Railway Heritage

The Sandstone Estates Railway Hardback by Dennis Moore

Dennis Moore has produced a book on the Sandstone Steam Railroad.   This is a stunning high quality, large format photographic tribute (with excellent anecdotal text) on our railway  in South Africa.

Photographed by Dennis Moore, already the author of two highly acclaimed (and completely sold out) books on South African steam, this is a volume to treasure.

To purchase your copy click here: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2063269.

Events at Sandstone.

As previously advised the 2011 Steam Gala was the last event that will be held at the Sandstone Heritage Trust.  The cost of maintaining our track in a useable condition and in compliance with the Rail Safety Regulator requirements, coupled with the constant flooding that we have experienced, means that to maintain the line in tip-top condition is simply not viable. 

There has been a steady decline in bookings for people wishing to charter the railway and as a result to keep trained personnel on standby is also not financially viable.

 

A timeless picture

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A 1910 BSA Rail Car overtakes a team of oxen working along the line.
Mooihoek, Sandstone Estates, Eastern Free State.

Significant milestone achieved in the Rail Heritage sector in the Eastern Free State of South Africa.

On Sunday afternoon, 10th April 2011, four 2-ft Narrow Gauge Garratt locomotives representing the products of four separate manufacturers were steamed together hauling a 35 truck freight train on the private 2-ft Narrow Gauge railway at Sandstone Estates, an agricultural enterprise close to the Lesotho border.

The Sandstone Heritage Trust which is based on the farm has the largest collection of operating Narrow Gauge locomotives in the world.  Amongst this collection are four Garratt locomotives manufactured by Cockerill of Belgium, Beyer Peacock of the United Kingdom, Hanomag of Germany, and Hunslet of South Africa.  Over 20-years these four locomotives have been painstakingly restored to full working order.  To coincide with an international Steam Gala which is currently taking place and which ends on 16th April 2011 it was decided to coordinate this historic locomotive steaming.  There is nowhere in the world where four operating Garratts co-exist in the same Running Shed and therefore it seemed appropriate that it should come together for the benefit of an enthusiastic group of dedicated international railway photographers who had flown from many parts of the world to witness this particular spectacle.

Wilfred Mole, a spokesman for the Sandstone Heritage Trust, said “South Africa has always been a proven and popular destination for dedicated rail tourists.  South Africa’s legacy as a Steam Railway destination is highly respected around the world but in recent years there has been a rapid decline in the number of Heritage railways that still operate steam and which offer a tourist experience.  Although located in a remote area of South Africa, Sandstone’s engineering excellence is recognised worldwide and is proven by the spectacle of over 300-tons of locomotive power working together in perfect harmony on a beautiful Autumn afternoon in the Eastern Free State.”

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2011 STEAM GALA

The Sandstone Heritage Trust 2011 Steam Gala is over and the photographs are starting to come in. A lot happened and although relatively few people attended they were treated to some spectacular photographic opportunities. The highlight was undoubtedly the 3 x NGG16's and one NGG13 working together. Undoubtedly a first in the world.

As is customary at the Sandstone Heritage Trust many other items complemented the 2-ft Narrow Gauge Rail activities on a daily basis.

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In this picture a rare Marshall MP6 tractor waits at the level crossing towing a rare CAT R2 Dozer.

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Another advantage of steaming four Garratts at one time is we were able to place them together on four adjacent lines for a photo opportunity.

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For those fortunate enough to watch four Garratts thundering through the beautiful Eastern Free State on a sunny April afternoon was enough to give one Goosebumps.

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You could chase the train with a 1901 B5 Traction engine, a 1951 F100 Ford, a Mk IV Sherman, a Saracen, a Caspir, or any one of dozens of other possibilities in the Agricultural, Military or Steam categories.

 

The magic of Model Engineering

Charles Viljoen brought his beautifully engineered 1904 Arnold Jung locomotive and placed it on display for the guests.

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Thank you Charles, your efforts were much appreciated.

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Our two venerable old buses performed a great service transporting photographers ahead of the trains so they could always be in the right place at the right time. This is our lovely old Bristol bus which featured in the film "Cry the beloved country".

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Our AEC, which has been on the farm for many years and which was donated to the Sandstone Heritage Trust by John Allen, was also pressed into service where required.

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This line-up of old items waiting to cross the railway line include a 1927 Chev, a 1947 John Deere Model H, a 1953 Field Marshall Series III, and of course our Bristol in the foreground. A team of oxen can be seen in the distance.

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A Bristol load of passengers is forced to take to the lands to overtake the majestic B5 Fowler Road Locomotive trundling back from a photo shoot.

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BSA Rail Car

Our BSA was a great attraction. It was very useful if one wanted to follow a train or just take a few guests on a ride.

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Hans Hermann (sitting) was one of the guests who enjoyed a ride in the Rail Car with his sister and brother-in-law from Hamburg, Germany.

 

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Patrick Polo, a visitor from Switzerland, attended our Gala in 2010 and was at Sandstone throughout the 2011 Steam Gala.

Patrick has always been very generous in providing beautiful photographs taken at previous events.

