STEAM AND WHEAT EATERS!!!
The harvesting of the massive wheat crops have started and the huge John Deere Combines are running like hungry wheat Eaters through the lands. The Railway is on Standby with 19 wagons to assist if the Freightliners and Richard Westerns can't cope with the loads.
Below left: The massive Combines tipping the wheat into the trucks.
Below right: One of the two Freightliners on the way to the Silos and a Richard Western on the way to empty the stomached of the Combines.
In the meantime we shunted out all the wagons and prepared them for the harvest. The last NG OK wheat wagon was finished and painted and was shunted onto the 19 wagon harvest consists. The Hunslet and the Bagnall was used to shunt out all the wagons. 13 B wagons were shunted together and were taken down to the shed. These wagons were cleaned and the doors were sealed with bags and foam. All these wagons were inspected and brakes adjusted where needed. A vacuum brake test were done after all the wagons were fitted with new vacuum wasters.
Below left: The Hunslet shunting her heart out in front of the Steam shed.
Below right: The last NG OK almost finished.
Below: The NG OK wagons from above!
Below: Shunting the harvest consist together.
Below left: The NG O and NG OK wagons.
Below right: A long train of B wagons on the way down to the shed.
Below left: The foam sealed doors of a B wagon.
Below Right: Petrus and his team cleaning out all the B wagons.
The harvest consist of 19 wagons was then shunted to the mainline in Hoekfontein Station ready for next week. Two Class NGG 16's numbers 113 and 153 will be used to haul the heavy train from the wheat lands to the silos but for now we had to double head the Hunslet and the Bagnall to shunt the 19 wagons from the Steam Shed to Hoekfontein Station.
Below right: The Hunslet and the massive Bagnall just before departure for Hoekfontein with 19 wagons coupled behind.
Below left: A look back to the train with the Guards Van way back in the Wagon shed.
Below right: Double Diesels pushing back into the mainline in Hoekfontein Station.
Below left: The long train now ready in Hoekfontein Station to be hauled by Steam!
Below Right: All the passenger coaches and Ratanga wagons were shunted from the Station to the Steam Shed where they were cleaned. All these wagons will be shunted over the Inspection pit for maintenance and vacuum brake testing.
Below left: Ratanga wagon number 185 was shunted to the pit for brake adjustment and under frame Inspection this week.
Below Right: The Dinning car was shunted to the shed after she suffered from a stuck vacuum brake cylinder because of a defective roller ring.
Below left: The stuck cylinder that refused to loosen the brakes.
Below Right: Petrus and one of his team assist to remove the defective vacuum cylinder.
Below: A overhauled vacuum cylinder was fitted back in under the Dinning car with a new plastic release valve. The brakes were adjusted and the Dinning car was vacuum brake tested and is ready to roll again.
The Brake operating handle of the Bagnall was removed this week. The operating unit has a fitting to couple a vacuum gauge onto but the tiny hole was blocked. Henk stripped the unit and opened the choked hole. The new larger vacuum gauge was fitted and the new vacuum brakes of the Bagnall are working just fine.
Below right: Inspecting the Exhauster for stuck valves
CLASS NGG 16's NUMBERS 113 and 153
Both our Class NGG 16 Garratt locomotives were shunted to the Inspection pit this week for brake adjustments and under frame Inspections. Both locomotive boilers were filled and the locomotives were prepared for the harvest to haul the 19 wagon train.
Below left: Petrus assisted with the filling of the boilers through the top washout plugs.
Below Left: All the tarot spindle packing nuts were tightened after being packed with rope.
Below right: Number 113 on her way to the Inspection pit.
Number 113 was fitted a time ago with new composite brake blocks and was in need of brake adjustment.
Below left: The handbrake was adjusted after the brakes were adjusted.
Below right: The new brake blocks in place.
Below: All the gauge column corks were sprayed with penetrating oil to ease the operation of the corks.
Below: The Lawley breathing the last of the sun just after she returned with a Passenger train from Grootdraai last Saturday afternoon.
STEAMING THE LITTLE GIANTS
We steamed Little Jimmy on the 26th of December for a very special late afternoon Passenger train to Grootdraai and back.
Below left: Little Jimmy on her way to Hoekfontein number 2 Platform just before 16H00 after a heavy thundershower.
Below Right: We departed just before 17H00 on a unforgettable train ride through the wheat lands towards Grootdraai with our very special guests on board. We made a brief stop at Grootdraai.
Below left: Our special Passengers, Mr.Mole and his family and friends breathing the fresh Eastern Free Sate air in front of Little Jimmy.
Below right: Mr.Mole's son joined us on the footplate on our return trip to Hoekfontein Station.
Below: What a perfect day!!!
Below: Little Jimmy drifting down the last gradient towards Hoekfontein Station.
After the trip all the repairs were logged and the regulator gland was packed with new graphite rope. The valve spindle and piston glands were adjusted to ensure steam leak free operation.
STORIES FROM THE PAST!!!
KROONSTAD STEAM SHED
Below Left: Class 19D number 2543 August 1975
Below right : Class 24 number 3661 August 1975
Below left: Kroonstad shed in 1975
Below right: Class 23 being prepared for a hard days work serving the mainlines towards Bloemfontein on a once busy mainline.
Photos above in courtesy of John Middleton.
Below left: Class 24 number 3635 just arrived in Theunissen with the second last passenger train from Winburg on the 23 May 1988. Regular driver Errold Seaman waves a sad goodbye after driving steam on the branch line since 1983. This was the last day of steam on this line and was normally worked with a class 19D locomotive. The B wagon of coal on the coal stage was specially offloaded for the three special trains on this sad day.
Below right: Class 25NC number 3412 shunting at Petrusburg Station in July 1988. She was stabled in Bloemfontein not long after this photo was taken and was cut up a few years ago. Never will she echo her pride on the 183km line between Bloemfontein and Kimberley.
Below Left: Class 25Nc number 3527 working the daily pickup train from Kimberley to Bloemfontein in 1988.
Below Right: Number 3527 on her return from Bloemfontein speeding through Petrusburg on a late Saturday afternoon in 1988. She was also cut up in Beaconsfield a few years ago.
OUTLOOK FOR NEXT WEEK!!!
- Maintenance on all Passenger wagons
- Washout Lawley
- Washout Decauville
- XC restoration
- Ay restoration
- Harvest train.
THE STEAM TEAM!!!