Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 138 - Weekly steam shed report - December 2005 by Gert Jubileus



Sandstone Estates Wagon Works

All the wagons to be used on the Harvest days 1 and 2nd January 2006 came to the inspection put inside the Shed. The brakes were adjusted and some brake blocks were renewed. The wagons were carefully inspected from beneath to ensure a safe operation on the Harvest Festival. The handbrakes were tested and a vacuum brake test was done on each wagon. After the inspection, a roadworthy certificate is written out for each wagon used in the train consists for the weekend.

The passenger coaches also came in for brake adjustments and some brake blocks were needed to be replaced. They also were carefully inspected and a vacuum brake test was done on each. These activities are done prior to each event or train trip and are to ensure the safe running of trains on the Sandstone Steam Railway.
Wagon Rebuilds

Another three B wagons were converted to FZ wagons this week. Arno and Henk fitted the wooden sides while Derrick did all the welding of the channel iron on the wagons. Here are photos of the wagon conversions this week.

Special foam was ordered that will be used to seal the doors and the gaps between the wood and the wagon sides.
Class NGG 16 number 153 was steamed this week after she was fitted with new piston rings. She was tested to Grootdraai and back.
The rest of the locomotives were prepared for the Harvest weekend and all the of cut wood from the B wagons conversions were placed into the fireboxes of the locomotives. Class NGG 16 number 113 will be used on the train trip to Grootdraai on old year evening. For me there is no better pace to be than on the footplate of a Steam Locomotive on 12 o’clock the 31st of December. Steaming all the way into the New Year.
Weed Spraying

Jacob and Petrus did the weed spraying this week using the little Funky Diesel locomotive. They sprayed the line between Hoekfontein and Grootdraai as well as Hoekfontein to Vailima Halt as far as the Farm School. Jacob is a very responsible person and takes great care of this little locomotive. This weed train will be scheduled for each third week. Here is Jacob, a very proud driver on his Locomotive while working the weed train.

Goldfields Track ballast the 3’6” storage line behind the Waenhuis and tamped the line. Next week we shall start moving the goods wagons from Kommandonek to this storage line. Two stop blocks will be fitted at both ends of the 50 metre storage line.

Len Alberts finished the foundations needed for the water softeners at all the water columns. We shall fit the softeners into the softener houses early in the New Year. The use of the water softeners will minimize scale inside the boilers by removing all the unwanted salts from the water that we use on the locomotives. Most boiler defects are caused by scale and that is why these water softeners are essential to preserve the boilers. We wash out the boilers after each 7th steaming day. We however shall wash out the boilers frequently despite the influence the softeners will have.


Jacob slashed the grass this week with our own tractor. He also cut the grass at both sides of the Railway line to Grootdraai.
From the Past

Above is a Class 23 pulling out of Vetrivier Station in the late 1960’s. Electrification to this line did not end the Steam operations on the Bloemfontein to Kroonstad Mainline. A daily workers train was scheduled each day between Bloemfontein and Brandford and lasted till the mid 1980’s as well as all the 15F’s in Kroonstad that were taken to Bloemfontein for the 15M. The Class 19D based at Theunissen was exchanged every two weeks for wash out purposes. Then there were two 15F locomotives that worked in Virginia and Hennenman.

The last of these Steam operations were the Virginia based Class 15F’s and they were withdrawn from service on 29th of September 1990. The last 15 F to work the Virginia to Glen Harmony branch was number 3119. This last day on Steam was not the best we had, we only had enough coal on the 23 Class tender to get us in Kroonstad. To make it an unforgettable day, the mechanical stoker broke down and I had to trim the coal from the rear corners on the 23 Class tender to the shovel plate and then from there to the firebox. The driver was travelling 100km/h and the F was roaring all the time. A sad and unforgettable day. 3119 was one of the five 15F’s that performed shunting in the Kroonstad shunting yards till the end of October that same year and is now facing the torch after all the faithful service she gave to Spoornet.
The Christmas"Braai"

Friday afternoon all the Sandstone Estates workers came into the Christmas feeling and we all gathered at the Waenhuis for a “Braai” We all enjoyed it and want to thank Uncle Wilfred Mole for making this possible. We really appreciate it.

Below: The Christmas Braai.


1.) To wash out stationary boilers
2.) To foam all B wagons for the Harvest
3.) To offload 2” wagons from Ratanga Junction
4.) To offload Goods wagon from Kommandoneck
5.) To shunt all consists ready for the Harvest festival
6.) To get the gardening perfect
7.) To inspect all locomotives over the put and to fill the boilers
8.) To do rail inspection prior to the Harvest Festival.
9.) To prepare Stationary and Traction engines.

Steam Greetings,