THE SANDSTONE STEAM RAILWAY
This week we steamed our Class NG 15 Number 17 for a visit from preschool children from local Schools. The Class NG 15 was showing off with all she had. Very early on this cold winter morning we shunted out number 17 and prepared her for this passenger train to Grootdraai and back. Not only was she steamed for the occasion, but also to steam test her to log all the repairs needed to attend to.
NG 15 just outside the Hoekfontein Steam Shed.
The NG 15 was ready in the Hoekfontein Station at 08H30 on Wednesday morning and she was so happy to steam again that it was difficult keeping her from blowing off every few minutes. Excited children arrived at the Hoekfontein Station and all stared at this beautiful machine. The children boarded the train and the whistle blew to acknowledge the right away from Ben Kruger, our Guard.
Slowly the train starts moving out of the Hoekfontein Station on its journey to Grootdraai. Excited children waved goodbye and the train left a cloud of smoke and steam tail hanging over the farm.
After returning to Hoekfontein, the NG 15 joined the little children for a picnic and group photos were taken in front of this majestic locomotive. When I looked at the children, I realised that they are our enthusiasts of tomorrow and without train rides like this; we won’t be able to gain their interest in Steam Locomotives. Steam is sadly dying mostly because of the lack of interest the absence of their existence.
For these little children, this day will not ever be forgotten.
SANDSTONE LOCOMOTIVE NEWS!
Our Hunslet Diesel Locomotive arrived on the Estates after months of service in Port Shepstone. The Hunslet was offloaded at Vailima Siding last Monday and will receive special attention to her cosmetics and will be serviced.
Below Left: The Huslet arrived at Vailima!
Below Right: The Hunslet was loaded on a rail panel that easily lines up with the rails at Vailima Siding.
Below: The rail panels being secured with fishplates.
The Hunslet was taken to the Shed and right away over the inspection pit for brake adjustment and a oil change. New fan belts were fitted and she will receive a new coat of paint in next week.
Below Left: The Hunslet, finally home!
Below Right: The Hunslet on the inspection pit.
THE CLASS 10CR
This week we started with the moving of the 10CR standing in the Hoekfontein Station. Next week we are moving all the wagons from Kommandonek to this 3’6” storage line and therefore it was needed to turn the 10CR around, facing chimney first in Hoekfontein Station with all the wagons behind her.
First of all we had to move the 10CR two panels forward to brake up the line now behind her.
Below: Derrick posing in front of the 10Cr before she was moved!
Below: A huge Case Tractor was needed to move this Giant Locomotive.
Below: We braked up the line behind the 10 CR and build a temporary line onto the Polo field.
The curves needed to be aligned very carefully and the first 15 meters of line was supported with wooden sprigs. The inner sides of the rails then was greased to assist the locomotive around the curves and to limit the friction to the wheel flanges. The knuckles on the front and rear buffer were removed to accommodate a bulbar to couple the locomotive to the tractor. Our Lady was oiled to loosen her joints and her journey begun. Because of limited space to build a proper triangle, we had to be patient, turning her 3 meters to the side by a time.Below: Photos of the 10 CR on her journey!
Below left: Derrick greasing the inner sides of the outer curve.
Below right: As soon as the 10CR was cleared from the mainline, the track behind the coaches was connected.
Below: The Case pulled the seven Passenger coaches out of Hoekfontein to the front of the storage line.
Below: By the end of the day, she was almost 90 degrees!
Early the next morning we started with the slow turning process of the 10Cr, now only turning her with 50 meters of rail. Once she was on the one end of the line, we curved the 30 meters behind her.
Below: The 10Cr well on her way to pull chimney first into the Hoekfontein Station.
Below: Our great looking 10Cr almost turned around 180 degrees. We loosened the fishplates on the mainline and started with the building of the temporary line to connect to the 50 meter line that turned the 10Cr. We now must cut a panel to the correct length and will insert it between the Mainline and temporary track before the last forward move onto the Hoekfontein 3’6” mainline.
SANDSTONE WAGONS

THE RATANGA WAGON
This week Ben fitted the last planks to the sides of the Ratanga wagon wagon and made steel supports for the wagon steps. He then used wood to fit inside the window frames for a proper finish.
In next week he will finish the inside of this wagon and will sand it to perfection.
Below: The steel supports for the wagon steps.
Below left: The inside of the Ratanga wagon with wooden window frames.
Below right: The side planks and angle iron to support the wooden floor.
Once the wagon is sanded and varnished, the rest of this wagon will receive paint touch up. The under frame restoration is complete and this wagon will come over the pit for brake adjustment and a vacuum brake test will be done.
GENERAL
This week we loaded three locomotives that will depart on their journey to restoration. These locomotives were loaded on flat wagons inside the Wagon shed and then shunted out to a place to load them onto the low bed truck that will depart on Sunday to Bloemfontein restoration works.
Below: Three locomotives loaded onto Narrow gauge flat wagons.
Our Green Roller was stripped of its chimney and roof and was loaded into a container this week.
Below: Derrick loosening the chimney and roof of the Roller.
TRACK MAINTENANCE
This week we serviced the points at Vailima siding and oiled the T bolts from the level crossing into the siding.
Below: Derrick servicing the points and a photo of the oiled T bolts.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE TRAINS GONE?

Bongwana, or what is left of it?
A little station on the narrow gauge line between Port Shepstone and Harding. It was a sad sight this week when I discovered this little station between the bushes. The last time I spent three hours but could not find it. Once there were trains running up and down this line, serving the community. This surely was a water stop for the trains, looking at the huge water tank situated South of the platform.

Below left: The water tower at Bongwana.
Below right: A column on the mainline can be seen just left of the waiting room roof.
Below left: A wagon hidden between the bushes.
Below right: The stop block. The Sandstone bakkie is standing on the mainline, buried under the ground.
Maybe this Station was once the pride of a Station Master?

Below: Harding Station. A vegetable garden is grown where the mainlines used to be.
PLANNING FOR NEXT WEEK

1.) To move the 10CR onto the mainline
2.) To shunt the passenger coaches behind the 10CR
3.) To move wagons from Komandonek to the storage lines at Hoekfontein Station.
4.) To go on with the restoration of the Ratanga wagon.
5.) To go on with the restoration of the Flat wagon 151
6.) To do repairs on the locomotives to be used on the David Rodger tour.
7.) To shunt un-restored wagons from Hoekfontein Station to the new storage line.
8.) To shunt consists ready for David Rodger tour.
9.) To roadworthy wagons on the consists and to adjust their brakes.
10.) To load consists.
11.) To fill all water columns for tour.
12.) To paint NG4 black.
13.) Track maintenance in Hoekfontein Station.
14.) To upgrade cosmetics on Hunslet Diesel Locomotive.

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