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This is a photo of Patrick posing with a few of the many framed photographs that he donated to the Sandstone Heritage Trust. These are hanging on the wall in the main office.

 

 

 

Sandstone Heritage Trust steams four Garratts for select group of international visitors

On Sunday afternoon, 10th April 2011, a combined crew of South African and international drivers and firemen drove four Sandstone Garratts into the record books by operating a single train over sections of the Sandstone network. NGG16, No. 153, NGG16, No. 113, NGG16, No. 88, and NGG13, No. 49 operated together pulling a 35 wagon train through the Cosmos in the beautiful Eastern Free State.

The occasion was the 2011 Sandstone Heritage Trust Steam Gala which runs from 9th to 16th April 2011.

The weather has been impeccable throughout the event thus far but on Sunday afternoon big storm clouds came in over Lesotho and for a short while blocked out the sun – at exactly the same time that the photographers were lined up to record this momentous event. Nonetheless, the first pictures that have come in do justice to the occasion.

Ron Nell of Frameline Film & Television was on hand to record the event and a DVD of the entire week’s proceedings will be available in a few months time.  Should you be interested in receiving details of this top class DVD production please record your interest by e-mailing Joanne West at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photo Gallery

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Photo credit: David Benn

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Photo credit: David Benn

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Photo credit: Wilfred Mole

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Photo credit: Wilfred Mole

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Dennis Moore has just sent us the following photographs which he took during the course of the event.

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David Benn, always the first to make his magnificent photographs available, has supplied the following photographs.

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David is still out there taking photographs so expect more great pictures to follow.

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Photo credit: Wilfred Mole

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Photo credit: Wilfred Mole

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Photo credit: Wilfred Mole

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Photo credit: Ernst Pfeffer

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Hannes Paling has just supplied us with these exceptional photos which he took during the course of the event.

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Sun_rise_at_hoekfontein

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Photos by Peter Randall

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Weekly Report - By Stephen du Preez

Stephan du Preez has submitted a report which will be of particular interest to visitors of our April event.

We are making good progress on all fronts and providing there is no extraordinary weather conditions we should be on track.

We have enjoyed considerable support from our technical personnel who are normally based at the Bloemfontein Repair Depot, and we would like to thank both them and the Sandstone staff for their diligence over recent weeks.

Stephan’s report is below for your interest:

 

Week Report

Rail Repairs

The repairs at Pandora and the length of rail from Pandora to Vailima have been repaired. Work has started at Vailima.

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Below you can see some photos of the before and after the repairs have been done at Pandora.

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Flood damage at Vailima

Below are some photos from the damage at Vailima. The holes have been filled with building rubble which will be bonded with soil crete to give it the required strength.

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Postal wagon

Wouter is finished with all the damaged plates on the wagon and has started painting the frame and the roof of the wagon. I have given Peter the amount and colours of the paint needed for the body of the wagon he is busy getting quotes from some places.
 

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Testing and repair of steam locomotives

Leon and Isack have been hard at work to get the locos ready for the event. They discover allot of work that will need attention due to lack of maintenance. I do my best to accommodate them in any way I can. They have steamed up NG17, Lawley 97(James Hall Lawley), NG4, and NGG16 (no.153 & no.49). Most of the locos have some valves and glands that are leaking. All the locos tubes are being washed out and problems fixed as they go on. They are concentrating on the biggest problems first. We are also making notes on all the problems on every loco. I am keeping book on the repairs and work that need to be done on every loco so we can know exactly what is wrong and no time has to be wasted to look for every problem.

The problems that have been fixed

NG4

  • Regulator did not close

NGG16 (No. 49)

  • Hole in supper heater fixed
  • Regulator valve have been re-seated
  • Lead plug replaced
  • Safety valve seat replaced
  • New copper dome gasket fitted

Lawley (BR)

  • New pins fitted on brake gear

NG17

  • Replaced broken water gauge glass

BSA Rail car

I have fitted all the bolts on the suspension with new bolts and lock nuts and washers. Some modifications have also been made to the sprocket on the rear axle. I test drove it and it did not give any problems.

 

 

Weekly report

We have received the following weekly report from Stephan du Preez on what his department got up to this week.

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Click here to view the report - 3.9MB Word document (opens in new window)

A STEAMING YEAR!!!

This year was a very good year for the Sandstone Steam Railway and many train tours were hosted however this is only a small part of what we really are doing down in the Eastern Free State. Also was it a black year for Steam and we lost so many locomotives to the cutters. Chamdor was a disaster and SANRASM as well, but we still are steaming on.

Gert Jubileus has submitted his latest weekly report.

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Click here to view the report - 1.13MB PDF (opens in new window)

 

Sandstone talk to East Anglian Group of the WHRS

Kim Winter has visited Sandstone many times before in the past and we hope to welcome him again soon. He has sent us a report on a talk he recently made to the East Anglian Group of the Welsh Highland Railway Society which some of our readers may find of interest.

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Click here to view the report - 1.3MB PDF (opens in new window)

The Sandstone Heritage Trust continues to recover the sad relics from the SANRASM "museum".

All items will be stored in a high security zone in the Eastern Free State.

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