3ft 6" Cape Gauge

4AR number 1555

Work continues at Bloemfontein on Phase 1 of the cosmetic restoration of this loco for Transnet. After stripping the locomotive as in our last report  attention is now concentrated on descaling the various components. Our pictures from Lukas Nel show work on the cab, tender tank and boiler.

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The restoration of Class 4AR

The restoration of Class 4AR number 1555 foe Transnet Foundation.

The locomotive and tender have now been completely stripped and the cleaning process has begun. With bitterly cold temperatures in Bloemfontein an impromptu boiler has been set up for warmth!

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4AR number 1555

Work has now begun on the stripping and cleaning of the second locomotive for the Transnet tender at Bloemfontein. The 1913 North British built 4AR locomotive number 1555 awaits its place in the new museum at Bloemfontein after spending over 30 years in storage. As can be seen from our pictures it is much poorer condition than the NZASM “B” tank recently completed. Some damage is evident on the running boards plus serious corrosion to the cladding.

The locomotive has been separated from its tender which has been fitted with new bearings and axle box keeps and covers. The cab has been removed and our pictures show the deterioration of the cladding and the generally poor condition of 1555. Not surprising after so long in open air storage.

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Cosmetic Restoration of NZASM “B” number 230

The stripping, cleaning and painting of this locomotive is now complete at Bloemfontein. All the loose parts will now be safely secured. Another tender will be issued by Transnet shortly for the assembly and final painting of the locomotive.

A job well done by Lukas Nel and his team.

The crew will now move on to the other locomotive in the tender,4AR number 1555.

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A heavy day for 19D 2734!

We could not resist another shot by Dennis Moore from Loraine Gold Mine near Welkom. This is locomotive 2734 hauling twenty hoppers at the mine from a location called “The Hole” where the usual load was 10 hoppers.

To quote Dennis “Never have I seen a loco abused so much. Every rivet was straining; it made it, crawling past at about 2 mph. Some tremendous wheel slips; no wonder all their tyres were shot. When asked why he dragged twenty out instead of doing two hauls of ten wagons each, the Driver just laughed and said "it was more fun that way!

2734 was eventually purchased by Sandstone but scrapped some years ago as  “unrepairable” after all usable components were stripped from the loco. We can probably see why it was in such poor condition from the picture! Sadly mine locomotives suffered daily abuse which is probably why so few are ever restored to working order.

2734 has an interesting history though, in that the original 2734 was built in 1946 as works number 7247 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn but was lost at sea in the Thames Estuary during delivery. Number 2734 was a replacement for this engine but was built two years later in 1948 as works number 7360 and so was out of sequence with its sisters. It spent some of its life at Bloemfontein and then Klerksdorp from where it was withdrawn from service in 1989 and sold to Loraine.

Nevertheless sister Loraine loco, 1938 Krupp built, 2654, also saved by Sandstone survives today fully restored at Bloemfontein.

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19D 2654

One of Sandstone’s restored locos is the ex Lorraine Gold Mine 19D number 2654. The loco is in storage at the Sandstone Bloemfontein facility under the care of Lukas Nel.

Dennis Moore photographed 2654 at Lorraine on the 22 November 1997 and sent us this short gallery from his books, “Golden Steam” and “Lorraine Gold Mine”

Dennis remarked on the pics: “As it happens this was the very last occasion on which I saw 2654 in steam.  I hope one day, I will renew acquaintance with 2654”.

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Kommando Nek siding locos.

Kommando Nek siding locos

We have done some cosmetics on our 3’6” gauge locos at Kommando Nek. Click here to read the PDF

15F 3052 “Avril”

Here are further photos of the repairs currently being carried out on Class 15F No. 3052.

The locomotive gauges have been recalibrated. The brake ejector, hydrostatic lubricator, Fireman’s side delivery pipes and Fireman side blow down drum have all been refitted and the Annual Boiler Inspection was done on Friday 28th July. The locomotive passed its visual inspection and will be steam tested later this week. A test run, double headed with 15F 3046 is tentatively planed for Saturday 5th August.

Further pictures show, renewed pipe work to replace that ripped off in the derailment, the tender frames being straightened and welded where cracked and the boiler number restamped into the dome and cover following recommendation by the Boiler Inspector.

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Celebrity 15F number 3052

Celebrity 15F number 3052, “Avril”, has been moved from Friends of the Rail in Pretoria after its derailment in March on the Cullinan branch. The locomotive is now undergoing repairs from some accident damage as well as the replacement of some fire grate sections.

The motion has been reassembled, a replacement cow catcher has been fitted and the damaged fire grate sections are in the process of being replaced. The cowcatcher once secured will be primed and painted. The cab gauges have been removed for recalibration and arrangements have been made for the annual boiler inspection to be completed next week.

