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This week we steamed the two newest steam beauties in the Sandstone Steam Railway fleet, the Kerr Stuart and the little O&K. It was a amazing feeling watching these little Giants coming into life with sizzling steam blowing gently from the cylinder drain cork pipes.


The Bloemfontein Steam team, Leon and Thinus, accompanied us with the steaming and testing of these little wonders that were just bits and pieces some time ago. Not even the scrap dealers were interested in them, but Lukas Nel and his team restored these two locomotives into majestic cosmetic and mechanical condition.

Below left: The little miracles raising steam in front of the Steam shed at Hoekfontein.
Below middle: The Kerr Stuart steaming out to shunt a Little Bess coach out from the wagon shed.
Below right: A stunning view from the side of the shining O&K.

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Both locomotives were taken out on the lines between Hoekfontein and Grootdraai to Mooihoek to loosen their legs after many years of well deserved rest.

Below left: A cheeky O&K leaning towards the late afternoon sun.
Below right: No mum, I will take my own photos! The youngest steam enthusiast I have ever seen and he wants to be a train driver one day.

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We used the Lawley on a very special trip with very special people on board just after the American film makers finished with the scene where the Lawley was ambushed.


We shunted out our military camouflaged flat wagon loaded with a 25 pounder to hook onto our train. We were ready to depart at 16H30 with our special guests, Mr.Mole, Mr.Mole’s son Gareth with his fiancée Claudia from Sydney Australia, and Gerhard Wille.

Below left: The Lawley pushing back onto the Dining car in the Station.
Below middle: A special VIP, Mr. Charles Brett one of the Sandstone Estates Directors beside the Lawley.
Below right: Mr.Mole at gunpoint, our increases were approved immediately! J

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Henk was the driver and Derrick fired for him on the special mixed train to Grootdraai and back. Henk opened the regulator wide and soon we were speeding down the tracks towards Grootdraai.

Below left: Henk behind the controls of the 1895 Lawley.
Below middle: The express mixed train keeping up the time schedule. :-)
Below right: The Lawley leaving a smoke tail as she thunders out of Hoekfontein on a late afternoon train towards Grootdraai.

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We turned on the Baloon at Grootdraai and returned to Hoekfontein via Mooihoek where we ran around the train using the loop line.

Below left: The Lawley’s eye focusing on the mountains in Lesotho.
Below right: Passing the intermediate Home signal of Hoekfontein Station.

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Below left: The Lawley running tender first from Mooihoek.
Below middle: Mr.Mole,Gareth and Claudia having the best passenger view on the Lawley as we depart for a second run towards Grootdraai.
Below right: Gareth and Claudia, in front of the lovely Lawley on ash pit duties.

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Below left: Mr.Mole’s private Dining car where he entertain all his VIP’s
Below middle: A view of the 25 pounder behind the Dinning car.
Below right: Charles Brett

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Below left: Mr.Mole and Gerhardt Wille.
Below middle: Charles Brett, Mr.Mole, Claudia, Gareth and Gerhard Wille in front of the 25 pounder.
Below right: The American filming people shooting the last scenes just before the day is written in history.

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Below: Lady Anne and her cowboy!

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The building of the steel shed for the restoration of 3’6” locomotives was completed this week. The construction work began early on Tuesday morning and it was amazing to see how quickly they could erect a building as huge as this one. The inspection and drop pit will be the next task for the contractor.

Below: Images of the shed construction.

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Roelf van Wynghardt was borne on the 22nd of May 1942. He started his career as apprentice fitter on the South African Railways on the 2nd of January 1959 in Bethlehem.  He met his wife Susan and got married to her on the 30th of November 1963.

During his employment on the South African Railways he worked at different workshops where they did front ends, motion, frames and roller bearings.

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Below: Roelf and his wife Susan. His wife passed away a few years ago.

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Roelf started working at Loraine Gold Mine in Allenridge in February 1980 as a steam fitter and was promoted to Locomotive Foreman only five months later till he retired in January 1999. He started his own Boiler business called RSJ Boiler and Steam works. He almost died in a tragic accident in 2001 and closed the business due to the closure of hostels on the Mines. The boiler houses were closed with the hostels and there was no future anymore. Roelf then worked for the Banana Express and Rovos Rail till recently when he was employed by Sandstone Estates to restore the class 10CR for mainline use.

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The restoration of the Class 10CR is in full swing and huge progress was made during the last week. The 10CR was first shunted away to allow space that was needed to build the new shed. Roelf and Petrus did not waste a minute and jumped into the smoke box and stripped out the petticoat and removed all the elements.

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Below: Roelf and Petrus removing the elements from the smoke box.

