Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 63 - Sandstone's GMAM no: 4079 successfully moved to Rovos Rail

Sandstone's GMAM no: 4079 successfully moved to Rovos Rail at Capital Park from Ficksburg over the first weekend of July. After preparation by the Sandstone rail workshop team under Gert Jubileus at Ficksburg, which included removing the connecting rods which weigh about 1000kg each, the loco was then prepared for the road by the Rovos Rail team of John Dadford,Cliff Petzer, Mike Haslam & Dirk Nagel. Departure from Ficksburg was around 0745 on Friday 1st and the train ran faultlessly through to Kroonstad via Bethlehem. A delayed departure from Kroonstad was caused by an electric unit problem but Leeuhof was reached safely on Saturday for the overnight stop. Failure of the electric unit scheduled to haul the train from Leeuhof to Capital Park meant a three hour delay in departure but the train safely reached Capital Park at 2100 on Sunday.

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Mike Haslam summed up his thoughts on the journey.
"What a weekend. Riding the footplate of a GMAM, the Free State at 30Km/hr where mielie fields go on forever, double line working semaphore signals and the great company of John and Cliffie. Making footplate stew on a gas primus and endless cups of railway tea. It was great, but a fireman feels a bit lost without his fire so instead I had a regular greasing schedule to keep me employed. It was long days and freezing cold mornings where the oil ran thick like syrup. We made it. The GMAM is now safe at ROVOS and I am looking forward to the day when I can really work on the footplate with her and fire her to a great driver like Cliff."

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Sandstone would like to thank the Rovos Rail team and all the Spoornet personnel who did their utmost to keep the train on the move and deliver 4079 to her new home.

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