Rob Steiger started building his GEA in 2002 from original SAR drawings and worked feverishly on it, as we all know Rob to do, producing parts to show off every week. He machined all 16 spoked drivers by hand and had a rolling chassis by the time of the National Live Steam Meet in Pietermaritzburg in 2003.
After this the locomotive production virtually closed down, but only for a short while to make space for track building. Once the track was completed and the grand opening of the Albert Falls Miniature Railway was held, Rob got back to the business of making sworf.
Because of the layout of the Garratt cab, firing with coal would prove very difficult and so Rob converted it to oil fired. Now in South Africa were coal can just about be found at your local chemist, model engineers around here never looked into firing with anything other than coal. This case is somewhat different from the USA, one hardly ever sees coal fired locomotives there, so someone must have perfected the art of turning oil into steam, also making the driver/fireman’s’ job a bit easier.
Finding this information proved a bit tougher than expected, as even the mighty Google could not beat oil out of the internet, so he made his own version. And here it is:
Some time ago we made an offer to purchase the redundant locomotive turntable at Assegaaibos on the Port Elizabeth to Avontuur 2ft gauge line which was accepted by Transnet. Over the last few days we have dismantled the turntable and loaded it on our low bed for transport to Sandstone where it will be re-erected close to our loco depot. The turntable was erected at Assegaaibos in the late 60’s when the whole depot was upgraded but since the demise of steam in the early 70’s has seen little use although it was used to turn 91 Class diesel locomotives occasionally.
Originally a 3’6” gauge unit, it is believed to have come from Greytown.
The turntable will be a useful addition to the railway infrastructure and give the railway added turning capabilities over and above the existing triangle which can become congested at times being part of the main running line.
Our pictures show the turntable in situ and being uplifted and loaded for transport by the Sandstone team.
Lukas Nel and his team have been very busy prior to the holiday break. The tender tank fitment to the frame has now been completed and a handbrake plus the required levers have been fabricated. We have also acquired a number of spares to complete the water valves for the tender. Those magnificent tool boxes we showed in our last report have also had a repaint. This detail work has taken a lot of time and the steam test will now only be in January.
Our Sentinel Steam Waggon had some issues recently with its injector which is of the high pressure due to the high boiler pressure of vehicle. The water feed pump has been rebuilt by Keith Stevens in Howick and he has also fabricated a new high pressure injector from scratch as nothing was available. We did manage to purchase a set of cones from the UK for Keith to complete the injector. The pump and the injector will be fitted in the New Year and thoroughly tested prior to Stars of Sandstone 2019. Our images show the new parts and the Sentinel in action.
This well-known photographic location for the Sandstone Steam Railway has benefited from recent heavy runs and is now full and overflowing for the first time in around three years. For our photographers, don’t stress! The foliage will be cut back for the Stars 2019 event so that this magnificent photo spot will be restored to its former glory. Our pictures show the Dam on the 10th December and our feature shot is by Aidan McCarthy with NGG16 number 153 crossing the dam some years ago with a mixed train.
Our drone camera has been very active after the recent rains and we thought you would enjoy some stunning images of Sandstone Estates as we move forward to 2019 and the Stars of Sandstone event in April.
For many years the Sandstone Heritage Trust has maintained a large collection of Lanz and John Deere Lanz tractors. They are very specialised and not all vintage tractor collectors are familiar with them.
Brian Calitz and his wife made a special trip to Sandstone Estates recently to evaluate our Lanz's with a view to putting on a Lanz display at Stars 2019. The results were very encouraging. A total of 5 Lanz's were started and a programme is now being put together to fast track the repair of a number of these. A special Lanz working area will be established alongside the railway for people to see these charismatic and solidly built German tractors carrying out their traditional duties.
The picture above shows a Lanz 50 on the right with a thick bonnet and a short radiator. The bigger 60 horsepower Lanz has a thin bonnet but a longer radiator. One way or the other Sandstone has most models in the Lanz product line-up.