Railway Heritage

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 75 - St. Weekly Report - 15th - 21st July 2005





This little diesel locomotive received special maintenance this week and her brakes were adjusted.

The wheels of the Hunslet arrived on the Farm at 16H00 today. Two fitters will immediately start to fit back the wheels and the brake gear, while Des will start the machining of the bushes. The Hunslet will then be used to work the ballast train on the almost completed new railway extension line. It is planned to have the Hunslet back in service by Friday night.

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The wheels were retyred and turned by Denrus Engineering in Odendaalsrus. I was astonished by the machinery they have. I could not believe what these people actually could do.
The manager, Piet Viljoen's father started the Engineering workshop years ago. They began with the fitting of tyres to the steam locomotives and today, they do electric locomotive wheels. There are even firms overseas that send their wheels to Denrus Engineering to have them retired and turned.
Many of the mines in South Africa use them to retyre their hopper and locomotive wheels.

In some cases it is even possible to weld the tyres again. They are then machined and as good as new and cost 40% less.
I took some photos of the bearings and the wheels. They x-rayed the bearing housing for me to show the cracks.

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The brass dome was cleaned and fitted to 113 this week. It changed the look of the locomotive completely.


This week was a week dedicated to the restoration of narrow gauge wagons. We have exciting projects on different kind of wagons and modifications to them.

WAGON 2836:
At first we thought to varnish the woodwork on this wagon with the original dirty colour, but it just did not look right, and we decided to sand off all the paint to the original wood finish. After we sanded the wagon, it was varnished and this made this wagon really one of a kind. The steel work on this wagon was painted with a special dark brown.

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The overhauled vacuum cylinder was fitted back with a new release valve. The complete under frame and brake gear was de-scaled and painted with rust proof paint.

The bearings were fitted and the boxes were packed with new wool and oil. The wagon was stencilled in black and only needs to be shunted to the pit to fit the new brake gear.

WAGON 2454:
This wagon is almost completely de-scaled and Derrick is almost finished with the water tank on the back of this wagon. The wagon was fitted with new bearings where needed and all the boxes were packed with new wool. This wagon will be capable of carrying 2700 litres of water and enough coal to steam for two days without the need of refill. It will be a complete mobile steam cleaner and can be towed anywhere on the farm for steam cleaning purposes.

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This was a great idea and we are pushing this project to be finished within the next two weeks.

The coal dust extractor that Derrick is building out of the off cuts from this B wagon is also in the final stages, and we plan to have this extractor finished by Monday night.

It is built in the form of a little B wagon and will be an attraction to all.


The last wooden crate will be varnished and stencilled tomorrow and will be fitted to this wagon.

Five B wagons were re-railed this week. They are Wagon numbers 1614, 1692, 2436, 1812, 1699. Two of this B wagons are off the very oldest type of B wagons that were built. They will need a lot of attention to the steel work, but are worth restoring as they are very special.

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One DZ is loaded with sleepers. We have de-scaled two bogeys and they were spray-painted and will be loaded onto another DZ. We are going to collect the empty oil drums at Pandora and will spray painted. This will be loaded on the third DZ. The B wagon with the bales will be covered with a tarpaulin.
The new completed flat wagon and the G wagon will be coupled together because of the special wood finish that they have and will be part of the consist for the journalists event on Friday.


1. B-wagon 2926 Stencilled 2005 Completely finished
2. B-wagon 2436 Stencilled ? Completely finished
3. B-wagon 1125 Stencilled ? Completely finished
4. B-wagon 1136 Stencilled ? Completely finished
5. B-wagon 922 Stencilled ? Completely finished
6. B-wagon 2947 Stencilled ? Completely finished
7. B-wagon 921 To stencil
? Needs to be stencilled
8. B-wagon 1146 To stencil ? Needs to be stencilled
9. B-wagon 1680 To stencil ? Needs to be stencilled
10. B-wagon 2951 To stencil ? Loaded with big steam engine in wagon shed
11. DZ 2901 To stencil ? Needs to be stencilled
12. DZ 1976 Stencilled ? Completely finished
13. DZ 862 To stencil ? Needs to be stencilled
14. Ay 2806 Stencilled 2005 Completely finished
15. Ay 2032 Stencilled 2004 Completey finished
16. O-wagon 4000 To stencil ? Needs to be stencilled
17. O-wagon 3733 Stencilled ? Dirty wagon
18. OZ 3197 Stencilled 2004 Completely finished
19. GZ 2834 Stencilled 2004 Completely finished
20. QZ 180 To stencil 2004 Needs to be stencilled
21. V 3172 Guard van 2005 Only underframe was done
22. V 3175 Guard van 2004 Completely finished
23. PE-coach 52
2004 Windows are being painted cream currently.
24. PE-coach 67
? To be refurbished next
25. Uitenhage

