Important Notice for forthcoming Sandstone Events.
The current COVID 19 legislation published after our February and Easter events were advertised prohibits all indoor and outdoor events as of 28th December 2020 and was subsequently extended on January 15th. This legislation will be reviewed on February 15th 2021. If the restrictions are not lifted and extended over a period that covers the end of February, the event scheduled for February 26 to 28 will be cancelled.
This will be advised on our web site and Facebook page.
Depending on whether such legislation is lifted prior to Easter will determine as to whether the scheduled Easter weekend event (April 2-5) will be held.
Recently a goods train on its way from Bloemfontein to Maseru de-railed due to the collapse of sections of the rail close to the junction of the line to Lesotho at Marseilles. As one can see from the pictures these trucks were badly damaged and scattered along the railway line. Fortunately most of them were full of maize and a few of them contained wheat which was unceremoniously dumped in the veld. Nu-Pro, a well-respected local grain trading organisation, contacted Sandstone on an emergency basis and asked if we could somehow pick up these commodities and put them into trailers for removal to a nearby grain silo. Fortunately Sandstone has in its mechanisation division a number of Agrivac machines built in Canada. These are custom built machines which operate like giant vacuum cleaners and they can suck up material off of the ground and distribute it through pipes to wherever you want to store it. Within a few hours a team under Josef Mokoroane, our experienced silo manager, assisted by another Sandstone stalwart Poni Ramohloki was on site together with Raymond Hohls from Sandstone. This team completed the entire job in 4 days which resulted in the recovery of some 230 tons of grain.
There are all too many examples where the private sector is called upon to make good situations like this. No medals will be issued but Sandstone were pleased that they were able to assist so quickly. Credit must go to Agrivac for these durable machines that stood the test of time.
The Transnet train was on its way from Bloemfontein to Lesotho Flower Mill at Maseru. The day before, the Marseilles area received 100 mm of rain which caused the damage to the railway line after a dam close to the line burst and the water culvert beneath the line was unable to carry the flow of water and washed away part of the embankment. The train comprised three diesel locomotives and nine wagons, seven of maize and two of wheat. Luckily for the crew the locomotives and first two wagons passed over the damaged section but the remaining seven wagons were derailed either side of the line.
Our pictures show the recovery process, the Agrivac machine and the John Deere 6830 tractors used with the Agrivac.
In many ways because of the significance of our 2ft narrow gauge railway in particular any other categories of preservation at Sandstone tend to be overlooked. One of the most significant of these is our collection of military vehicles which was assembled over many years in association with the SA Armour Museum in Bloemfontein. This arrangement is a very good example of a public private sector partnership which has worked well for both parties over the years.
We concentrated on two categories. Firstly vehicles that were used in world war 2 by South African forces, mostly North African Italy. These comprise of some of the most famous vehicles of world war 2, a Mark 4 Sherman Tank, a White Half Track, a Twenty Five Pounder, Canadian Ford Trucks in various configurations, etc. The second category is South African designed and manufactured vehicles built for the Angolan conflict and for other operational purposes in South Africa. We have some of the most famous vehicles in this country namely the Rattle, the Casspir, the Buffel, the Eland, some heavily modified Saracens and a very wide range of Carmel vehicles namely Carmel 2050 and 100.
We tend to be strict about our provenance in the sense that we do not go outside of those categories with the exception of two Russian vehicles which were captured by South African forces in Angola and which we consider to be appropriate because they were military vehicles opposing South African forces in conflict and therefore they are of great interest.
In order to raise the profile of our collection we will be taking a British manufactured world war 2 anti-aircraft gun namely a Vickers QF 3.7 inch calibre, in a purpose built facility inside our main security gate. This type of Anti-Aircraft gun was developed by Vickers-Armstrong in the UK in 1937 and built until 1945. This type of gun remained in service in Britain until 1959 when it was replace by guided missiles. The gun weighs in at 9317kg.
The sign below will be the centre point of this display which will remind people when they arrive of the presence of a historically significant and important collection of military vehicles with a very strong South African identity.
The current COVID 19 legislation published after our February and Easter events were advertised prohibits all indoor and outdoor events as of 28th December 2020 and was subsequently extended on January 15th 2021. This legislation has been reviewed on February 13th 2021 and published in the Government Gazette and the restrictions on gatherings have been extended and therefore remain in force until March 15th 2021 and now extend over a period that covers the end of February and the proposed event. The event scheduled for February 26 to 28 has been cancelled.
Depending on whether such legislation is changed at the next review on March 15th 2021, prior to Easter, will determine as to whether the scheduled Easter weekend event (April 2-5) will be able to take place.
With a number of new acquisitions the stock list for the Military Collection has been updated. This now includes a Dodge Ambulance, Whyte Half Track, Land Rover Wolf, Bedford Desert truck and a Diamond T tank tractor. We shall be featuring stories on the new acquisitions shortly. Click here to see complete list