Gerts back!
Gert Jubilius has resumed his task as foreman of our running shed on the farm Hoekfontein at Sandstone Estates. We have all missed his popular reports which were always full of steam related action and happy memories. His assistant Derek Van Zyl handled this task while Gert was away... Thanks Derrick, you did well. Now both of them will contribute, which is a win for all!

This week we prepared Locomotives, wagons and tracks for a very special Edwardian event on the 20th April.

This week we really got head and heels into repairing minor problems on the NG 4, Feldbahn, Lawley, 153, and Little Bess.
We have removed the dome of the NG4 to enable us to seat the regulator valve that was slightly leaking through. The brakes were adjusted and minor steam leaks were repaired. The NG 4 was shunted to the inspection pit where we found a loose spring hanger on the left intermediate driver wheel. The locomotive was jacked and the spring hanger was secured again. The weights on the driver wheels were adjusted too.

Below: Arno Serfontein,taking a good look into the boiler of the NG4!
Below: Photos of the loose hanger and the collapsed spring. With the NG4 it is imposible to inspect the springs and hangers from the outside of the locomotive. The only way to inspect them is from below when she is standing on a inspection pit.
Below: Derrick van Zyl carefully jacked the NG4 to take off the weight of the wheels and springs.
First of all we removed the regulator and the gooseneck and then blanked off the internal steam pipe with a special made blank, equipped with a nozzle to fit an air pipe onto. We then filled the boiler and tested the internal steam pipe with compressed air.
After the repairs were done on the NG4, she was steamed and tested. The NG4 was used to perform shunting duties in the shed as well as shunting wagons for brake adjustments. She was also used to shunt all the locomotives to the coal shed to coal them.Below: The NG4 showing her eager to perform with blowing safety valves.
Henry and Derrick on the Loco shunt with the NG4
Below: The NG4 shunting locomotives to coal and consists ready for the Edwardian Express
The strongest and very reliable Locomotive in the Sandstone Steam fleet was shunted to the Inspection pit this week. Twelve new brake blocks were fitted to this locomotive and her brakes were adjusted. The wedges were adjusted and locked as well.
Below: Henk and Derrick assisting with the brake block change and repair work on number 153
The broken driver wheel spring was removed and a new spring was fitted.
Below: 153 awaits her spring toe be changed.
Below: Arno and Henry jacked the locomotive to release the tension on the springs.
After we have changed the spring on 153, we steamed her to shunt the locomotives to the new storage lines as well as to shunt 31 wagons from Mooihoek siding into this storage line.
Below: Photos taken of 153 shunting locomotives and wagons!

Below: 153 at Mooihoek siding just before departure with 15 freight wagons to the storage line near the Steam Shed. In the backdrop, the Kommandonek mountains.
Number 153 left a cloud of black smoke before charging the steep gradient to Hoekfontein Station.

We received assistance from our Bloemfontein Steam Team to help us with the repair work that was needed before the Edwardian weekend. Time was running out and we were happy to have more helping hands to finish in time. The Feldbahn was shunted to the pit and I inspected the locomotive with a inspection hammer. All the repairs were written down with white chalk on the frame of the locomotive and then the Bloemfontein Team followed the instruction on the frame to do all the repairs. After the repairs were done, the Feldbahn was steamed and tested. Our Bloemfontein Steam Team manned the Feldbahn and loved the experience of manning the locomotive.

Below: Photos taken of Leon and Thinus repairing the Feldbahn.
Below Left: Thinus performing stoker duties.
Below Right: The Feldbahn on a trial run in Hoekfontein Station.
Henry repaired the Simpson pump of the Feldbahn. Below is an action photo of the pump sucking water out of the bucket and back into it.

The Class NG4 and the Funky was used to shunt wagons from the wagon shed to the inspection pit for brake adjustments and a full vacuum brake test. A broken braking gear was found on our Guards Van and was replaced with a new one. Wagons numbers 52,67,184,185,2834,3178,2968,1976,3571,1746,3579,2819 and 1644 brakes were adjusted.

A wagon maintenance plan is being drawn up and will include the packing of boxes too. All the wagons will come in for a service on a weekly base till we have serviced all the mobile wagons
Below: A photo of the Fun key shunting the last two wagons to the pit for brake adjustments. The NG 4 shunted the rest the previous day and we were busy till late Thursday night.

A rail inspection was don prior to the Edwardian weekend and we found a half cork problem with point’s number 15 and we found broken fishplate bolts. All these problems were rectified and all level crossings were cleaned prior to the event.

The Wickham was used to spray the weeds over the entire Railway line this week.

Below: Derrick fixing the points at Vailima Halt.
Below left: The rectified half cork points, demonstrated perfect in the two photos below!
Above right: Broken fishplate bolts on the Mainline between Vailima and Vailima Halt.
Below: Derrick securing loose fishplate bolts.
Below: The Weed attack!
Finally the Steam Shed and all the locomotives were cleaned, a neat workshop is a Safe Workshop!