? For use with small locomotives
26. Uitenhage

? For use with small locomotives
27. Open coach

? For use with small locomotives
28. Saloon

? Completely finished
29. Dinning car

? Needs two handrails


We plan to refurbish this very old wagon from Gumtree like the picture above:We have the wood, bolts and paint in stock. Only the wheels, axle boxes and springs with hangers will be used and the rest of the wagon will be completely rebuilt by one of the Steam staff.
It will take not longer than two weeks full time work to finish this wagon. It might be essential to have the wood planed at a carpenter and will be the only extra cost involved.

The Wickham railcar is undergoing a cosmetic upgrade and the engine was serviced this week. Desmond built a new diesel tank for the Wickham and it will be fitted next week.


Gold Field Track made huge progress this week and are almost at the end where the line will be connected near Pandora. They are going to work throughout the weekend and will be finished by Monday night. We are going to run the ballast trains from Monday on, and as we offload the ballast, they will start with the lift and packing of the line. This balloon track will make it possible for one train to run via Vailima to Vailima Halt, while another train can take the shortcut to Vailima Halt with a interesting train crossing at Vailima Halt. This is stunning and will be just as exciting for passengers waiting for a train.

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Arno is busy with the Station name boards, and the Hoekfontein name board will be fitted in the next week.



This derailed wagon was part of the big derailment at Arlington station. Note the children in the right corner, watching how the wagon is re-railed.

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Steam Greetings, Gert

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 74 - St. Ives Communications christens our Dining car at the Winter Steam

Festival 30 July 2005!



Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 70 - "Our Times" Article on the 15th July 2005 - Avontuur Adventure - Historic train trip to include stop at Humansdorp station



Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 71 - Work progresses on the Welsh Highland Railway Brake Van – July 2005

Well we nearly got the steelwork finished!
Sunday 10 July 2005
Saw Derek Ingram, John Hine and myself set about the remaining steelwork. John and Derek drilled the holes in the new Caernarfon end angles that had
already been marked out on a previous visit. While I set about removing the last few piece of plate from the frame, an all day task as it turned out. By
the end of the day we had hung the two new corner pieces and painted a little bit more of the steel deck to add some protection to the de scaled sheets.
Monday July 11 2005
Turned out to be probably the hottest day at Dinas I can remember in my four years volunteering. To such an extent that both Derek and I had to stop
until the shade from the carriage shed roof and that of the brake van gave some relief. It must have been 30 deg C and no wind at all, still progress was
made as the day wore on. The last of the old plates were removed except for a few fiddly pieces and the two large sections were cut and trimmed ready
for welding. In the mid afternoon Emlyn from the Permanent Way (our Welder) came after he had finished work to weld the two angles required to support the new access hatch to the vacuum cylinder.
Tuesday July 12 2005
Although not as hot as Monday it still required a delayed start outside. The access hatch was cut and trimmed, the new plates were painted and a hole was cut in the Caernarfon end plate to accept the vacuum pipe for the vacuum brake. A start was made on the few fiddly bits that had to be cut but time got the better of us.
Wednesday July 13 2005
Turned out to be a disaster from the start. (Lesson No. 1, When you tell yourself not to attempt cutting a fiddly shape in one piece when you know itwould be best to make it out of three pieces - LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!!!!)

Luckily I had enough steel plate to re cut the offending pieces much to my annoyance. Time was short, as I had to be back in Birmingham by 6 pm and I was also running out of 4 1/2 " cutting discs, so far I have used over 130 of these discs since setting out on removing the rotten floor. All pieces were fitted ready for welding over the next week by Emlyn. All plates painted for protection before we left for home.

