17th January 2006
RN 158 - David Shepherd reunited with his South African 15F locomotive3rd 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" >>
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.