Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 81 - Weekly steamshed report - 29th July - 4th August 2005



The O&K was washed out last Friday prior to the Winter Steam weekend. She was used on Saturday to work a short passenger service between Mooihoek and Grootdraai, with Driver Piet Terreblanch and Fireman Ben Kruger.


The Decauville was steamed on Friday and Saturday. She really steamed her way into everybody's hearts. The little coco pan that was restored recently was coupled to the Decauville and she looked stunning with this little green coco pan.

The Hunslet was used to do all the shunting work that was needed on the Winter Steam weekend. She also worked ballast trains on the new section of the line this week.

Desmond finished the repairs that were needed on the Kalahari. The Kalahari will be steam and tested in next week. She will undergo cosmetically upgrading in next week. The Kalahari is bound for Port Elizabeth on the 17th of this month, and will be assembled at Port Elizabeth again. She will then be steam tested again.

NGG 16 number 153 was steamed to work a special train for all the journalists that were flown in by plane to the Ficksburg Airport. The train departed from Vailima 12h00 and arrived at Hoekfontein at 12H20. The journalists were taken on a Farm tour while the train was waiting in Hoekfontein Station for a train ride to Grootdraai later that afternoon.

Left is NGG 16 Number 153 waiting at Vailima, with Driver (myself) and Fireman Derick van Zyl.

It was a cold winter morning in the Eastern Free State, and we fired up the Barclay and NGG 16 Number 153. It was amazing how the atmosphere changed when these giant machines come to life. The smell of steam and oil, the sound of the lightingting dynamo and the first whistle that announced the break of day.

153 worked the photographic train to Vailima Halt and returned to Hoekfontein in time for lunch. The little Decauville and the Barclay were standing in Hoekfontein for the afternoon photo sessions. The Barclay and 153 performed some run pasts between Pandora and Hoekfontein in the afternoon. 153 left for Grootdraai just before sunset.

The Barclay and 153 were steamed again for the Sunday's events and the Barclay took a short train to Grootdraai early the morning, while 153 waited for the return of the Barclay to Hoekfontein. 153 was then used to work a special passenger train to Vailima and back. Driver Pat Ackerman and Fireman Derrick van Zyl manned the engine and returned to Hoekfontein at 11h00. This was the end of the weekend's events and the locomotives were stabled.


Jacob started with the refurbishing of another B wagon (right). This wagon number 2436 will be Jacob's first wagon to restore by himself.

Derrick started to cut down this wagon to be a flat wagon. Ben will fit a wooden floor the same way as the newly refurbished flat wagon.



WAGON 2454:
Derrick is almost finished with the "bunker and tender" part of this wagon. The front part of this wagon will also have a wooden floor and the Britannia will then be fitted to this wagon.

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WAGON 3571:
This wagon is loaded with a big boiler and is standing in the wagon shed. This wagon will be offloaded, and Ben will convert it to a flat wagon with a wooden floor as well.

All these wagons due for restoration, will be lined up and sandblasted at once. This will speed up the restoration program by weeks. Bringing back these wagons from scrap to working condition is almost as exciting and rewarding as for locomotives. Some of these wagons really look like a hopeless case at first, but after a few days work, the picture changes. Gold Fields Track is currently busy with the laying of storage lines, and will then be used to store all the restored wagons as well.

All the wagons next to the coal stage will be re-railed and will be taken to some of the sidings on the Farm to wait their turn for restoration.
Here are some photos of wagons restored during this year:

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All the wagons and coaches are brought to the shed every two months for brake adjustments and under frame inspection. The wagons are vacuum brake tested every time before they are used and all details of repairs are logged in a logbook available for each wagon

THE COAL EXTRACTOR: (below left)
The coal dust extractor will be finished by the end of next week and will then be used before coaling the locomotives.

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WORKSHOP PLANNING: (above right)
We are going to make a gallery inside the workshop, as well as a wall of fame of all our special guests that visit us here at Sandstone Estates.



They have started with the cutting up of the old hoppers that are not in use anymore. The locomotives will be next and includes the following:

1.) 1 x 19B or 19BR

2.) 2 x 3BR

3.) 3 x 16CR


There is another North British 4-8-2T tank locomotive (NBL 27090/1951) situated at the sports grounds in Allanridge, that is safe and will not be cut up, but a representative at the Mine told me that if someone is interested, it could be purchased.

The Mine approved the buying of two brand new Steam locomotive Dynamo's as well as the conveyor belts that we need in the Vintage shed.

The Hunslet Diesel locomotive spends the week offloading ballast on the new section of line. The offloading of the ballast is completed now and Goldfields Track can now finish the lift and pack of the line. Here are the new points that were fitted just above Pandora.

Goldfields Track is currently busy with the extension of the 3'6" storage line at Hoekfontein station. They are also building a third loop and two storage lines, one at Hoekfontein Station, and one down at the Wagon shed.

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We moved steel sleepers and rails to Hoekfontein station this week, for the building of these storage lines.

As soon as the tamping of the ballast is completed on the new section from Vailima halt, we shall start with the line cleaning up of the line using the Hunslet Diesel locomotive.

Class 24, number 3635, that worked the last Steam train on the Theunissen to Winburg line in May 1988, with Driver E.J. Seaman, Fireman John Makwena and Loco Inspector Mossie Mostert.

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