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What did not get done was:
1/ We required one more sheet of floor plate to fill the obvious hole over one of the Bogies
2/ We did not even start the fabrication of the high arched piece for the Port End.

Apart from the two items above I still need to find some 8mm 2" x 2 1/2" angle to replace the missing side angles. Once these are fitted that will be the steelwork completed and an end to an ordeal.

The next chapter has already begun but for now there is now an enforced gap until late September School Holidays and time with my boys. In the meantime some small metalwork parts have come home with me as a homework project and so have the lower parts of the guard doors which need to be replaced and a volunteer has been enlisted to take this on. Pricing is currently being sought on having the new panels cut and rebated off site by a local joinery firm to speed up its completion in Oct and Nov.

Marcus Ingram
18 July 2005

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 69 - "Our Times" Article on the 15th July 2005 - Rail Revival may put farmers back on track


© Sandstone Estates

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 68 - Inscription of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as a World Heritage Site in the 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee, Durban, South Africa

The World Heritage Committee consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties to the Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention. The essential functions of the Committee are to: (i) identify, on the basis of nominations submitted by States Parties, cultural and natural properties of outstanding universal value which are to be protected under the Convention and to list those properties on the World Heritage List; (ii) monitor the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, in liaison with the States Parties; decide which properties included in the World Heritage List are to be inscribed on or removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger; and decide whether a property may be deleted from the World Heritage List; and (iii) examine requests for International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund.

During its 29th session at Durban, South Africa, on 15th July the World Heritage Committee, has approved the extension of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to include Nilgiri Mountain Railway, India, on the basis of the existing criteria (ii) and (iv) and renames the extended property as Mountain Railways of India;

Criterion (ii): The mountain railways of India are outstanding examples of the interchange of values on developments in technology, and the impact of innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multicultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world.

Criterion (iv): The development of railways in the 19th century had a profound influence on social and economic developments in many parts of the world. The Mountain Railways of India are outstanding examples of a technological ensemble, representing different phases of the development in high mountain areas.

In terms of the categories of cultural property set out in Article 1 of the 1972 World Heritage Convention, this is a
site. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) is proposed as an extension to the existing World Heritage Site, Darjeeling
Himalayan Railway (DHR), forming a serial nomination: Mountain Railways of India.

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a meter-gauge singletrack railway in Tamil Nadu State, 46km long. Its construction was first proposed in 1854, but due to the difficulty of the mountainous location, the work only started in 1891 being completed in 1908. This railway represented the latest technology of the time, and it was highly significant facilitating population movement and the social-economic development in the British colonial era.

It consists of 45.88km of a meter-gauge single-track railway that connects Mettupalayiyam to Udagamandalam (earlier: Ootacamund or Ooty) in Tamil Nadu State. Mettupalaiyam is located at an elevation of 326m and Udagamandalam at 2203m. Rack rails consist of two toothed steel bars laid in a double row at 44mm apart and 64mm above the running rails so that the tooth of one rail is directly opposite to the gap of the other to ensure that the engine pinions do not work off the racks in curves. Rack bars of two standard lengths are in use: full bar (26 teeth per 3.12m) and half bar (13 teeth per 1.56m).

The pitch of rack teeth is 120 mm. The entry to the rack is effected through specially designed entry tongues laid in special channel sleepers fitted with bow springs and connecting links connected finally to the rigid bars. The racks are laid at a constant distance of 455 mm. from the inner rails and are screwed by bolting to cast iron chairs fixed to the sleepers with fang bolts.

The railway can be divided into three sections: 1) The first section, ca 7 km, from Mettupalaiyam to Kallar (elevation 405m), is across the central plain of Tamil Nadu. The Railway runs through beetle-nut palm and other plantations. Maximum speed is 30km/h. Mettupalaiyam, was a small village in the 1850s and it gained importance as a railhead only after the British laid a Broad gauge line from Coimbatore to Mettupalaiyam in 1873.

The Broad gauge train from Madras to Mettupalaiyam was called the Blue Mountain Express, the name of which was changed recently to the native Nilgiri Express. Mettupalaiyam has the carriage and Wagon Depot of the NMR and all the carriages and Wagons are maintained there. 2) The second is the rack section of the line, from Kallar to Coonoor (elevation 1712m), climbing 1330m in 19 km. On this rack section the average grade is 1 in 15 and the ruling grade is 1 in 12.

