At a time when main line steam in South Africa sits in a crisis over its future, the outlook for 2ft narrow gauge preservation looks better and better as Sandstone has increased its refurbishment capacity at its Bloemfontein facility under the direction of Lukas Nel and his team.

No less than four locomotives are to be moved from Hoekfontein for total restoration with a fifth locomotive being moved for some engineering updates.

The largest loco to move is NGG16 no: 88 (Cockerill 1936/3268). Of the four examples built by this manufacturer Sandstone has three while the fourth example, no: 87, is under restoration at the Welsh Highland Railway in the UK. Number 88 was purchased from a private owner, having worked on the now defunct Alfred County Railway in southern Kwa-Zulu Natal before being set aside.

Three ex- Angola O&K sugar estate locomotives are also to be put into the restoration queue. All are currently 500mm gauge but have their wheels keyed to the axles so that they can easily be regauged to 600mm.

The locomotives are:
0-6-0T O & K 1925 11112
0-6-0T O & K 1930 12140
0-6-0T O & K 1934 12493

The fifth locomotive is also from Angola and has already been restored and regauged to 600mm but requires some engineering work that will be best achieved in Bloemfontein.

The locomotive is an 0-4-0T O&K (1922/10311) from the same sugar estate as the three 500mm locos.
This initiative to put more locomotives back into working order demonstrates Sandstone’s total commitment to 2ft narrow gauge preservation in South Africa and the organisation’s faith in Lukas Nel and his Bloemfontein team.
All photos below courtesy of Errol Ashwell
No. 88 is serviced at Etosha during its time on the Alfred County Railway.
Taking water
At Port Shepstone
No. 88 running around her train