Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News
RN 33 - Sandstone 2 Scrap dealers 0
Over the last two weeks a considerable drama has played out in the Welkom area to save two complete and basically serviceable locomotives from the jaws of the scrap dealers.
Sandstone Heritage Trust learnt at very short notice that the ex Harmony 16CR locomotives, the remaining ex Freegold locomotives and the North British tank locomotive were the subject of a bid by scrap dealers, and a tender was due to close in a few hours time.
Three of the four St Helena had been stripped of their fittings which had been put into store for safe keeping. However, the store was then broken into and the fittings were stolen!
Sandstone Heritage Trust managed to get a stay of execution on the locomotives, and after intervention at the highest level of Harmony Gold, succeeded in purchasing one 16CR locomotive, minus tender which had already gone, a North British tank and quantity of tools and spares.
The 16CR is St Helena No. 1 Black Prince, formerly SAR no. 821, built by North British in 1919, works no. 21717. The loco is complete and in working order, although missing its tender. This is no real disaster as it had been heavily modified by the mine with reworked tank and coal bunker and running on wagon bogies. A genuine tender will be purchased in due course.
The tank locomotive is a standard 4-8-2T ex FSG no. 1, built by North British in 1951, works no. 27091. Its mechanical condition is unknown but it is largely complete although missing some pipework.
Both locomotives have already been moved to the Eastern Free State well away from the scrap dealers.
There are rumours of preservation efforts on one or more of the other stripped locomotives, however, once the scrap dealers are involved this becomes infinitely more difficult unless one has sufficient resources to purchase and remove equipment speedily.