There are 208 curves and 13 tunnels, as well as a half tunnel, where the Railway has been cut into the sheer cliff wall, enclosed by rock on three sides. There are 27 viaducts, built in steel and stone, featuring steel girder spans, typically of 60 feet (18.3m) supported on stone abutments and piers. The Kallar Bridge over the River Bhawani, the Adderley viaduct and the Burliar Bridge are examples of such composite bridges. Here, the Railway climbs through almost uninhabited, tropical jungle. The last five kilometres feature fine views over the escarpment, which the train has just ascended. Maximum speed is 13km/h. Coonoor town is built on one of the best geographical locations in the Nilgiri Mountains with a cool and equitable climate. 3) The third section is 18km long. The landscape is neat with dominant eucalyptus and acacia forest. The railway continues to climb across the Nilgiris till it reaches its summit just before the terminus of Udagamandalam at 2203m. Although the climb here is not as steep as the rack section, the ruling gradient between Coonoor and Udagamandalam is still very steep 1 in 23. There are three tunnels in this section including the longest on the line, some 282m. Maximum speed is 30km/h. The name of Udagamandalam refers to a collection of quaint huts of the aboriginal Todas, who believe they have always lived here.

This place is popular for tourists. The bogies were modified in 1992 to enable the passengers to get a good view on both sides. The coaches and wagons are provided with brakesmen who independently operate friction brakes and rack brakes on whistle codes from the driver. The railway is operating "X" class locomotives with pinion wheels on rack rail arrangement to negotiate
the steep gradient of 1 in 12. Due to the steep gradient and adverse weather conditions, two different braking systems are used: i) adhesion braking between wheel and rail through friction, ii) brake application through the pinion and rack bar, connected to the track. The locomotive pinions are made to drive the pistons, which act as air compressors causing dynamic braking effort. The clasp
brakes actuated by hand wheels on the brake drum, mounted on the pinions can also apply braking effort on the cogwheel.

Protected by wild, jungle-covered escarpments and located at an elevation of roughly 2000 meters, the Nilgiris hills were isolated until the 19th century with their tribal inhabitants, the Todas. The name of the hills means Blue Mountains in Sanskrit and reflects the perspective of a person looking at them from below. British settlement in the hills began in 1820. By 1830 there was military commandant, and British families from Madras began building summerhouses, especially in Udagamandalam (Ootacamund).

By 1870, the Madras government as a whole was moving there for the summer, in imitation of the annual migration of the viceroy's Government from Calcutta to Simla. The history of NMR dates back to 1854 when proposals were first made by the British to build a railway up the hills. Work began on the Madras-Coimbatore line (5'6") in 1853, and the branch to Mettupalaiyam opened in 1873. The problem was how to replace the tedious ascent by bullock-cart or pony to Coonoor. In 1873, the district engineer of the Nilgiris, J.L.L. Morant, proposed building a rack railway, but the first offers were reclined. Sir Guildford Molesworth, the former engineer in chief of the Ceylon Government Railway, acting as consultant to the Government of India, advised a rack and adhesion line on the model of the Abt system built in the Harz Mountains in Germany. In 1882, M. Riggenbach, the Swiss inventor of Rigi rack railway, submitted a proposal for the construction of the railway line. This was accepted, and the Nilgiri Rigi Railway Company Ltd was formed in 1885. The work was inaugurated in 1891, and finally completed in 1908. Subsequently the railway was run by different companies, and was then incorporated into the Southern Railway in 1951.

The property is nominated on the basis of criteria ii and iv: Criterion ii: NMR is an example of a colonial Railway, and part of that stage of globalisation, which was characterized by colonial rule, and the political and economic domination of the people of Asia, Africa and the Pacific by Europeans. Part of that process was technology transfer, and NMR is a spectacular example of such transfer. The Nilgiri plateau was transformed into a tea growing area, a landscape made largely by human intervention with Eucalyptus as the dominant tree, imported from Australia. Socially, the Nilgiris Mountains have been a location for interaction British and South Indian communities. The technological and social interchange is also evident in the application of rack Railway technology as applied in the west to establish a rail link in a tropical location.
The Swiss qualities of the NMR are strong. The steam locomotives which still work all traffic on the rack section and the tourist special on the adhesion section are the X class, designed in 1911 and built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works in Winterthur between 1913 and 1952. The export of technology from Switzerland has contributed to the unusual if not quite unique features of the NMR.

