On Friday, 27th April, Sandstone's GMAM, No. 4079, moved to Reefsteamers.

The GMAM was on a lend/lease agreement with Rovos Rail. However, the demands on Rovos in terms of continuous traction to pull tourist trains were somewhat at odds with the objectives of the Sandstone Heritage Trust. The Trust locates, rebuilds and maintains locomotives in working condition on the basis that they will be maintained in original specification condition. Because the GMAM had by necessity become a workhorse at Rovos Rail it was decided to step the locomotive down and to basically take it back into preservation. This means it will be available for very specialised excursions from qualified operators (including Rovos Rail as required).

There is a much more stringent and comprehensive maintenance regime at Reefsteamers where the primary objective is the care of the locomotives under their jurisdiction. Rovos Rail, being a very successful and internationally acclaimed tourist railway, must keep the wheels turning and therefore it is not necessarily the ideal long-term base for a rare locomotive in preservation.

All the above is of course overshadowed by the Draconian measures taken by Spoornet recently to eliminate Main Line steam in South Africa. This was also a factor in moving the locomotive to Reefsteamers.
Our thanks to Nathan Berelowitz for his photographs and for the following update
One way to fit a long locomotive on film is a wide angle lens!

Sandstone class GMAM Garratt heads for her new home in Germiston, on the front of a double header passenger train. Behind her is Reef Steamers 15F 3016 which is returning with the excursion from Cullinan.
Driver Piet Steenkamp, has the beast firmly under control.
April 28th 2007
Coupling up at Capital Park yard.

The GMAM belonging to Sandstone gently couples onto the 15F 3016 of Reef Steamers, which had just brought in an excursion train from Cullinan.
The GMAM has now been relocated to Germiston, having served some time at Rovos Rail in Pretoria.
April 28th 2007

Smoking out of Capital Yard with the last light of winter, a magnificent combination of locomotives and colour schemes. Green painted Sandstone GMAM, blue painted 15F of Reef Steamers and a rake of red and grey coaches trailing behind. The double header is enroute to Germiston, on a movement accomodating an excursion train returning from Cullinan and the trasnsfer from Rovos Rail, of the GMAM.

Our thanks to Nathan Berelowitz for story and pictures.
April 28 2007