Our pictures from Reefsteamers show the replacement cowcatcher being fitted, work on the replacement grate and the motion reassembled afte it was removed for the tow from Pretoria.
Following boiler certification the locomotive will be kept at Reefsteamers for the foreseeable future and will be used on their tourist excursions from Johannesburg.

The new Cowcatcher

A new arrival at Sandstone, Caboose 14898.

Similar to our Type ZO-5 Caboose14856 at the locomotive depot, 14898 is of the smaller ZO-6 type being some four feet shorter overall than the ZO-5. The main difference being a reduction in accommodation by two to six people. 14898 was offered for disposal by Transnet in 2016 at Golele near the Swaziland border. Sandstone successfully bid for the coach which was in remarkably good mechanical condition, despite standing out of use for a number of years, although the interior had been vandalised. After the simple replacement of one brake pipe and repacking and oiling the bearings, 14898 was railed from Golele to Vailima Siding in April 2017.
It was then lifted off rail onto road transport bogies and moved to the Sandstone complex and remounted on rail and positioned behind 10CR 771 next to Hoekfontein Station.

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15F 3052 on the move

Sandstone’s David Shepherd celebrity 15F, 3052, has been moved from the Friends of the Rail base at Hermanstad to Reefsteamers (RS) in Germiston. This follows its derailment on the Cullinan branch in March. The loco was towed dead with its rods off. The loco will be inspected for any damage at RS although an initial inspection seems to indicate minimal issues.

RS’s 15F 3046 was used for the movement with Driver Peter Odell and Fireman Clive Holliday on the outward journey. On the return trip Shaun Ackerman took over 3046 with Peter Odell as fireman. The train left RS at 09h35 on the 19th May arriving at Hermanstad at 12h57. Departure from Hermanstad was at 14h41 and arrival in Germiston at 17h39. The train was restricted to 30kph to Pretoria as 3046 ran tender first and to the same speed on its return due to a dead engine in the load as per the Transnet regulations.

Our pictures from Peter Odell show the train being marshalled at Hermanstad and ready for departure and the train approaching Pretoria Station on the return to Germiston with the inspection stop at Pinedene.

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More dining space at Sandstone.

Ex SAR Dining Car Number 218, “Riet” has been moved from its storage area at Sandstone to be positioned next to the Waenhuis dining area for the upcoming Stars of Sandstone event. 218 was moved from the storage shed on rail and then lifted off its rail bogies and placed on road bogies for the one kilometre move to its new home where it will be reunited with its sister, Number 198, “Umgeni” to form a prestige dining area at Sandstone. Once in position it will be lifted off the road bogies and placed on rail bogies on a length of track.

“Riet” was built in 1928 as an A-22 type by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in the UK. After shipment to South Africa it was placed in service in South Africa on February 3rd 1928. It was withdrawn in December 1980 and sold to the famous “Train Restaurant” in Halfway House now Midrand. This restaurant became a famous Johannesburg landmark with such delicacies as crocodile and snake on the menu. The restaurant closed in 2002 after the owner was severely injured in a shooting incident and 218 together with two other A-22 dining cars, 198 “Umgeni” and 215 Kowie”, and AA-23 type kitchen car 253 were put on auction. Sandstone acquired the vehicles and moved them by road to Boksburg East Station and then by rail to Sandstone.

Number 198 was restored some years ago and has given service as a dining area at many Sandstone events. 218 has been restored over the last two years and once in position will be given a final coat of exterior paint before it greets its first diners at Stars of Sandstone 2017.

Our pictures show 218 being moved out of the shed onto road bogies and then the short road trip to its new home.

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Dave Shepard

The Sandstone Heritage Trust in South Africa are custodians of David Shepherd’s 15F loco, No. 3052, which was gifted to him by the South African Railways in 1991.

In recognition of the many happy times David spent in South Africa we have produced a YouTube documentary which features extensive use of archive material from his many visits.  Please click here to view: https://youtu.be/b-hA_LfZdNs.

We hope that you will enjoy it as much as David and his family have done in recent days.

David Shepherd’s 15F

David Shepherd’s 15F continues to pull capacity trains to Cullinan from Friends of the Rail in Pretoria. Our pictures from Friends of the Rail show the recent trip on 30th October.

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16CR restoration begins.

Our 16CR locomotive Number 821 has been scheduled for a cosmetic restoration for some time. Gert Jubileus, our railway foreman, who drove this loco at St Helena Gold Mine (where it was Number 1 “Black Beauty”) has been keen on this project for some time and his team has begun cleaning and stripping the loco. The loco has no tender but we will use the tender from another loco to complete the restoration. Dennis Moore’s picture shows Number 1 at work at St Helena in 1993.