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.