A Spoornet scrap tender closes within days and once this matter has run its course there will be no steam cranes in South Africa to the best of our knowledge. Our photograph shows one of these mighty machines doing what it was designed to do. 

The Sandstone Heritage Trust has put in an appeal to the authorities to allow one to be saved for preservation. Let us see what ultimately transpires.

Spoornet scrap tender Cowans Sheldon crane

One of these magnificent machines awaiting its fate in Kimberley...

Spoornet scrap tender Spoornet scrap tender

STEAM CRANES - A looming Crisis

Posted by: "John Nicholas Middleton" Fri Jul 6, 2007 2:04 pm (PST)

Hi everyone

With all the focus on the scrapping of steam locomotives at Bloemfontein and elsewhere a tender notice has quietly slipped through the system which came to my notice today. It lists almost every last steam crane on SPOORNET property including the historic cranes previously set aside by THF at Millsite and elsewhere. It is Tender notice 1190 72805 and it closes on 31 July with site visits to view the cranes between 9 and 18 July. The cranes in question are as follows:

Danskraal PX Depot: 46, 47, 49 (these are all Cravens 1921-1922); 80, 95 
(CS 1935), 179, 193 (both CS 1947), 553, 554, 556, 557, 558, 559 (all CS 
1951), 578, 580 (CS 1965)
Kimberley: 50 (CS 1927), 84, 199 (CS 1947)
Germiston: 96 (Booth Rodley 1936)
Lydenburg: 178 (CS 1946)
De Aar: 194 (CS 1947)
Voorbaai: 555 (CS 1951)
Klerksdorp: 577 (CS 1965)

CS is Cowan, Sheldon, Carlisle

Are the Clubs aware of this, can anything be done before its too late. These cranes could be invaluable to Preservation Groups for major repairs such as boiler lifts on locomotives etc, once they are gone a whole chapter of SAR history will have disappeared in one fell swoop. By my reckoning, if all these are scrapped, all the historic cranes will have 
gone and all that will be left will be one or two of the more modern ones (551/552 of the 1950 batch and 579 of the 1965 batch) and thats it. 551 was at Voorbaai - is it still there?

John Middleton
washington DC



A tender closed recently for the scrapping of South Africa's total inventory of steam cranes. There are massive logistical problems relating to the physical movement of these but we have made an appeal to the authorities to save one from the scrap man's torch.