It is International museum Day on Thursday 18th May and also the start of International Museum Month. You can read full details on the PDF and don’t forget you can visit Sandstone as part of the International Museum Month. We would love to see you!
The concept of preservation is pretty straight forward. If it’s endangered save it, take it out of reach of people who might want to scrap it, modify it in an unacceptable way or possibly just abandon it for a long and steady decline to extinction.
However once an item is in preservation many options exist. The first reaction that most people have is to restore it to as new condition. This is appropriate in many situations particularly if there are none in existence in that state. However that is not necessarily the way forward. The other option which is growing in popularity is to restore it or to bring it back to good, sound, working condition mechanically but to leave it in its original working clothes. In other words for the patina to be exactly as it would have been when it was doing its job. A very good example of this is our second Buffel. We already have the restored Buffel so that is not an option but having obtained another one literally from the scrap yard of the Armour Museum in Bloemfontein we decided to work on it mechanically but to leave it in its working clothes. As a result it looks very attractive, it looks very original, very genuine and arguably more at home in the South African veldt. It would look more at home in the South African veldt that a brand new shiny one.
More and more at Sandstone we are freezing the restoration process at this point and if it doesn’t look like it should we can give it a superficial make over and let time do the rest i.e. time will very rapidly bring it back to a state that it would have found itself in anyway.
Our gallery shows the Buffel as we found it at the Armour Museum and then after a quick clean up and check over in the workshop it was in service for firefighting at the Easter Steam 2023 event.
Railway Historian, John Middleton, is well known to South African railway enthusiasts for his numerous books on South African Railways main line and Industrial locomotives over the last 30 years or so. His latest book, Industrial Locomotives of South Africa (Volume 1) has been published. This covers the three Cape provinces, Free State (including a Sandstone entry), Kwa-Zulu Natal and North West provinces. It is available as a hardback book (B5 size) has 496 pages, almost 300 photographs (158 in colour) and 40 maps. Volume 2 which should be ready in 2024 (its already in draft form) will cover the rest of the former Transvaal plus Swaziland and Lesotho.The book is a magnificent work of reference and has obviously been part of the author’s life for some time.
To whet your appetite, here are some reviews from readers:
“For fans of South African steam an announcement of the launch of a much awaited new book on the complex history of Industrial Railways and Locomotives of this beautiful part of the world. Published by the Industrial Railway Society this is the latest of their series of hand books and is a most welcome addition to this excellent series…..The book is segmented by geographical region and the simplified maps show the locations of each of the sites featured. Importantly there is an index of sites / companies at the rear of the volume. Volume 2 will also feature an index by locomotive which will be most useful and is a great improvement on the Indian and Chinese volumes which lack this useful feature. The book is excellently illustrated with both historic and more recent images illustrating the vast variety of loco types that operated. The pictures are embedded into the body of the text rather than a separate section at the back of the book which to my eyes is also an improvement on other volumes in this series. This new book aims to be a definitive listing of all known industrial Steam, Diesel and Electric locomotives in South Africa, back to the first, a 7’0” gauge Hughes 0-4-0ST delivered to the Table Bay Harbour Board in 1862.” – Continental Railway Circle Review
“I have just received your magnificent publication. It was so big I could hardly pick it up.
It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could collect so much accurate date in a single lifetime and then record it in a meticulous way.
I cannot even imagine how many thousands of hours you must have spent working on this book. It is and always will be the definitive reference book for industrial locos in South Africa”.
Click below to see more details of the book and how to purchase it. Also we have included, courtesy of the author, the section on Sandstone locomotives from the Industrial railway sector.
We recently brought a WW2 Canadian Military Pattern vehicle back from the brink as it was deemed unrepairable. However, we did not give up and it is now a runner as our story reveals. READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Some cosmetic work on the Sandstone locomotive collection.
The cosmetic restoration has begun of NGG16A 141, which donated it’s power bogies to NGG16A 155 in 2021 so that 155 could be finally restored to working order. Our pictures show the engine units and part of the wheelsets after cleaning and painting.
Class 6B 544 has also been given a makeover together in green with 10CR 771 now resplendent in black livery after some years in red.
Finally, for now, 24 Class 3688, which was moved from Bloemfontein a red ochre colour scheme, is now being painted in SAR black.
Working the train at our Easter Steam and Cosmos Festival.
Mark Ruddy together with his brother Gary are two of our most dedicated footplate volunteers and worked a number of trains at the recent Easter event. Here is a short video shot by Gary and Mark’s daughter, Ta-Nika, of the preparation and working of NGG11 number 52. Enjoy the experience!