Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

17th January 2006

RN 158 - David Shepherd reunited with his South African 15F locomotive

3rd May 2006

23rd May 2006 - New photos added to David Shepherd Tour article >>
View Tessa Joughin's photo gallery - "Avril" >> (unfortunately this article is no longer available)
RN 165 - A day to remember - by C.A. Janisch >>
Read the reply -  RN 170 - "RE: A day to remember - by John Ashworth" >>

On the 27th April, world famous wildlife artist and rail enthusiast, David Shepherd, travelled between Ficksburg and Kommandonek (part of the famous Bloemfontein to Bethlehem line) in the Eastern Free State of South Africa behind his 15F steam locomotive number 3052. The locomotive, which is in the custody of the Sandstone Heritage Trust, of narrow gauge fame, was specially recommissioned for this event by Sandstone after being out of service for some 2 years. David was granted special permission by Spoornet to travel on the footplate of 3052.



3052 was steamed on the 26th and David had an emotional twilight reunion with the locomotive presented to him by Spoornet in 1991 in exchange for a specially commissioned painting of it. After some quiet time on the footplate in the evening, David expressed his strong attachment to the loco, which is named "Avril" after his wife.



The locomotive has been in the custody of Sandstone since February 2004 but David last travelled behind her on a fleeting visit to South Africa in 2002. The 15F was the most numerous class of the then South African Railways, 3052 being built by North British in 1946. The spectacle of this massive loco on 3'6" gauge prompted David to remark that it made his British 9F, 92203, "Black Prince", look small!


Three trips were made in glorious weather during the day over the scenic 13 kilometre route.
After the excitement of the day David was treated to a special sunset run on the Sandstone Narrow gauge behind Sandstone's 1895 built, ex-Beira Railway Lawley 4-4-0, BR7.

3052 performed faultlessly and it is hoped that David will be able to enjoy his locomotive again on a future trip to South Africa.