Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

The Eastern Free State - An unlikely destination for world class steam Heritage preservation

An event was held over the weekend where an 80 year old locomotive was put through its paces after having been rehabilitated. The Sandstone Heritage Trust which is part of the large Sandstone Estates commercial farming operation has a significant steam restoration capability.

Normally this facility preoccupies itself with the restoration of rare locomotives which have been saved throughout the SADC region.

Over a year ago however, a locomotive was rescued in Natal. This NGG11 was one of three survivors in South Africa, of which none were in operation. The Alan Paton Railway at Ixopo were given the locomotive in order to boost the tourism and job creation potential in their area. The Sandstone Heritage Trust agreed to restore the locomotive and this task was completed in just on a year.

The leader of the team handling the restoration was Lukas Nel, assisted by his wife Anna. They in turn were supported by qualified steam fitters and apprentices.


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The Sandstone Heritage Trust is twinned with the Ffeistiniog and Welsh Highland Railway in Wales, the oldest preserved railway on earth. Lukas Nel and Leon Myburgh, his assistant, will be travelling to the UK next month in order to exchange ideas on the latest engineering techniques needed to bring these venerable old steam engines to life.

Today commercial farming needs to remain commercially viable in order to be successful. More and more the Sandstone Heritage Trust workshops at Sandstone Estates are being recognised as a world class engineering facility and enquiries are being received from around the world for assistance with regard to locomotive rehabilitation.

Steam Railways are a growing tourist phenomena throughout the western world in particular.