The current COVID 19 legislation published after our February and Easter events were advertised prohibits all indoor and outdoor events as of 28th December 2020 and was subsequently extended on January 15th. This legislation will be reviewed on February 15th 2021. If the restrictions are not lifted and extended over a period that covers the end of February, the event scheduled for February 26 to 28 will be cancelled.

This will be advised on our web site and Facebook page.


Depending on whether such legislation is lifted prior to Easter will determine as to whether the scheduled Easter weekend event (April 2-5) will be held.

Questions relating to the security of the Sandstone Heritage Trust’s locomotive assets.

The collection of assets at Sandstone Estates is very securely housed, maintained and operated where necessary. At present we are involved in a high level dialogue with the Rail Safety Regulator concerning the need to adopt a Heritage Railway specification in South Africa, more specifically for 2-ft Narrow Gauge railways that are ring-fenced or isolated from any other railway network.

The Rail Safety Regulator has only one specification in South Africa and we are being treated as a Main Line railway and therefore we are having various restrictions placed on our operations and we are having to upgrade parts of our infrastructure at enormous costs to levels that we believe are entirely unnecessary for the axle loading and speed of operation of our railway.

Our current Rail Safety Regulator permit expires at the end of 2019 but going beyond that we have advised the RSR that we cannot comply with the demands being made on us with regard to Civil Engineering issues, nor can we comply with the requirement that all repairs to locomotives be placed under their control and be subjected to inspections.

One should appreciate that there are enormous costs which accompany each and every one of these regulations which are currently being promulgated quicker than we can deal with them.

We have worked hard for many years to accommodate the Rail Safety Regulator’s long list of demands but we have reached the stage where it is unsustainable for a railway that operates at slow speeds like ours.

We have forwarded copies of the British Heritage Rail specifications to the authorities with a strong recommendation that they implement something similar in South Africa. 

The rumours that are going around regarding the disposal of Heritage assets etc. are entirely incorrect.  We are simply in a state of limbo while we negotiate with the authorities to take a more realistic view of operations like ours.

On the last day of our Stars 2015 event, namely Sunday, 12th April 2015, we invited our employees and members of the local community with their families to join us for a train ride around the entire circuit. This was an ebullient affair with much laughter and perhaps for the first time on our railway ever dancing in every carriage.

The photographs below and the short video captures the spirit of the occasion.

IMG 7158 Wilf 15

IMG 7158 Wilf 19

IMG 7158 Wilf 31

IMG 7158 Wilf 64 



Our Public Day as per details below will take place on Saturday, 11th April 2015.

Should you wish to attend any day other than the 11th you are very welcome to register. 

The tariffs for the special days are as follows:

  • R 741.00 inclusive of VAT for the head of the family - per day
  • R 285.00 inclusive of VAT  for the spouse  - per day
  • R 285.00 inclusive of VAT  per person aged 13-18 years old - per day
  • R 741.00 inclusive of VAT  for individual adult visitors - per day

All of the above tariffs include meals.

Should you have any queries please contact the Sandstone office on Tel: 051933 2235 or 076 0246188.



Classic Aircraft attendance – Stars 2015

The following aircraft will be operational during Stars 2015:



ZU-ALO Allouette II
ZU-HHP Gazelle


Fixed Wing:

ZS-WZI Cessna 185
ZS-NHN Tiger Moth
ZS-BGN Tiger Moth
ZU-VAL Cessna 180
ZU-AOP Harvard AT6
ZS-COX Chipmunk
ZS-EUU Stampe SV4



Sandstone Stars Banner web

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Sandstone's UK office number

Please note that with immediate effect Sandstone’s UK office number is now as follows:

Tel: +44 (0)1189 819600.

Interesting Visitor to the Farm

On Thursday (16 August) we had a visit from a guy called Neil Muller who left Cape Town Station on 2 June 2012 on his bicycle. He did the first 680 km on foot and is making his way through South Africa to Dar Es Salaam, he hopes to complete this in 8 months. He is travelling along the railway line and is doing this to create awareness for public transport and old railway buildings. He relies on people to give him accommodation and food on the way. So if you can help in any way - the contact details are on


Kalahari Sunrise - two weeks after the event...

The Cosmos out flanked us this year but to celebrate its awakening we took Lawley No. 97 out early this morning (Friday, 14th April 2012) to catch the beauty of the flowers, the landscape, and the locomotive.











Kalahari Sunrise Programme 

The programme for the event has been updated as at 27th March 2012.

Please click here to view the programme - 181KB Excel Worksheet (opens in new window)


Exhibit Gallery

Depending on when our visitors stop by during our 8-day Kalahari event, they may stumble across something interesting.

We have published an exhibit gallery below which is by no means comprehensive but which will be updated daily to give our Internet visitors an idea of what is happening on the ground at Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State.

DSC_7844Our 1901 ex De Beers Kimberley Fowler B5 Road Locomotive being steamed ready for some heavy haulage work. Sunlight and steam combine to provide a wonderful mood in one of Sandstone Estates’ machinery sheds.


A team of trained Afrikaner oxen will be out every day.


Our big Bagnall Diesel locomotive (Works No. 3204, 1961, ex Rustenburg Platinum Mine) with its wonderful 8LW Gardner engine will be on standby at all times to provide extra traction as needed.


Our 1951 Series I Land Rover is the oldest item that has been in the collection. It was built in 1951, purchased in 1961, and has been in the ownership of the shareholders of Sandstone Estates ever since.  This Land Rover, having spent 10-years working for the Wankie Coal Mines in Zimbabwe from 1951 to 1961 then spent the next 10-years of its life on a farm in Swaziland, then in Johannesburg, and then in the Eastern Free State.  It is now over 60-years old and has never had a day off in all that time.