This Railway is a unique example of construction genius employed by Railway engineers in the later part of 19th century. Before the railway it took more than 10 days to reach Udagamandalam, braving insects and wild animals. With the introduction of the Railway, the 45 km journey took only 4 _ hours. Various facets of the Railway line, viz. the rack & pinion mechanism to gain
height, the steam engines, coaches, the station buildings preserved in their original shape all bear testimony to the technological skills of the bygone era are an outstanding demonstration of their function and illustrates a significant stage in human history. As an example of the transfer of rack railway technology to remote locations outside Europe, the NMR is certainly the outstanding remaining example in the world, in terms of its scale, authenticity, continuity and presentation. As an ensemble, with its impeccably maintained permanent way; its elegant, original stations and associated buildings, and its large proportion of old rolling stock and locomotives, it is genuinely outstanding, even unique.

Taken as a whole, the railway is quite a large undertaking. According to the international comparative assessment provided in the nomination document and confirmed by TICCIH, it is easily the most original and one of the largest rack-and-pinion railways in the world. The NMR is an almost perfect example of the Abt rack system as it was at the height of its development, and it is supplemented with old-fashioned block working by Neale's tablet. Most stations, all signal boxes and workshops, and virtually the entire infrastructure are still in their original condition. Rack railways were never very common in British railway practice. They were more numerous in the Austro- Hungarian Empire and in Switzerland. On the World Heritage List, there is the 41km long Semmering Railway in Austria, which was built 1848-54.

The NMR railway is one of five surviving historic railways in India, including the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) already inscribed on the World Heritage List. TICCIH has indicated that the DHR and the NMR are the two most innovative and outstanding of the five. The DHR is basically a roadside tramway, 0.61m wide, with no notable structures, and built extremely economically. It was the first Indian mountain railway (1880-81), and experimental in nature. By contrast, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, built nearly two decades later, is an altogether more substantial affair. Its gauge is broader, about 1m, and it is on its own reservation throughout its length. The NMR climb far more quickly and on steeper grades, using the Abt rack system. This is which makes the Nilgiri Mountain Railway unusual. There are few other Abt rack railways in the world, and none so authentic throughout. It is also big for a rack railway, with relatively large steam locomotives and heavy trains.

Unfortunately this article is no longer available.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 66 - Weekly Steamshed Report - 8 - 14th July



The Kalahari's boiler was washed out this week. Des started with the repair work on the Kalahari for the Avontuur trip in September. It is planned to move the Kalahari to Port Elizabeth within the next three weeks. The Kalahari will ride the entire road of 285 kilometres from Humewood Road in Port Elizabeth to Avontuur, and therefore needs to be in an excellent mechanical condition. The tender will be modified to enable a larger coal capacity.

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THE HUNSLET DIESEL: (above left:)
The delivery of the wheels was delayed and Denrus Engineering promised that it would be delivered this Saturday. Des will immediately start with the machining of the bushes for the new crankpins. The Hunslet is going to be used to work the ballast trains next week.

HANOMAG 49: (Above right):
49 was steamed last Friday to clear the Vailima siding of all the empty wagons that were loaded with rail material for the new extension of the Railway line.

Sandstone Steams again!

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49 was steamed again on Tuesday for very special guests all the way from India. Dave Scales accompanied the tour that started with a delightful lunch inside Hoekfontein Station building. After lunch the train departed to Grootdraai where photos were taken of 49. Mr.Rajesh Agrawal had the opportunity of driving the locomotive from Grootdraai to Hoekfontein, and this really made his day perfect.

