Sandstone, Initial research suggests it may have been built in 1928, surely a remarkable survivor of the mass destruction of still serviceable wagons in recent years.|
Another use for the transport fleet is what could be called internal movements within the confines of the property. Following the saving of the Train Restaurant Dining Cars from Halfway House near Johannesburg, which have been placed on a display line near the narrow gauge Hoekfontein Station, it has been decided to assemble a complete vintage display train of wooden clerestory coaches, the others coming from Ficksburg. At the head of the train will be the ex-Loraine Class 10CR, itself built in 1910, which has been stored near Vailima siding.
This was loaded onto our lowbed and transported the five kilometers or so to Hoekfontein for its new display role.
Final pic to be inserted is 10CR being unloaded onto the display line.
Of course, these are just a fraction of the moves involving our widely travelled transport fleet which has, like the TV series of old, earned the nickname of 'International Rescue'.