Steam & Cosmos Festival

Heritage - Rail - News

Steam & Cosmos Festival

Added 11th February 2008, updated regularly.


Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State of South Africa operates one of the largest collections of Narrow Gauge locomotives in the world. By public request we from time-to-time open our railway to the public and this we will be doing between 9th and 13th April 2008.

Up to 10 different Narrow Gauge engines will be steamed throughout the Festival with visitors and enthusiasts being given an opportunity to familiarise themselves with not only the railway but all aspects of the Sandstone Heritage Trust preservation programme. Regular guided tours will be held of all items in our collection.

A special highlight will be the Reefsteamers steam hauled passenger train from Johannesburg which will provide an opportunity for visitors to see some of South Africa's biggest steam locomotives in operation on the Eastern Free State line.

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Steam & Cosmos Festival Intro - 400kb PDF (opens in a new window)
PDF Steam & Cosmos Festival Details and Pricing - 230kb PDF (opens in a new window)

Issued by: Sandstone Estates (Pty) Ltd

Attention: News Editors

For immediate release:

13 February 2008


Sandstone Estates situated near Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State will be opening its doors for its annual Steam and Cosmos Festival from the 9th to the 13th April 2008. The Estate is home to the Sandstone Heritage Trust collection of Agricultural exhibits, Classic Military vehicles and Transport Collection as well as the world renowned 2 ft gauge Sandstone Steam Railway. All will be contrasted against an expected display of Cosmos all over the Estate.

A full programme of narrow gauge action will be offered on the railway. Up to 15 different locomotives will be operating during the Festival including three recently restored examples, Kerr Stuart no: 4063 built in1924, originally Illovo Sugar Estates No:3: O&K no 2510, built 1907 which originally operated at Huletts Sugar in Kwa Zulu Natal but will be remembered by many as being plinthed outside the old Train Restaurant in Midrand. The third locomotive is the ex Beira Railway "Lawley" No: BR25 which is reunited with its sister loco BR7 for the first time in over 50 years. These two historic locomotives will be double headed during the weekend.  For modern traction enthusiasts Sandstone will unveil its recently restored 230hp Bagnall Diesel locomotive originally supplied to Rustenburg Platinum Mines in 1961. The Steam and Cosmos Festival will not just confine visitors to trains and flowers. The Sandstone Classic Military Vehicle collection will be on display and giving demonstrations. A highlight of the weekend will be the launch of the restored Sherman tank of World War 2 vintage which will be on display and demonstrated throughout the weekend. To add more excitement the Sandstone transport and agricultural collection will be open to visitors so everyone is promised a weekend of heritage excitement and nostalgia. Catering and refreshments will be available throughout the Festival.


Wednesday 9th April R25 per person
Thursday 10th April R25 per person
Friday 11th April R50 per person
Saturday 12th April R100 per person
Sunday 13th April R25 per person.

An all inclusive ticket for the full event will be offered at R175 per person.


Contact Hester Papenfus on e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michael Myers

Sandstone Estates (Pty) Ltd

Telephone: (011) 805 4692

Facsimile: 0866 148 453

Vintage aircraft join Cosmos Classic Heritage line up...

We are delighted to announce that a number of rare and very special vintage aircraft including a number of Tiger Moths will be joining the line up of Steam, Military vehicles and much much more at this years Cosmos festival.

An excellent selection of aircraft are likely to be flying at Sandstone during Cosmos 08. The list includes:

Two Tiger Moths
One 1948 Bonanza
One Luscombe
One Chipmunk
Two Harvards
DHC1 Chipmunk 
PA12 Piper Cub Super Cruiser 
Cessna 170

Dave Hartman has sent this superb picture of their Chipmunk and Tiger taken over Sandstone during the last Cosmos Festival 2 years ago. The pic was taken by Steve Allison.They will be back in 2008.



Martiens & Wendy Steyn have sent the following link to a Photo of their Tiger Moth which will be at the 2008 Cosmos fees.