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The 10Cr was moved in under the shed and we shunted the Mobile workshop next to the 10Cr. The Mobile workshop is fully equipped with a huge Atlas Copco compressor to give air to the air tools and for the sand blaster.

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Roelf and Petrus started stripping the motion of the 10Cr while they waited for Henry to set up the sandblaster to sandblast the outside of the boiler.

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Below are images of the sandblasting of the 10CR.

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The Boiler of the 10Cr will be painted with red Oxide to protect the boiler outside in the future. The dome was loosened to access the boiler from the inside as well as to examine the tube and stay condition inside the boiler. The motion will be stripped off completely to enable us to take out the driving wheels for axle box and horn repairs. The bissel and front bogey will be taken out and will be cleaned and serviced. The 10CR was named after Roelf’s late wife Susan and it is his goal in life to see the 10CR steaming the mainlines again.


Above: 15AR number 2016 when donated to Queenstown.

A contract to refurbish the Queens Casine Class 15Ar was recently being awarded to Sandstone Estates. The 15AR number 2016 was donated to Queenstown and stood for many years as a static display in the town where she was plinthed. The new Casino was called the Queens Casino. This Casino is built in the form of a Station with a platform. The locomotive was then moved to the Casino and will be a major attraction to the Casino entrance with a water column and semaphore signal.

Below: The 15 AR at her new resting place in front of the Casino.

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The locomotive was stripped from all her beauty when she was standing in Queenstown and now she must again look like a million dollar lady. The deadline is the 7th of March and we immediately started with the manufacturing of spares for the locomotive. Henry and Derrick already left for Queenstown and will start with the metal work and restoration while the casual people will sand down and prepare the locomotive for spray painting.

Below: Oupa cleaning the brass gauges for a shinning look! The new test plate and side window brackets were sanded to perfection and were polished with steel wool and Brasso.

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The dynamo is missing on the 15Ar and we refurbished a dynamo especially for the Queens locomotive. The old paint was stripped off and the brass plates were polished again, ready to fit.

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Henk stripped a speedometer for the locomotive and repair the internal parts.

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Henk is a specialist when it comes to manufacturing of any part of a locomotive to the exact dimensions and look. He immediately started with the manufacturing of all the running board and motion oil pots for the 15AR as seen and illustrated in the photos below.

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The manufacturing of all the oil pots are the most time consuming of all the spares that we have to make from scratch. The oil pots need decent planning and all must be exactly the same with all the fine detail work.

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Derrick made the new blow down silencer drums and this also took a lot of skill to get the drums exactly into shape. For a good Boilermaker this is no problem.

Below: The construction of the blow down drums for the 15AR

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Below: A perfect end!

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Henry sanded down two shunt lamps and spray painted them red. These two will be fitted in front of the locomotive with two working lights in it. A flickering unit with lights will be fitted inside the fire box to look just like there is a fire burning inside.

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CLASS 25NC’s NUMBER 3496 and 3536

The two Class 25NC’s in Bethlehem will be moved to Ficksburg in April this year. The release valves were overhauled and fitted together by one of our new employees of the Sandstone Steam Team.

Below: Hannes overhauling the valves for the class 25NC’s.The valves are all ready to be fitted.

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Henry found some spare time in between all the exciting and hectic days to attend to the cosmetic upgrade of the Ellingham Diesel locomotive. The frame and the buffer beams were sanded down and were spray painted. She really looks more aggressive than before.

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The sand boxes studs will be renewed and the sandboxes will be spray painted before being refitted.

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The restoration of the 4th Ratanga wagon is in full swing and Pony and Hannes are working fulltime on this restoration.

Derrick repaired the planer to speed up the restoration on the Ratanga wagons and also to improve the standard of restoration. Derrick wired up the electric table saw for cutting work needed on the Ratanga wagons and we fitted a new saw blade to it. With these two machines we can really boost the progress.

Below: The very old planer in action!

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The planks for the Ratanga wagon now go through the plainer first and are then fitted. The sanding of the planks will be done on the wagon for a perfect finish. Derrick removed the bent angle iron support on the Ratanga wagon and straightened it in the press.

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Below: Hannes fitted back the corner angle and started to fit the planks on the wagon.

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Wouter, also a new member of the Steam team started with the restoration of another long flat wagon. The cross rails were loosened with the help of the cutting torch and angle grinder. The rough sides will be ground before the wagon is taken for sandblasting.

Below: The restoration of ST number 300.

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Class 19B number 1413 at Graaff Reinet on 4 January 1968 with a full steaming life in front of her. ( Photo: Les Pivnic)


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  • 10 CR restoration

  • 15 AR cosmetic upgrade at Queenstown.

  • 15 AR spares

  • Ratanga wagon number 4

  • Ratanga wagon number 5

  • Flat wagon restoration number 300