1991 Kenworth T900 manufactured in Australia which provides the bedrock of Sandstone’s heavy haulage programme.  On the low bed is a 1955 W-Series Kenworth that spent its entire working life in South Africa, mostly hauling freight between Cape Town and Johannesburg and back.


Our 1940 Marshall Roller which was out on day one consolidating the roads.  See link:


Emerson Brantingham Big 4-30 from 1913.


1951 Ford F100 Pick-Up.  This vehicle was purchased from a family in Natal who  had purchased it new.  It originally belonged to the owner’s father and he was already in his 70’s when it was purchased.  It is completely unrestored and totally original and is typical of the sorts of vehicles that would have travelled the farm roads 40-50 years ago.  The Sandstone Heritage Trust entered this truck in a rally which took it from Johannesburg to Nairobi a few years ago.  It travelled a distance of 7,700 kms with only minor technical issues to deal with along the way.






Kerr Stuart No. 4063 opened the proceedings at the Sandstone Heritage Trust Kalahari Sunrise event this year.  Our brake man is Barry White, a professional railwayman and now retired from Western Australia and currently working at the Bennett Brook Railway at Whiteman Park in Perth. 
Thanks Barry, you not only know what you are doing but you look the part as well.


One of our favourite tractors – a rare 1939 John Deere Model H driven by one of our loyal supporters, Chris Wilson.  Chris has enormous experience in John Deere machinery.


An Amateur photographer’s observations

DSC_7902 Old and new meet at the level crossing at Hoekfontein.

New tractors on their way to customers – 1957?

DSC_7885 Our Peckett Saddle Tank Engine No. 2161. 
A hard working survivor from Sena Sugar Estates, Mozambique.

Our Kerr Stuart locomotive, No. 4063, Tamara, taking water at Hoekfontein.


Freight in the marshalling yard.

DSC_7916 A view from the train window.

DSC_7948 Through the maize lands under dynamic skies.

Our 1927 Chev

DSC_8111A timeless scene




Throughout the week there has been an interesting selection of locomotives operating daily with completely new consists compared to previous years. 

Here are some of the configurations that visitors to Kalahari Sunrise were able to experience.






Photo credits: Gary Barnes



Countdown to the event

Tuesday, 20th March

The first group of visitors have arrived and they are now enjoying the magnificent Autumnal weather in the Eastern Free State. 

Steam shunting starts tomorrow but a diesel hauled works train was out today carrying out line maintenance.




The Works train returns in the late evening light...DSC_7634


Wednesday, 21st March

Today the consists were assembled - there will be 4 sets as follows: 

1)            Passenger - open and closed coaches.
2)            Military - various vehicles.
3)            Industrial  Tyres, cable drums , and crates.
4)            Agricultural - tractors, implements, spares, and tanks.

The pictures show the assembly and loading of the Narrow Gauge wagons.










Sandstone staff enjoy Christmas party accompanied by steam train ride.

This year we invited our staff and their families to a party at the Railway Station complex. A great time was had by all.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.






























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By Car:

Our GPS co-ordinates are

28° 50' 41.12” S

28° 00’ 15.94” E





By Plane:

The nearest airport is Bloemfontein or for chartered aircraft Ficksburg, the co-ordinates for Ficksburg Airport are 




Car Rental at Bloemfontein Airport:

Avis 051-4332331 051-4332637
Imperial 051-4333511 051-4332480
Europcar 051-4333511 051-4332480
Budget 051-4332381
Hertz 051-4002100 051-4002110
Tempest Sixt 051-4332146 051-4332167


By Coach:

The only coach company servicing Ficksburg is Intercape Coaches but this is only in peak season (i.e. in December) 


By Train:

The "Shosholoza Meyl" between Johannesberg and Port Elizabeth and another train between Johannesberg and East London both stop in Bloemfontein but from there a car would be required.



Click here to view a list of accommodation in Ficksburg, Fouriesburg and Clarens (PDF 11KB)


Alternatively should you need or prefer professional assistance with your travels plans The Association of South African Travel Agents website will help you to find a travel agent in the Free State area as well as other parts of South Africa. 



Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 22 - A visit by members of the Democratic Alliance

Sandstone recently hosted a visit by members of the Democratic Alliance from the Free State Legislature. The delegation led by Mr. Andries Botha, Leader of the DA in the Free State, were given a tour of the farm facilities and attractions from both a tourism and agriculture perspective. The delegation also took a train ride on Sandstone's 2ft narrow gauge railway as part of their tour at the farm.
Photograph by Andre Botha

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 25 - VIP Continue to visit Sandstone

During July Sandstone had visits from the MEC for Tourism from the Free State Province, Dr. Mafereka, Michael Schumann, the Chairman of Welsh Highland Railway spent a weekend at Sandstone Estates, Mr. Rajesh Agrawal from the Darjeeling Himalayan Mountain Railway took time out from his schedule to bring a small delegation to Sandstone Estates, a delegation from the Democratic Alliance including the Head of the Free State, David Thamae, the Speaker of the House for the Ficksburg Assembly, and Robbie Scholtz of the ANC in the Free State.

It is the policy of the Sandstone Heritage Trust to wherever possible steam a train for VIP's so that they might fully comprehend the importance of steam, its relevance to steam tourism and general tourism in particular, and perhaps more importantly to lay the groundwork for a better understanding of alternative fuel and energy sources in the transportation sector.