SANDSTONE STEAM LOCOMOTIVES
RATANGA GARRATT LOCOMOTIVE RESTORATION:
This week we made huge progress with the cosmetic upgrading of the Garratt locomotive for Ratanga Junction. All the driving wheel axle boxes were cleaned and all the old axle box wool were removed and replaced with new soaked wool. The boxes then were fitted back onto the driver axles. The next step was to fit the wheels back into the engine unit frames. With our 10ton Forklift, it was no problem. We aligned the wheels and spaced them the required distances from each other and slowly let the unit frame down to allow the boxes to slide in-between horns in the frame. This needs a good eye and proper alignment and to ease the operation, the wedges were loosened and adjusted down to wider the gap between the horns.
After we fitted the three driver wheels into the frame, we secured the horn stays to allow us to lift the complete engine frame again to fit the pony wheels. The same was done with the second engine unit. While we were busy fitting the wheels, Menasse and his team sandblasted the tank and bunker of the units. The tank and the bunker then was spray painted and fitted onto the units. The engine springs were fitted and the motion prepared to be fitted as well. Both the cowcatchers were removed and were taken into the workshop for proper repairs.
Below left: Menasse and team fitting back the cleaned brass boxes.
Below right: The horns were greased before the wheels with boxes were fitted back.

Below: The cleaned driving wheel axle box with keep to accommodate axle box wool.
Below: Our 10ton Forklift in action lifting the frames to fit the wheels back.
Below: Fitting back the wheels.
Below: Once the frame was lowered close enough, we could align the wheels and boxes to fit in-between the horns.
Below: The fitting of the pony wheels.
Below: The sandblasted tank and bunker, ready to be spray-painted.
Below left. The sprayed tanks in the back and our team cleaning the motion and spares.
Below right: Moving the wheels for the second engine unit.
Below: The unit with its wheels, shunted out of the way and the first wheels arrived where we were to fit the second unit frame onto its wheels.
Below: The second units with her wheels in, awaits her tank to be fitted.
Both the tank and the bunker was fitted and then shunted to the front of the shed, ready for the motion to be fitted.
Below left; Ben repaired the first cowcatcher. The second cowcatcher needs the most attention and will be done in next week.
Below right: Arno and Henry fitted back all the motion to the first unit this week. We hope to have the second unit motion fitted back completely in next week. New headlights will be fitted too.
The cowcatchers will be fitted back in next week and both buffer beams will be painted red. The cylinder lagging will be fitted back as well as the motion of the second unit. The boiler and cab will be moved to the shed in next week and will be sandblasted. Old lagging will be removed and new lagging plates will be fitted onto the boiler. We first will fit the cab before sandblasting the boiler part of this locomotive.
Below: Arno and Henry, fitting back the connecting rod.
Below: Almost complete unit in front of the Hoekfontein Shed.
 
THE LOCOMOTIVES FROM RANDWATER BOARD:
We await the arrival of two locomotives from the Randwater Board and had to extend our existing storage line near the Shed. Terry did the earthmoving that was needed while we built the panels to fit.
Below Left: The completed earthmoving. We moved the DZ on the right side away to use the two panels it was standing on. The DZ then was moved onto the main storage line.
Below: The building of the panels to extend the storage line.
Below: The rail panels were moved and fitted to extend the line.
The line was then lifted and packed with ballast.
The DZ was moved from the two panels and this two panels were added onto the main storage line.
We then moved away the locomotive driver wheels behind the North British Tank locomotive and stabled them aside. They will be placed back onto the storage line after we offloaded the locomotives from Johannesburg. The DZ then was moved onto the main storage line and was shunted behind the Tank locomotive.
Our Next mission was to extend this line closer to the 3’6” Peckett locomotives to enable us to lift them onto the rails Both Locomotives were pulled onto the rails and were shunted to the back of the Dz wagon.
Below: A neat line of locomotives all together on one line.
To enable us to offload the locomotives from Johannesburg, we had to make a panel with an incline rail end. We have one that we use with the 2 foot locomotives and this one will come in handy with our 3’6” locomotive offloading.
THE BSA RAILCAR
This week Derrick finished the fitting of plates onto the new doorframes of the BSA. The doors still needs much attention to the finishing touches. Derrick started with the running board and the mudguards on the left side of the BSA.
Below: Illustrations of the newly made doors on the BSA.
Once he is finish with all the steelwork on the BSA, he will start with the professional final touches and finally the spray painting of the BSA.
SIGNALS:
Ben upgraded the paintwork on three signals, all-similar as in the photo below. These signals will be placed on display in the Hoekfontein Station. Our two big Semaphore signals were moved closer and restoration begun. Both will be finished by the end of next week. This two will be fitted at Vailima. Two Home signals for Vailima will come to the shed for restoration once this two are finished.
THE ESCAPE ROUTE TO A NEW SAFE LIFE!
Once she ruled this line, storming up and down. Never did she know that this would one day be her escape route from the jaws of fire that almost killed her soul. Between her dying sister locomotives, she slowly crawled out, rescued almost on the last second. Class 15 F number 3007 was towed by a 34-class diesel locomotive to the Durban harbor on her way back to her place of birth.
Below: A sad end for one of her sister 15F’s in Bloemfontein.
Number 3007 on her escape route. She was captured between Ficksburg and Sekonyela last Friday.
She made a brief stop at Vailima on her way to Bethlehem. I could not miss to capture her beautiful face, shining with happiness. It is hard to believe that they can kill such magnificent machines. I was happy and sad at once, relived that she was saved but also grieved about all the lost ones for ever gone!
OUTLOOK FOR NEXT WEEK

* To fit back motion of second Garratt unit.
* To repair cowcatchers and fit them to units.
* To spray units second coat, paint buffer beams red.
* To move Boiler for cosmetic upgrade
* To strip lagging of boiler and to sandblast and spray boiler and frame.
* To offload Locomotives from Johannesburg.
* To move wagons from Komandonek to the farm.
* BSA restoration.
* To restore two semaphore signals.
* To erect three restored signals in Hoekfontein Station.
* To finish paintwork in shed.
* Arno and Henry in class for Crane training.