THE HEART OF THE RAILWAYS - RAILS AND BALLAST
The Sandstone Estates Management recently awarded the order to upgrade our Railway line to Flint Constructions who is currently working endless to upgrade our Railway line to a top Standard.
MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY
Flint Construction specializes in the construction and restoration of SURFACE and UNDERGROUND rail systems, the sale and purchase of perway materials (rail, sleepers etc) and general civil engineering construction. Formed in 1990 with an initial business focus on Northern Natal, the company's professionalism and wide experience resulted in dynamic growth and Flint Construction is now a significant presence throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The Company is based in Rosetta in KwaZulu-Natal, with operations throughout Southern Africa. Subsidiary Companies are Railcon Zambia Ltd and Flint Construction- (Botswana)
GALLERY OF COMPANY SHOWS THE STANDARDS
BACK TO THE SANDSTONE STEAM RAILWAYS
The upgrading of the Railway line is making good progress as Flint Construction is leaving no ballast unturned. First of all they started with the Section Hoekfontein to Grootdraai and removed all the severe slacks on the first straight out of Hoekfontein. The slacks on the long first curve were removed and the curve was properly aligned.
The slacks being removed on the straight out of Hoekfontein South.
The Rail jack is used to lift the slacks out and the sleepers is packed with ballast beaters before the jack is slacked again. The left and right rail is lifted to be level with each other.
A old Narrow gauge trolley is used to convey all the Rail tools needed, just like in the old days.
The Wickham weed train was on its way to spray the weeds on the Railway line and Jankie and his team had to derail there trolley to give way to the weed train.
The Ballast being removed to lower the panel to be level with the rest of the Railway line.
The Wickham was used to spray the weeds on the entire Railway line and soon the line will be clear of weeds 30cm away from both sides of the ballast.
The upgrading of the Railway line on the Grootdraai section was completed and Flint moved on to the section towards Mooihoek and Pandora pawn crossing.
A perfect aligned curve (see later in the report how the tracks are manually aligned.)
The long curve at the airport on the section towards Grootdraai was lifted, packed and aligned properly.
Removing slack beyond Mooihoek points.
Coming down from Mooihoek crossing. At the end when Flint is finished a total of 6 km of slacks will be removed and the line aligned.
A view from above shows the good standards of work.
Another perfectly aligned curve just before the last straight towards Pandora Pawn.
Jankie taking a lunch break on his Company car.
Taking out slacks on the last straight to the Pandora crossing.
The way how to align the tracks manually and to do curve alignment.
Flint Construction working the last meters to the Pandora Crossing. I next week they will proceed up the Pandora embankment and cuttings towards Pandora Junction.
Every Saturday they work in the Hoekfontein Station and all the slacks on line 1 are completely removed. The one triangle leg was also lifted and packed.
The Rails over the ash pit in Hoekfontein Station was removed to enable us to remove the old bended beams over the ash pit. New beams were manufactured by Wouter in the Steam Workshops and are ready to be fitted.
The removed rails at Hoekfontein ash pit.
The bended beams dew to crew negligence of not cooling down hot ash while cleaning fires. This also resulted in the corroding of the beams and supports.
The beams being manufactured.
Wouter painted the beams before it were moved to the ash pit.
We also tries to help with uplifting the railway line, below is Jansen busy removing the excess ballast between the rails in front of the Steam Sheds. All the T bolts and fishplate bolts on the Railway line towards Grootdraai and in Hoekfontein Station were oiled and some were painted with red oxide and is almost completed. We at first started oiling the bolts but the excessive rain just washed it away. We then decided to paint them with red oxide to protect them from corroding.
The point blade of the wagon shed points also was removed and will be bended again. Wouter made new crossing signs for the missing ones on the Railway line.
The point blade was removed from the Wagon shed points.
The new crossing signboards for the Sandstone Steam Railways
Soon the whistles will blow and our trains will run over a top standard Railway line again while Mother Nature plays her role in the backdrop of a heavenly Eastern Free State.