John Deere celebrates 100 years in 2018 and one of the earliest examples of a John Deere tractor in South Africa is Sandstone’s 1924 Model N, Waterloo Boy. This has been loaned to John Deere for the duration of the largest agricultural show in South Africa and is on display at their stand at NAMPO 2018 in Bothaville in the Free State.
Sandstone is a major user of John Deere equipment and wishes John Deere another successful 100 years.
After receiving the required paperwork from the RSR, NG10 number 61 has passed its commissioning test at Sandstone. The final documents are now required from the RSR for the locomotive to be placed into service.
Our pictures show number 61 on the Grootdraai section during its trials.
Sandstone’s third Class 91 diesel has safely arrived at Hoekfontein and has been placed in the running shed alongside sister loco 91-010. Initial examination has shown that the loco has a good engine and excellent wheels and bogies. A number of cab fittings are missing together with some electrical components but these will be retrieved from 91-016 acquired from Grindrod in 3’6” gauge some time ago.
Sandstone has acquired 91-019, the penultimate member of its class, from Port Elizabeth. 91-019 is believed to be the last unit given an overhaul by Transnet but a full inspection will be carried when the unit arrives at Sandstone this week. After almost 9 years out of use the unit looks a bit shabby but will be fully assessed by the loco workshop team.
Our pictures from Hansie Claasen show the complex loading procedure at Humewood Road on to the transport lowbed using two cranes.
Ex SAR 19D, Sappi no 2, has been donated to Sandstone by Sappi from the Saaicor Mill at Umkomaas in Kwa Zulu Natal. The Unkomaas Mill was the last industrial steam operation in South Africa and introduced diesel operation in 2015. The 19D, which was SAR no 2633, was built by Skoda as works number 928 of 1938 and is one of only fifteen 19D’s built by this manufacturer.
Planning is now underway to relocate the locomotive to Sandstone’s Eastern Free State base where the locomotive will be initially plinthed and examined for possible future restoration.
The Class NG10, currently under restoration at Sandstone’s Bloemfontein workshop, underwent its first steam test under the watchful eye of Lukas Nel and moved under its own power for the first time in 59 years having been withdrawn from service for preservation in Port Elizabeth in 1960. The restoration will certainly go down in the annals of steam preservation in South Africa as one of the most difficult ever accomplished and on a par with some of the restorations from the famous Barry scrapyard in the UK.
The locomotive will be launched into service at the Stars of Sandstone 2019 event on April 5th.