LIVING STEAM!

 

Pretty Faces of a glorious past!

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TRAIN NEWS FROM THE SANDSTONE STEAM RAILWAY

THE SALOON

The refurbishing of the Saloon was completed during the last week. Wouter painted the window frames and fitted new Sandstone branding to it.

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A new looking Saloon.

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Painting the window frames.

RATANGA WAGON NUMBER 2 AND 3

Our Ratanga wagons numbers 2 and 3 were shunted to the shed and received a coat of fresh varnish. Wouter removed the brake axle and greased it, the only way to make it move freely again. Both wagons were then shunted to the Inspection pit for brake adjustment after the brake axles were removed, greased and fitted back.

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Number 3 in line.

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Both Ratanga wagons receiving a fresh coat of external varnish.
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The V hanger was removed on the one side to free the brake axle.

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Ratanga number 2 receiving a coat of varnish.

LOCOMOTIVE NEWS

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CLASSES NG 15, NG 6, NG 4 AND THE BARCLAY

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With the upcoming steam event it is essential to repack all the valve spindle packing nuts with new rope. All the regulator glands were packed again on all 4 locomotives. The rope usually becomes very hard and dry if the locomotives are not in every day service and therefore it was needed to repack every packing as well as packed valve glands on the locomotives to ensure a leak free packing when we are steaming the locomotives in April.

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The NG 15 drifter valve spindle packing nut and gland was removed and the spindle was packed with new rope that was soaked in oil.
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The rope has many strings and the amount of strings can be chosen to make it the perfect thickness to fit into all the different types and sizes of valves.

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The NG 15 tarot spindles were all packed. In some cases with a short spindle it were needed to uncouple the cross couplings to allow space for the packing nut and gland to come out.

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The packing nuts were loosened and moved back to allow the gland to come out.

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An example of a short base spindle where it was needed to remove the cross coupling of the spindle wheel in the cab.

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The NG 15 Valve gland about to be removed.

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The NG 4 regulator valve was also packed with new graphite rope.

First the regulator handle is removed and secondly the regulator gland.

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The regulator gland being removed.

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The old rope is visable around the regulator shaft.

There are many different types of valves but the basics stay the same.

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The NG 4 valves being packed. In this valve the gland screws in and compresses the rope to make a leak free joint.
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In this case the spindle wheel was removed to access the packing.

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A screw in gland type of valve. The packing nut and spindle is one.

The rest of the Sandstone fleet of locomotives will be next and every locos spindles will be packed with new rope. The boilers then will be commissioned and the boilers will be filled with treated water.

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The Barclay, all the tarot spindles were packed with soaked rope.

THE RAILWAY LINE

Flint construction is making good progress with the upgrading of our Railway line. They tackled the first 500 meter of slacks from the Pandora crossing onwards towards Pandora Junction.

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The crew posed for a photo near Pandora house.

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We shunted the AY ballast train to the Coal stage where they were loaded with the TLB.

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20 tons of ballast was loaded onto each AY.

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The TLB working hard to fill the wagons.

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The plate layers busy aligning the curve near Pandora house. It looks perfect!

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Shows a perfect curve near Pandora house.

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The team moved up to remove the slacks near the security hut at the Main gate.

In the mean time our Ballast train was ready to depart with 80 tons of ballast to be offloaded at the Pandora pawn.

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The massive Bagnall was used to pull the wagons up the gradients to Pandora and we offloaded 2 by 2 Ay's at a time to minimize the risk of derailments that often occurs during the ballast offloading.

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Number 2806 emptying her stomached next to the Pandora pawn.

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Offloading from the Pandora crossing heading towards Mooihoek Siding.

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Jantjie screaming out orders to the Ay operators.

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After the ballast were offloaded it was time to rake and align the ballast.

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The second load being tipped.

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The new AY's from Port Elizabeth in action.

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The excessive Ballast was moved with the trolley working it up towards Mooihoek.

