12th December 2007

Some years ago an agreement was entered into between the James Hall Transport Museum and the Sandstone Heritage Trust. As a result of this  agreement Texas Jack, the famous Sentinel Steam lorry, was restored. In  addition the James Hall Transport Museum assisted in the acquisition of the Sandstone Sentinel S4, which has been restored and which has been the subject of some  recent publicity.

Owing to the fact that we now have capacity in our steam restoration workshops  the Lawley which has been based at the museum for many years has been moved  to Sandstone's Bloemfontein workshops for a complete rebuild.  Details of the moving of this Lawley are as follows:

On the 4th December 2007, one of Sandstone Estates' heavy haulage low-bed rigs arrived at the James Hall Museum of Transport located in the heart of Johannesburg's south.  The reason for this, to collect a very famous locomotive, one of the ex-Beira Railways Lawley locomotive which was donated to the museum by The Dryden Engineering Co (PTY) Ltd  who purchased the locomotive (along with Sandstone's Lawley, Falcon 233) from the Zebedeila Estates where the engines ended their working lives.  It has been suggested that the James Hall Lawley ended its working life as Zebedeila No. 4 with Sandstone's Lawley being No. 5.  After the rebuild at Bloemfontein, the engine will be reunited with her sister engine at Sandstone Estates.

Built by the Falcon Engine and Car Works, a subsidiary of the Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough, England in 1897 for the Beira Railway in Mozambique, this engine is of the F4 type with stepped running boards, single slide bar and 9 inch cylinder bore.  At various stages of its working life the locomotive changed ownership a couple of times, it is almost certain that the true identity of the locomotive will be confirmed during the rebuild.   According to various sources, the locomotive should be Beira Railway No. 29 making it Falcon works No. 267.  She was designated Class NG6 No. 101 during SAR days and finally Zebediela No. 4.

 

The loading of No. 267 was achieved with the help of a four man crew from ReefSteamers namely Andrew King, Piet Steenkamp, Sakkie Kekana and Shaun Ackerman assisted by Sandstone Estates HMV driver Leon Flynn.  This joint operation between Sandstone, the James Hall Museum of Transport and ReefSteamers forms part of the Steam in Action initiative and will help to develop steam preservation and tourism in South Africa as well as boost public awareness.

First of all, one palisade fence panel needed to be removed then Leon skilfully backed the low-bed into position in line and nicely centered with the plinth rail.  The locomotive and its plinth rail were jacked up in the front so as to create the start of the ramp which was built onto the low-bed.  An all important task was to separate the eccentric rods and eccentric straps because the straps appeared to be very solid due to corrosion between the straps and eccentrics, this action prevented any damage to the eccentric rods.  The connecting rods were also removed in case the pistons were rusted in the cylinder bores.   The rail ramp was positioned and packed in the correct places and then two nicks were cut out of the rail head at the location where the ramp levelled out onto the low-bed.  Once the rail was in position, it was time to winch the engine along with its tender onto the low-bed using a lateral chain block, a very slow yet effortless process.

After about an hour and a half of winching, No. 267 was finally on top of the low bed and in position in readiness for its journey to the Free State.  The next job was to secure the engine and its tender onto the low-bed.  Finally it was time to clean up and gather all the rigging equipment.

If anyone would like to add to the above information or would like to submit a more comprehensive article about this famous locomotive, please do not hesitate to contact us.

REFERENCES:

Plateway Press, Antony Baxter.  The Two Foot Gauge Enigma: Beira Railway 1890-1900.

SA Rail, October-December 2002 pages 130-135, article by Leith Paxton and Robin Lake.

Update 21st January 2008

Lukas Nel has sent a quick update: "Now the boiler tubes have been removed it is interesting to note that this boiler has a copper inner firebox.  The boiler has been internally descaled and work is in progress to prepare the tube plates to replace the tubes after completing the necessary repairs to the boiler.  So far so good."

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Despite power cuts Lukas Nel has given us two further updates.

The photos show the stripped leading locomotive bogie and a general view of our cleaning operation.

Note the air supply pipes and tools.

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I have been asked to try and find some positive identification on the Lawley. The number shown below is the only number that seems to be original as it is riveted to the frame.

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As you can see we completely stripped the locomotive and have  started the rebuild.

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Update 19th February 2008

Lawley No. 97 is progressing extremely well in the Bloemfontein workshops. We have regular visitors who stop in to admire the work done by Lukas Nel and his team.  Our photograph shows Lukas and Anna Nel on the right with their experienced team, and two visitors on the left, Claudia Moreno and
Gareth Mole from Australia.  Claudia recently moved to Australia from Colombia.

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4th March 2008

The Bloemfontein team is starting to replace the insulation material and the boiler cladding...

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9th March 2008

This week the cab of the Lawley was restored, wood fitted to the ceiling, and then it was fitted to the locomotive. It is coming together quickly.

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Thee Lawley now looks like a Lawley...

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18th March 2008

Below is a photo of the two sliding cab windows with frames which had to be fitted on the outside of the cab made from solid Teak wood by an enthusiast for only the price of the wood.

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Update 21st March 2008

For those with a practised eye for locomotive rebuilds we submit these 2 photos…the detail is appearing rapidly...  Stand by for a special double headed Lawley event...

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3rd  April 2008

Patrick Ackerman who restored the Sandstone Lawley reviews progress on Lawley no 25:
Lawley 263 progress report (1.6Mb PDF - opens in a new window)

Also....

Lucas Nel has updated us on on the dynamic Lawley restoration taking place...

Another update on our work. It was possible to install the fabricated turret and valves. Also replace the missing clackbox and blowervalve and spindle.

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11th April 2008

Lawley No 2. A loco at last....

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21st April 2008

Lucas Nel reports that the cab of the locomotive and the outside vacuum pipe work and fabricated sandboxes have been completed.

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3rd May 2008

Lawley… like a great master Lukas is producing his masterpiece...

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9th May 2008

As the restoration of Sandstone’s second Lawley nears completion, Sue Lawrence sent us this wonderful line drawing of the locomotive in her Beira Railway livery as BR25, thanks Sue!

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20th May 2008

Lawley No. 267 is complete and will be relocated to Sandstone Estates shortly for steam trials.

To Lukas and his team - once again we salute you.

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10th June 2008

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Loading the Lawley in Bloemfontein...

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On its way to Sandstone Estates…

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