" Hands On" at Sandstone
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As part of the steam weekend held on 6 & 7 November visitors were given the opportunity to drive a narrow gauge locomotive on the Sandstone Steam Railroad. Although the lure of photographing triple headed Garratts and an NG15/NGG16 triple headed and double headed combination attracted most visitors a number of people signed up for a test drive. Utilising the section from Hoekfontein to Grootdraai, where there was no photographic or train activity, participants took the controls of Lawley 4-4-0 no: BR7 under the supervision of a qualified driver. For many this was their first time on the footplate of a locomotive and for all, a dream come true to actually drive a steam loco.
Each partcicipant was allocated 15 minutes during which they were given a brief run down on the principles of a steam loco and its controls. Most commented that although the controls were not complex and it was easy to get going, stopping was a different matter! However, by the end of their time each new "driver" was appreciative of what is required to drive a loco.