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A perfect straight after Flint Construction aligned the straight and removed the slacks.

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The straight line towards Pandora crossing before we ballasted it shows the perfect work that was done.

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Our contribution, the points in front of the Shed. The ballast that was level with the tracks in the middle was removed to prevent the tracks from laying in the wet ground and ballast.

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A better looking set of points.

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Petrus removed all the excessive ballast just in front of the Shed and lined it up to be straight again.

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Old cement sleepers were used to box in the ballast.

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A better looking front door at Hoekfontein Shed.

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The row of sleepers to keep the ballast from rolling down. These sleepers will be painted with white PVA in next week.

THE RAILWAY DRAINAGE

The culvert on the Vailima Halt to Pandora Junction was repaired this week. The flood water could not get through the massive pipe quick enough and just worked its way through the bank at the sides of the pipe. The end result was that the railway line was hanging on a little piece of ground that did not fall into the huge cave under it. The cave under the railway line was big enough for a person to stand in and our Contractor Len Hudson build stone walls in the sides and filled the cave with concrete to prevent the same to ever happen again.

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The Filled holes shows the concrete, just under it was a very huge cave.

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The stone wall at the one side.

GENERAL NEWS

All the steps we used on the Station were collected and moved to the shed where new wooden plank steps were fitted. The steps then was painted with green and yellow and are now ready to be moved back to use on the Station.

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EXTENDING THE 3'6" STORAGE LINE AT THE COAL STAGE

Five loads of gravel were offloaded at the storage line to level the 40 meter extension the this line.

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The gravel that is used to level the line. This line is extended to accommodate the three locomotive that we are going to move in this week.

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The best machine to use!

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The TLB hard at work.

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Petrus and Jansen busy building another 3'6" panel to be loaded on the Freightliner to load the locomotives onto.

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All the level crossings were cleaned during this week and it is good to keep them clean throughout the year.

PORT ELIZABETH WAGONS

The Last NG OK wheat wagon arrived on the Farm this week. We now have a total of seven of these wheat wagons that will come in handy during harvesting seasons.

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ASH PIT SIGN BOARD

A new signboard was made this week and was planted at the Hoekfontein Ash pit. This might sound odd to say no hot ash at a ash pit but this is only to remind visitor drivers to cool down the ash while cleaning the fires because it causes so much damage to the tracks and support beams over the ash pit.

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LOCOMOTIVES ON DISPLAY

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Class 19 D at Warrinton near Kimberley.

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A Class 7 on the platform in Klerksdorp.

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Class 8 at Portchefstroom Station forecourt.
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FROM THE PAST

PHOTOS ALL BY JOHN MIDDLETON

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Class 15 F number 3095 thundering over the Sandrivier Bridge heading toward Glen Harmony on the famous Virginia Glen Harmony branch line in 1982.

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Class 15 F number 2994 over the same river on a different day in 1983.

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RSSA Rail tour President Steyn No. 7 13.4.85.

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President Steyn No. 8 28.10.88.

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FS Saaiplaas 3BR working on Pres Steyn 28.10.88.

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A very rare picture is to see this class 24 number 3688 on the daily shunt train in Hennenman working a heavy train from the Silos. This was a huge climb out to the Station and it is amazing that this 24 class could work this train up the gradient. I met this class 24 number 3688 later years when she was on a lease lend to FSG gold mines in 1992.

OUTLOOK FOR NEXT WEEK!

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· Extend 3'6" line at Coal Stage

· To move Barclay from Town

· To move Bessinger Funky from town

· To move the Hunslet from Town.

· Track maintenance on the section towards Pandora Junction.

· To pack all glands on the remaining locomotives

· To pack all spindle packing nuts on the remaining locomotives.

· Paint upgrading outside the steam shed at Hoekfontein.

· To sandblast and spray paint 4 XC wagons.

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The Rovos oil burning Class 25NC storming out of Ficksburg Station in 2006.

STEAM GREETINGS
FROM THE STEAM TEAM!!!