Sandstone's GMAM has an exercise session in November

On 6th November 2010 Sandstone's GMAM hauled a 16 coach train for Reefsteamers to Magaliesberg.

Andre Van Dyk reports as follows:

This weekend 6 November my Dad and I had the opportunity to be the driver/fireman on the inbound trip from Magaliesburg with the GMAM.

I firstly was impressed when Shaun (outbound driver) had to make a stop on the steepest gradient in the section between Magaliesburg and Vlakdrift, and then pick up the load of 16 coaches with not even slipping. If this was a 15F we would need to push back to Magaliesburg station.

On the return journey she held her steam well with the 16 couches to Tarlton, leaving Tarlton I was little bit low in steam (1000 KPa) topping up the boiler still from the previous section but decided to leave for Battery/Waterval as we had permissions. Entering Battery station we nearly had full boiler pressure with half a gauge glass of water on the boiler, we took the first turn out of Battery station at the normal 50km/h. Climbing steadily but fast to the first right turn where I started rowling extra coal for the photographers waiting on the top of three sisters hill the steam was at maximum pressure but did not release the safety valve as yet. Going into the second left turn now pointing strait at the photographers we still maintained a steady speed of over 30 Km/h with these 16 couches and as we reach the photographers just before the top of the hill the safety valve let go. I must say my dad was ecstatic and could not hold his joy, and had to stand up and walk around on the footplate before sitting down again. This was the greatest feeling to see my dad having over 20 years driver experience on the small garratts, having to drive the larger GMAM and become like a child the moment that safety valve goes.

I must say thanks to Sandstone that we have the opportunity to at least have one GMAM in our fleet, it always is something I look forward in having and that is a trip on the GMAM 4079.

Andre van Dyk







All photos above by Aidan McCarthy


From: Patrick Ackerman [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: 11 November 2010 08:09
Subject: GMAM 4079 to Magaliesburg, 06 Nov 2010

Here a few of my better pictures of the GMAM in action on Sat 6th.

Please use the link below to view a video clip of 4079 on the return leg of Saturday's day trip.  The engine ran beautifully and to witness such awesome power is a real privilege.

I hope your web site visitors enjoy the sight and sound of this magnificent machine as much as I did.

Kind regards,
Pat Ackerman

Some passengers dropped of at the Magaliesburg Hotel, now up the grade into Magaliesburg station.

A brief pause at Magaliesburg Station to allow the section manager to complete the crossing procedure and return to the cab of the GMAM.

The outbound crew, trainee fireman Andreas Mattee, driver Shaun Ackerman and fireman Michael Thiel.

The start of the 1 in 40 slog towards Vlakdrif.

Halfway up the worst of the climb to Vlakdrif.

At Seekmore, the worst of the climb now over and going well with 800 tons hanging on the engines coupler.  Magaliesburg lies somewhere below and much elevation is gained in a very short distance.

Mechanical stoker motor working a little too enthusiastically.

Well lubed machine pauses at Swallows Inn for the remainder of the passengers to disembark, just look at the super-long coupling rod.

Driver chatting about the train timings with master photographer Dennis Moore, Dennis will no doubt be giving chase as the GMAM makes it's way back home.

Loco runs round at Vlakdrif before servicing and fire cleaning begins.

Outbound crew off duty.

Empty container train from Botswana passing through Vlakdrif with two 34's in charge.

Inbound driver Frans van Dyk in his element re-living his working days as a Natal Garratt driver.

Vlakdrif departure to collect the first batch of passengers at Swallows Inn.

 Pictures of 4079 to Magaliesburg are also available on the FOTR website. See: