Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 299 - Steam shed report - by Derrik van Zyl

19th December 2006


Sandstone Estates Welcomes Robert Farmer

Sandstone Estates would like to welcome Robert Farmer from The Bredgar & Worms Hill Light Railway ( Robert has requested some time ago to make a dedicated volunteer trip to The Sandstone Heritage Railway. Therefore he has offered his services for a month on a working holiday basis. Robert has an agricultural engineering background gained from agricultural dealerships in the UK and is a pro-active member of the Bredgar & Worms Hill Light Railway. Robert hails from Tonbridge in the Garden of England Kent.

Robert was first packed into a Freightliner Argosy truck and sent on a cross country trip to urgently recover a narrow gauge Garratt coal tender and wagon bogies from Port Shepstone. This provided him with some excellent experience in heavy duty rigging assisted by truck driver Leon Flynn and steam shed fitter Henk De Bruin. Robert also had a chance to experience the closure of a huge steam operation the Banna Express.

Robert also spent some time with our master loco builder Lukas Nel in Bloemfontein and seen first hand at the quality standard and speed to which the restoration workshops are operating under.

Robert can be contacted at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we look forward to a website report from him soon on his experiences of the Sandstone Heritage Railway. 

Right: Robert on the NG4's footplate at the Bloemfontein workshops.
BSA Rail Car Gets Eager for "Loco-Motion"

The BSA rail car has had a roller coaster year, often accumulating with a huge burst of activity and then stalling with some set-backs. Of course since this is a complete rebuild project there is considerable amount of fabrication, design and issues to overcome. Henry Brown has committed himself to the project and as such has fabricated diesel tank and sorted out some of the drive problems from the main gearbox. While there is a lot of cosmetic body work to complete the mechanical aspects are almost done and the first live rail test should be completed shortly after Xmas.
New Storage Line Development

Due to continued acquisition of narrow gauge assets we have realised that the most efficient storage for these is actually on a siding. As such we have outlined the proposed development of a new storage line that will provide up to half a km of storage. This proposed line will start from near the main farm silos infrastructure and loop out of the complex towards the implement sheds.

Some of the steam staff are busy getting the components ready for this operation, gathering clips, cleaning bolts, sorting rail and sleepers. This will ensure that when we start we have all the parts in place to finish as quickly as possible.

Who knows in the future this innocent storage line may be linked into the main farm line and provide another dimension to the ever-developing railway. We envisage this storage line to start in late January.
Unloading of Wagons From PE

Leon Flynn and Arno Serfontein are still busy with the clean-up project. Below Shunting a flatbed into the storage area with the Funkey.

Wagon Woodwork

A number of open sided wooden wagons have been taken in for a slight cosmetic upgrade to the woodwork. This includes some sanding down, new varnish and some minor repairs. Its essential that all woodwork is repaired and maintained to a high standard, especially given the tough Free State conditions. Our staff members Petrus and Oupa have tackled this task with great vigor and will have the two units back into service shortly.
Level Signals

Three level crossing signal posts have been erected at Sandstone. These signals will complement the realistic aspect of the three main road crossings and junctions near the main farm complex. The signal posts were set with deep concrete foundations and we can thanks Len Huxham for the effort in getting them installed quickly. The signal posts are a real asset to the maturing rail network and asserts our commitment to operate as professionally as possible.