Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 66 - Weekly Steamshed Report - 8 - 14th July



The Kalahari's boiler was washed out this week. Des started with the repair work on the Kalahari for the Avontuur trip in September. It is planned to move the Kalahari to Port Elizabeth within the next three weeks. The Kalahari will ride the entire road of 285 kilometres from Humewood Road in Port Elizabeth to Avontuur, and therefore needs to be in an excellent mechanical condition. The tender will be modified to enable a larger coal capacity.

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THE HUNSLET DIESEL: (above left:)
The delivery of the wheels was delayed and Denrus Engineering promised that it would be delivered this Saturday. Des will immediately start with the machining of the bushes for the new crankpins. The Hunslet is going to be used to work the ballast trains next week.

HANOMAG 49: (Above right):
49 was steamed last Friday to clear the Vailima siding of all the empty wagons that were loaded with rail material for the new extension of the Railway line.

Sandstone Steams again!

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49 was steamed again on Tuesday for very special guests all the way from India. Dave Scales accompanied the tour that started with a delightful lunch inside Hoekfontein Station building. After lunch the train departed to Grootdraai where photos were taken of 49. Mr.Rajesh Agrawal had the opportunity of driving the locomotive from Grootdraai to Hoekfontein, and this really made his day perfect.

The train then departed for Vailima, where our guests had the chance to observe the Class 19D's. Some shunting was done and O wagon 4003 was picked up. According to Mr.Agrawal, there are shortages of good quality coal in India, and they have had to modify their locomotives to oil burners, which is very costly. The coal they have also has a huge amount of coal dust that results in a lot of clinker. They also have problems sourcing dynamo's for their locomotives, and now they must use little diesel generators to supply the locomotive with electricity. It is kind of sad because the steam turbine has a nostalgic sound of its own. Something very interesting that came out in discussions was that the steam locomotive drivers in India certainly were the proudest kind of drivers on their locomotives ever seen in the world. Mr.Agrawal told us, that he used to train the steam drivers in India, and if they passed the exams, they were told that," There is your locomotive, now its your wife, and you treat her like your wife." Mr. Rajesh Agrawal
and Mr.Jayanta Ghosh are from the Nigiri Mountain Railways in India. The word Nilgiri is derived from two Sanskrit words namely; Nilam, meaning blue and Giri; meaning Hill, in other words Blue Mountain. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the oldest and the steepest rack Railway in the world. Mr.Agrawal also told us that they are the only surviving steam rack Railway in the world. This railway line rises 7225 feet within 45 kilometres. The ruling gradient is 1 in 12 with 208 curves and 13 tunnels.

Sandstone Wagon Report:


Ben has completely finished with this wagon. The wooden crates will now be varnished and stencilled. The forklift will be used to start with the packing of the freight stock early in next week. The train consists for the end of this month will be made up and it is promised that it will be very interesting.


NG G 2836:
This wagon is currently under restoration. The brake gears were stripped, the bogies removed and the vacuum cylinder was overhauled. This wagon will look very different from the other G wagons. The steel work on the wagon is being de-scaled at present, and will be painted with a special brown paint. The wood on the wagon will be varnished and I cannot wait to see the end result. This wagon will be part of the consist the end of this month.



O WAGON 4003:
This wagon was fitted with new vacuum pipes and is in a very good mechanical condition. New split pins were fitted to the brake gear and the boxes will be packed with new wool.


B WAGON 2454:
This wagon was shunted out of the wagon shed this week. Derrick cut the wagon to be almost like a flat wagon. The backside of the wagon is modified to make a coalbunker and water tank almost the same as on a locomotive tender. The big Britannica Boiler will be fitted onto this wagon, and will be used as a steam cleaning plant. The wagon sides will be painted green, the frame will be yellow and the bogeys will be painted black. This wagon will get special attention to the spray painting, and will be sprayed with spray filler to give a smooth painted coat.
The off cuts of the wagon will be used to build a coal dust extractor, to enable us to have clean coal on our tenders. This will let the locomotives steam more freely and will save a lot of manpower. This coal extractor will be finished before the winter steam events and only cost us two boxes of welding rods.


The Mobile Workshop was build out of an old dynamite wagon from Midmar. It is equipped with a huge Atlas Copco compressor that is capable of supplying enough air to our huge sandblaster that was fitted into the Mobile Workshop. All the un- restored wagons can now be coupled to the Workshop, and towed away from the Main workshop to be sandblasted.

The Mobile Workshop is also equipped with 50-ton air jacks .In the event of a derailment, we can take the Mobile Workshop to the place where

The wagon or train hasderailed and we can re-rail the wagon or locomotive in no time. We have two 30-ton bottle jacks, that are smaller than the 50-ton jacks, for it is sometimes difficult to get the huge 50 ton jacks underneath the derailed vehicle.

There is a big generator inside the Mobile Workshop that supplies the electricity for the lights inside the workshop. We have two mobile florescent lights inside the Workshop that are coupled to two separate leads of 30metres each that can be used to supply light outside the Workshop.


This generator also can supply enough electricity to power any electrical hand tools. A bench grinder was fitted inside the Workshop.

There are lockers inside the Workshop in which we can place all the safety equipment and spares. The Mobile Workshop will be loaded on an Interlink to accompany the Kalahari on the Avontuur trip. All the most needed spares and tools will be at hand inside the Workshop.
We have a Lukas re-railing jack inside with a hydraulic piston retraction that is made of a special light metal alloy, and with small transport dimensions because of a collapsible frame.

Oupa is finished with the painting of the walkways in the shed. New signs arrive daily and are placed all over the shed.

Petrus is still busy covering of the grass with soil.

The 2' Narrow Gauge extension line
Goldfields Track has finished the first kilometre of track. It really is going to be a fabulous route through the Cherry trees. Esperanza Sand is continuously conveying ballast to Vailima Halt from where we are going to load the ballast into our AY wagons. The Hunslet diesel locomotive will work the ballast trains in the coming week. The two AY's came to the shed this week and the doors were serviced to ensure trouble free operation next week. The steel sleepers that are used to build this line dates back to as early as 1926.


Blast from the past
Here is a photo of my Grandmother's father who used to be a Rail Inspector on the South African Railways. I am not sure in which year this photo was taken.


Steam Greetings, Gert