The Sandstone Easter Steam and Cosmos Festival 2023

Our annual Easter event was a great success this year with good weather for three days but heavy rain later on Sunday rendered much of the Farm waterlogged for Monday which limited activities to train rides. To compensate our visitors we offered free entrance for the final day.

After a recruitment drive for volunteers before the event, we were able to offer more military vehicles in action plus more tractors and a portable steam engine that was fired by mealie cobs!

The Vailima Siding section of the Sandstone Steam Railway was reopened after not seeing any use since 2019 and Seb’s Railway was also reopened after serious damage to the dam wall, which carries the track over the Hippo Dam, was repaired and the wall strengthened. Seb’s Railway was a great success with busy trains throughout the event and visitors also enjoyed the frequent runs over Pandora Bank to Vailima Siding. The Vailima Siding Run gave a magnificent view of the Cosmos which graced Sandstone just in time for our event. A variety of locomotives was used with Lawley NG97 and NGG11 52 operating on shorter trains from Hoekfontein to Grootdraai and return. NGG16 Garratts 113 and 153 provided the motive power for the longer run to Vailima Siding. Our ex SAR 91 Class diesel provided stand by power for the weekend.

Classic Flying Collection arrived at the show with a number of vintage aircraft including a Stampe biplane and two Tiger Moths which gave flips to our visitors throughout the weekend although the waterlogged runway grounded them on Monday. Our thanks to Steve Brown and his team for a great contribution to the event and also to all our many volunteers who made the Festival a success.

Sadly the roads in the Ficksburg area are still poor condition although plans are supposedly in place to upgrade the road from Bethlehem to Ladybrand as per our web post on the 15th December 2022.

No work has begun and we are constantly lobbying the Free State Government and Roads department for an answer to the point that they will not take our calls and have resorted to blocking them completely but we will keep up the pressure! Nevertheless thanks to everyone who visited us and was undeterred by slow progress on the roads to Sandstone!

We will let our photo gallery tell the story of the Easter Steam and Cosmos Festival 2023.

Our next event will be in conjunction with the Cherry Festival from Friday 17th to Sunday the 19th November 2023. We hope to see you there.