Click here to see the picture, or visit

The History is as follows:

  • Serial no 82982 with construction number R5100 Manufactured 1940.

  • Served during World War II with the Royal Air Force in Britain from 1940 to1943 at various training schools prior to being shipped to South-Africa

  • 4 May 1943: Delivered to Cape Town for the Joint Air Training Scheme on board the ship "Clan McIlbraith”

  • 12 May 1943: To 7 Air School, Kroonstad

  • SAAF no 4641 and fitted with engine no 83785

  • 9 June 1944: Accident at 7 AS (pupil pilot W Buxton, RAF) - swung during bad landing, undercarriage collapsed and aircraft tipped up on nose. Airframe Cat- 3 and engine Cat 1- damage

  • 13 June 1944: To 4 AD Lyttleton for repair

  • 31 July 1944: To 15 AD for storage

  • October 1945: Recorded as being in storage 15 AD Baragwanath

  • April 1946: Recorded as being in storage 15 AD Vereeniging

  • 27 January 1948: Sold to T.W.Phillips, Benoni with engine no 87348 for £25

  • 29 March 1948: Registered as ZS-BXC

  • 9 May 1956: Registration cancelled and sold to Skywork of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia and registered as VP-YOG

  • The history from here is vague. She was rebuilt by Ted Phelps for Cobus Bekker over an 8 year period and was issued a Certificate of Airworthiness on the 2nd April 2002 and flew as ZS-OSS with engine number A164631

  • August 2005: A 50% share was acquired by Martiens Steyn. February 2008 a Further 50 % share’s acquired by Chris Kyle and Christo Lombaard. The Aircraft is presently based At the Jack Taylor Airfield, Krugersdorp and is on charter by CFA air charters, Grand Central Airport.


Johan Mouton has supplied a photograph and details of his Cosmos entry

Vliegtuig : 1947 Luscombe Silvair 8 E
Enjin : Continental C90 , 90 perdekrag
Staakspoed : 47 MPH
Kruisspoed : 105 MPH
Totale opstygmassa : 1450 pond
Tuisveld : Kroonstad

Opmerking: Eerste siviele vliegtuig na die tweede wêreld oorlog gebou wat ‘n totale metaalkonstruksie gehad het.


For the younger generation at the Cosmos event...

If you are little, why not eyeball a scale model working traction engine owned and operated by Shaun Spaan. If you want to talk Steam, Shaun is your man....and a member of the younger up and coming generation as well...



Classic Military vehicles line up to attend Cosmos 2008...

In association with the School of Armour Museum in Bloemfontein expect the biggest line up of Military vehicles ever seen at Sandstone, with some real surprises in store as well.





Agricultural machinery enthusiasts gather at the Cosmos Festival....

We have received dozens of e-mails from enthusiasts who are keen to use their technical ability to add vintage tractors and other old items to the line-up of machinery that will be operating and on parade during the Cosmos Festival.
If you are a volunteer with sound mechanical experience and you love old machinery give Hester a ring on Tel: 051933 2235 or preferably send her an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please express your preference for the type of tractor, machine, car, truck, bus, whatever that you would like to take charge of while you are at the show.
The Sandstone Heritage Trust has an open policy of working with professionals who understand old machinery to make sure that they form partnerships at a show like the Cosmos Festival.  This benefits the public, the guys enjoy it, and there is no question that it puts a smile on the face of the old machines.









You know it's COSMOS time when the old 1955 CATERPILLAR grader rolls out to improve the farm roads...53 yrs old and still as robust as ever...



MG Car Club...

Approximately 30 members of the MG Car Club will be attending the Cosmos Festival.  If you are a classic car enthusiast come and talk to the MG guys - you will find them there...



Click on the image to open the PDF in a new window...

COSMOS Activity Programme

(90kb PDF)

COSMOS Rail Programme

(65kb PDF)

Work is continuing at a feverish pace on all fronts....