The Sandstone Heritage Trust of South Africa, renowned for their extensive locomotive, tractor and military vehicle collection, have entered into a joint operating agreement with Hunslet Steam and Hunslet Engine Co. to promote, throughout Europe, their bespoke South African Experiences. These include rail tours and vintage excursions.

The joint venture will also include the exchange of restoration information and jointly manufacturing historic components both in the South Africa and the UK.

Graham Lee of Hunslet Engine co. commented that ‘this is a very important development, Sandstone have a very rare collection of locomotives and tractors some of which are the only survivors of their kind. Sandstone’s huge historic archive of drawings together with that of Hunslet and associated companies will in fact be the largest collection in the world covering in excess of 2 million documents’.

Wilfred Mole, a trustee of the Sandstone Heritage Trust, said that the Decauville locomotive, which is currently being displayed in the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, would be taken to Hunslet Steam at Statfold in August 2007. Although the locomotive has been completely overhauled at the Sandstone’s main overhaul facility, the boiler will require UK certification which will be carried out at Hunslet Steam in time for an extensive programme of visits to UK heritage railways next year. Furthermore Sandstone’s diminutive Kerr Stuart locomotive, the Wren type Little Bess, will join the Decauville for the 2008 Narrow Gauge steaming season in the United Kingdom and possibly beyond.

It is hoped that over time other Statfold locomotives can visit Sandstone and vice versa.