The train then departed for Vailima, where our guests had the chance to observe the Class 19D's. Some shunting was done and O wagon 4003 was picked up. According to Mr.Agrawal, there are shortages of good quality coal in India, and they have had to modify their locomotives to oil burners, which is very costly. The coal they have also has a huge amount of coal dust that results in a lot of clinker. They also have problems sourcing dynamo's for their locomotives, and now they must use little diesel generators to supply the locomotive with electricity. It is kind of sad because the steam turbine has a nostalgic sound of its own. Something very interesting that came out in discussions was that the steam locomotive drivers in India certainly were the proudest kind of drivers on their locomotives ever seen in the world. Mr.Agrawal told us, that he used to train the steam drivers in India, and if they passed the exams, they were told that," There is your locomotive, now its your wife, and you treat her like your wife." Mr. Rajesh Agrawal
and Mr.Jayanta Ghosh are from the Nigiri Mountain Railways in India. The word Nilgiri is derived from two Sanskrit words namely; Nilam, meaning blue and Giri; meaning Hill, in other words Blue Mountain. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the oldest and the steepest rack Railway in the world. Mr.Agrawal also told us that they are the only surviving steam rack Railway in the world. This railway line rises 7225 feet within 45 kilometres. The ruling gradient is 1 in 12 with 208 curves and 13 tunnels.

Sandstone Wagon Report:


Ben has completely finished with this wagon. The wooden crates will now be varnished and stencilled. The forklift will be used to start with the packing of the freight stock early in next week. The train consists for the end of this month will be made up and it is promised that it will be very interesting.


NG G 2836:
This wagon is currently under restoration. The brake gears were stripped, the bogies removed and the vacuum cylinder was overhauled. This wagon will look very different from the other G wagons. The steel work on the wagon is being de-scaled at present, and will be painted with a special brown paint. The wood on the wagon will be varnished and I cannot wait to see the end result. This wagon will be part of the consist the end of this month.



O WAGON 4003:
This wagon was fitted with new vacuum pipes and is in a very good mechanical condition. New split pins were fitted to the brake gear and the boxes will be packed with new wool.


B WAGON 2454:
This wagon was shunted out of the wagon shed this week. Derrick cut the wagon to be almost like a flat wagon. The backside of the wagon is modified to make a coalbunker and water tank almost the same as on a locomotive tender. The big Britannica Boiler will be fitted onto this wagon, and will be used as a steam cleaning plant. The wagon sides will be painted green, the frame will be yellow and the bogeys will be painted black. This wagon will get special attention to the spray painting, and will be sprayed with spray filler to give a smooth painted coat.
The off cuts of the wagon will be used to build a coal dust extractor, to enable us to have clean coal on our tenders. This will let the locomotives steam more freely and will save a lot of manpower. This coal extractor will be finished before the winter steam events and only cost us two boxes of welding rods.


The Mobile Workshop was build out of an old dynamite wagon from Midmar. It is equipped with a huge Atlas Copco compressor that is capable of supplying enough air to our huge sandblaster that was fitted into the Mobile Workshop. All the un- restored wagons can now be coupled to the Workshop, and towed away from the Main workshop to be sandblasted.

The Mobile Workshop is also equipped with 50-ton air jacks .In the event of a derailment, we can take the Mobile Workshop to the place where

The wagon or train hasderailed and we can re-rail the wagon or locomotive in no time. We have two 30-ton bottle jacks, that are smaller than the 50-ton jacks, for it is sometimes difficult to get the huge 50 ton jacks underneath the derailed vehicle.

There is a big generator inside the Mobile Workshop that supplies the electricity for the lights inside the workshop. We have two mobile florescent lights inside the Workshop that are coupled to two separate leads of 30metres each that can be used to supply light outside the Workshop.


This generator also can supply enough electricity to power any electrical hand tools. A bench grinder was fitted inside the Workshop.

There are lockers inside the Workshop in which we can place all the safety equipment and spares. The Mobile Workshop will be loaded on an Interlink to accompany the Kalahari on the Avontuur trip. All the most needed spares and tools will be at hand inside the Workshop.
We have a Lukas re-railing jack inside with a hydraulic piston retraction that is made of a special light metal alloy, and with small transport dimensions because of a collapsible frame.

Oupa is finished with the painting of the walkways in the shed. New signs arrive daily and are placed all over the shed.

Petrus is still busy covering of the grass with soil.

