Questions relating to the security of the Sandstone Heritage Trust’s locomotive assets.
The collection of assets at Sandstone Estates is very securely housed, maintained and operated where necessary. At present we are involved in a high level dialogue with the Rail Safety Regulator concerning the need to adopt a Heritage Railway specification in South Africa, more specifically for 2-ft Narrow Gauge railways that are ring-fenced or isolated from any other railway network.
The Rail Safety Regulator has only one specification in South Africa and we are being treated as a Main Line railway and therefore we are having various restrictions placed on our operations and we are having to upgrade parts of our infrastructure at enormous costs to levels that we believe are entirely unnecessary for the axle loading and speed of operation of our railway.
Our current Rail Safety Regulator permit expires at the end of 2019 but going beyond that we have advised the RSR that we cannot comply with the demands being made on us with regard to Civil Engineering issues, nor can we comply with the requirement that all repairs to locomotives be placed under their control and be subjected to inspections.
One should appreciate that there are enormous costs which accompany each and every one of these regulations which are currently being promulgated quicker than we can deal with them.
We have worked hard for many years to accommodate the Rail Safety Regulator’s long list of demands but we have reached the stage where it is unsustainable for a railway that operates at slow speeds like ours.
We have forwarded copies of the British Heritage Rail specifications to the authorities with a strong recommendation that they implement something similar in South Africa.
The rumours that are going around regarding the disposal of Heritage assets etc. are entirely incorrect. We are simply in a state of limbo while we negotiate with the authorities to take a more realistic view of operations like ours.
The Stars of Sandstone 2019 video is now available on You Tube on the link below. Ron Nell of Frameline Productions has put together a magnificent production of the 2019 event. We hope you enjoy the spectacle.
Garratt Bucher from the Hempstead & Northern Railroad in Hempstead, Texas, has put together an intriguing article on the very interesting story behind the number plates of the SAR NGG13 Garratts. Garratt’s father, Robert L Bucher, owns the railway and paid many visits to South Africa in the sixties and seventies, having a great interest in the 2ft narrow gauge lines, particularly the Estcourt to Weenen branch which closed in 1983. Such was his enthusiasm that he imported one of the last locomotives to run on the line, NGG13 number 50 which is now in working order on the railroad. South African driver, Billy Bester, who drove on the line, became a close friend of Robert and spent a lot of time in the Texas with number 50.
An interesting contention in the article is Sandstone’s NGG13 number 49 may well actually be number 50 and in the USA, number 50 may well be 49! Any views or information on this will be welcome.
Fouriesburg Country Tours made their second visit to Sandstone in 2019. The tour company caters for Senior Citizens offering them guided tours over the whole of Southern Africa and they always include Sandstone in their tours.
1897 built Lawley No 97 was steamed up for a trip to Grootdraai while 24 oxen were in-spanned alongside the trip to Grootdraai. The tour concluded with an extensive trip through the display areas to view the Sandstone Heritage Collection.
A good time was had by all judging by the comments from the Visitors Book.
“Highlight of the tour”
“Fantastic Experience, will be back!”
Sandstone can offer self-catering accommodation in our Victorian Cottages for up to 24 people. The Victorian Cottages can sleep four in two twin bedded rooms and have a kitchen and bathroom with shower.
Our rate is R1771-00 per cottage per night, inclusive of VAT.
Our Railway Cottages offer accommodation only for 8 people in twin bedded single rooms with a bathroom with shower. Meals can be arranged at the Waenhuis in the main complex of Sandstone. Our rate is R295-00 per person per night inclusive of VAT.
We can also offer camping on site with pre-paid electricity for our visitors. A modern fully equipped ablution block is on site. Pricing is R380.00 per stand per night inclusive of VAT.
Sandstone Heritage Museum will operating train rides in conjunction with 2019 Cherry Festival on the 22nd and 23rd November 2019. The entrance fee is R200 per day for adults and R100 per day for children under 12. See PDF for full details.
For all visitors booking accommodation for two nights or more you will only be charged the entrance fee for one day for your party.
For all enquiries contact
In September 2015 the last steam locomotive in full commercial service in South Africa, 19D Saaicor No 3, dropped its fire for the last time and ended 155 years of steam operation in South Africa. Click here to read more
3688 was acquired by the Sandstone Heritage Trust in 2016 after it was removed from the Transnet National Collection and earmarked for disposal. As the locomotive was at Bloemfontein and in good condition it made good sense to acquire her to avoid the locomotive being scrapped. - Click here to read more