STEAMING INTO THE HARVEST!!!
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This year the expected harvest will be so the best ever and the Railway will play a very important role to transport the wheat from the hungry Combines to our grain silo's at Hoekfontein Station. 15 B wagons will be prepared for the harvest and the Bagnal will be used as motive power. The two new NG OK wagons and AY wagons will be part of the Harvest consist.

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THE BAGNALL:
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The huge vacuum exhauster was fitted into the Bagnall and Henk is almost finish with the fitting of the new 1,5" vacuum pipe through the Bagnall. The Bagnall will be up and running by the end of today.

Below left: The new exhauster fitted with the fan belt to drive it on. A new simplex vacuum gauge was fitted and she is now almost ready to haul the harvest to the silos.

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All the side panels and floor panels of the Bagnall were removed to lay the 1,5" vacuum pipe from the exhauster to the front and the rear of the Bagnall.

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WAGON RESTORATIONS!!!
NG OK NUMBER 3745

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The mechanical restoration of the second wheat wagon was completed last week. This week Wouter finished the restoration that was needed and fitted new planks. The wagon then was painted the same as the first.

Below left: Fitting the new planks
Below right: The NG OK taking a colorful shape.

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The NG OK wagons are painted with red oxide at each end of the wagons to make it easy to see the difference between the NG OK wagons and the normal fruit wagon NG O's.

Below: Restoration in progress!

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Below left: The slide doors were loosened and made workable.
Below right: The inside of number 3745.

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The first NG OK was shunted to the silos where Derrick did all the work to enable these new wheat wagons to be offloaded. A square hole was made in the wall to give access to the intake pit.

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Below: The elevator, the wheat will be transported from the intake pit to the silos.

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Below: The intake pit where the Richard Westerns offload.

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AY NUMBER 2033
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The restoration of the first and second AY wagons from Port Elizabeth started this week. Both wagons were de scaled while I and Wouter spend two days on the Railway line to spray the weeks. This time the cosmetic side was done before we started with the mechanical side. The first AY was spray painted with a coat of red oxide to protect the steel plates but will be spray painted with battle ship grey paint soon.

Below left: The two new AY wagons in modern Spoornet livery.
Below right: The vacuum chamber tank on number 2033 had known better days.

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Below: Wouter opened the door gearboxes and greased it, the door brackets were removed and all the rust was removed to ease the door operations.

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The vacuum cylinders were removed; these are the 15" vacuum cylinders and arrived without covers. The 15" vacuum cylinders are very rare and will be replaced with 18 inch cylinders with a small modification to the cylinder hangers. A new vacuum chamber tank was fitted with relevant pipe work that was needed.

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Below left: The chamber steel pipes being fitted.
Below right: AY number 2800 being de scaled and prepared for undercoat red Oxide paint.

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Below: Petrus spray painted the red oxide undercoat on number 2033.

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WEED SPRAYING
This week Wouter and myself spend two days on the Railway line attacking the unwanted weeds on our Railway line.
Below: The Wickham on weed attack on the section between Pandora junction and Vailima Halt.

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Below left: The weed poison was mixed at the shed.
Below right: Wouter lost a few kg's walking behind the trolley to ascertain that all the sprayers stays open.

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Below: The aim is to have a perfect neat and clean Railway line without harming the weeds far enough from the line.

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SHUNTING
The little Funkey was rostered for shunting the last two weeks. This little locomotive is light on fuel and so useful to perform all the shunt work needed in front of the shed. This week we shunted out the two restored Ay wagons to be serviced.

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Below left: The Funkey ready to move two flat wagons to the front of the Silo siding, these two wagons will be restored early in next year after we restored the last two XC tanker wagons.
Below right: The front of the Steam Shed, restored wagons will be shunted into the silo siding to free up space on the Shed sidings to accommodate wagons inside the wagons shed. The extra space in the Wagon shed will be used to store loaded B wagons from the wheat lands so that it won't become wet if it rain during the Harvest.

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FROM THE PAST!!!
It is July 1975 and the mainline between Bloemfontein and Kroonstad is ruled by Class 15F's and Class 23 Steam Locomotives.

Below left: Class 15 F's number 3083 and 3156 thundering up to Virginia with a north bound goods train.
Below right : Class 23's number 3275 and 3292 on the same day, flying south to wards Virginia.

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Below: Class 15F's number 3095 and 3153 thundering towards Whites Station close to Virginia. ( all photos in courtesy of John Middleton who captured these good glorious days of the South African Railways)

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Years later these Giant machines were parked aside in the Kroonstad dump yard where they spend their last years before being cut up a few years ago.
Below left: Class 15F's parked in rows at Kroonstad dump yard.

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OUTLOOK FOR NEXT WEEK

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  • Shunting out 15 B wagons for the wheat Harvest
  • Preparing, sealing of 15 B wagons for Harvest
  • Servicing the Ay wagons for the Harvest
  • A special passenger train on Saturday night.
  • Restoration of the two new Ay wagons
  • Restoration of two new frames for the XC tanker wagons.
  • Restoration of two XC tankers.

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