The 2' Narrow Gauge extension line
Goldfields Track has finished the first kilometre of track. It really is going to be a fabulous route through the Cherry trees. Esperanza Sand is continuously conveying ballast to Vailima Halt from where we are going to load the ballast into our AY wagons. The Hunslet diesel locomotive will work the ballast trains in the coming week. The two AY's came to the shed this week and the doors were serviced to ensure trouble free operation next week. The steel sleepers that are used to build this line dates back to as early as 1926.


Blast from the past
Here is a photo of my Grandmother's father who used to be a Rail Inspector on the South African Railways. I am not sure in which year this photo was taken.


Steam Greetings, Gert

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 65 - Little Bess returns to steam

After a restoration spanning several years and a number of different locations before being 'fast tracked' by Sandstone Heritage Trust, Kerr Stuart Wren Class locomotive 'Little Bess' has returned to steam.
It now just requires some minor adjustments and fine tuning, repainting, replacing of plates and commissioning and it will be ready for action, a fitting unique stablemate for the similar French built and also rare Decauville locomotive restored a couple of months ago.

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Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 64 - Weekly Report - 1 - 7th July - Sandstone Estates steam locomotives



GMAM 4079:
GMAM 4079 was moved last Friday to a new era of her life at Rovos Rail. It was sad to see her going away, but it is heaven to know that she will be used again at Rovos Rail. The class 34 diesel from Spoornet arrived at Ficksburg station just before six o'clock in the morning. Eight empty DZ's were coupled to the GMAM for effective braking capability and for safety reasons.
The connecting rods were loaded on one of the DZ wagons. The Rovos team escorted the Garratt on her long run to her new home.
This photo was taken early last Friday morning.

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NGG 16, No. 113 was washed out last Friday, that was needed after the acid wash procedure. It is amazing to see the amount of scale that came out of the boiler and think that it was worthwhile doing the acid wash on the boilers.
The wheels of the Hunslet will be delivered this Saturday. Des will immediately start with the machining of the bushes. The Hunslet locomotive will be back in service by next Wednesday, just in time to work the ballast trains on the new laid track.

The flat wagon brakes were adjusted and vacuum brake tested. It still needs to be stencilled.

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Wagon 2836: (top left)
The brake gear of this wagon was removed and will now be de-scaled. The vacuum chamber tank was removed and the bogies will be taken out in next week.

Wagon 4003: (top right)
This wagon was not scheduled to be next. This wagon is loaded with 300 steel sleepers and we had to take the wagon to Vailima and offload it for the new railway line. The wagon first came to the pit and is in pretty good shape. She will be used as one of our old dirty wagons especially for the photographers who prefer to photograph the dirty wagons.

This week was a very busy week at Sandstone Estates. Trains ran up and down, carrying rail material to Vailima Halt and Vailima station, the 1961 model Coles crane loading the 1955 Diamond T, with the low bed, with rails, tractors pulling rails one by one to where the plate layers were busy securing rails to the steel sleepers.
Monday morning NGG 13 no. 49 was steamed to work the material train. DZ wagons were used to load the steel sleepers onto and our new Funkey diesel locomotive was used for shunting while we waited for steam on no. 49.

RN_63_06 At 16h00 the DZ's were loaded with 1250 steel sleepers and we departed for Vailima Halt where the wagons could be offloaded.









Vailima Station was blocked with wagons loaded with sleepers and bales.

A total of 400 x ten metre 60lb rails, and 2500 steel sleepers were moved this week to the site where Goldfields Track is busy with the building of the new railway line extension.
Triple meet: Here is no. 49 meeting the Coles crane that was busy offloading the rails from the Diamond T.
RN_63_15 Two hundred rails were delivered at Vailima Halt and two hundred rails were delivered at Vailima. Tractors were used to pull the rails all the way to where the platelayers needed them. The steel sleepers are loaded by hand onto trailers and are dropped down while the tractor is moving slowly.
(left) Here is a photo of a rail being tied to the tractor with a sling.

Goldfields Track is making huge progress and I am impressed by the speed they operate.
Here are photos of the earth moving that was done, as well as the newly laid track.

RN_63_16 17b


Class 15F number 3026 at Hennenman station May 1990


Steam Greetings, Gert