3ft 6" Cape Gauge

Sandstone Heritage Trust South African Railways Class 19D

the last steam locomotive in full commercial service in South Africa

In September 2015 the last steam locomotive in full commercial service in South Africa, 19D Saaicor No 3, dropped its fire for the last time and ended 155 years of steam operation in South Africa. Click here to read more

Sandstone Heritage Trust South African Railways

Sandstone Heritage Trust South African Railways

3688 was acquired by the Sandstone Heritage Trust in 2016 after it was removed from the Transnet National Collection and earmarked for disposal. As the locomotive was at Bloemfontein and in good condition it made good sense to acquire her to avoid the locomotive being scrapped. - Click here to read more

Sappi-Saaicor 19D donated to Sandstone.

Ex SAR 19D, Sappi no 2, has been donated to Sandstone by Sappi from the Saaicor Mill at Umkomaas in Kwa Zulu Natal. The Unkomaas Mill was the last industrial steam operation in South Africa and introduced diesel operation in 2015. The 19D, which was SAR no 2633, was built by Skoda as works number 928 of 1938 and is one of only fifteen 19D’s built by this manufacturer. Planning is now underway to relocate the locomotive to Sandstone’s Eastern Free State base where the locomotive will be initially plinthed and examined for possible future restoration.

Class 4AR 1555.

The first phase of the cosmetic restoration of 1555 is nearing conclusion with the locomotive now painted together with the tender tank. The painting of the tender frame is nearly complete. Our final picture shows some of the extremely rusted boiler cladding and other components that will need to be replaced when the Transnet tender for Phase 2 of the restoration to final assembly is awarded.

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4AR Number 1555 Cosmetic Restoration for Transnet

While the work on the NG10 continues, the team working on the 4AR, number 1555 for Transnet are making good progress with the locomotive and tender now stripped and cleaned and the application of the red ochre preservative paint starting to be applied.

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4AR number 1555

Work continues at Bloemfontein on Phase 1 of the cosmetic restoration of this loco for Transnet. After stripping the locomotive as in our last report  attention is now concentrated on descaling the various components. Our pictures from Lukas Nel show work on the cab, tender tank and boiler.

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The restoration of Class 4AR

The restoration of Class 4AR number 1555 foe Transnet Foundation.

The locomotive and tender have now been completely stripped and the cleaning process has begun. With bitterly cold temperatures in Bloemfontein an impromptu boiler has been set up for warmth!

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4AR number 1555

Work has now begun on the stripping and cleaning of the second locomotive for the Transnet tender at Bloemfontein. The 1913 North British built 4AR locomotive number 1555 awaits its place in the new museum at Bloemfontein after spending over 30 years in storage. As can be seen from our pictures it is much poorer condition than the NZASM “B” tank recently completed. Some damage is evident on the running boards plus serious corrosion to the cladding.

The locomotive has been separated from its tender which has been fitted with new bearings and axle box keeps and covers. The cab has been removed and our pictures show the deterioration of the cladding and the generally poor condition of 1555. Not surprising after so long in open air storage.

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Cosmetic Restoration of NZASM “B” number 230

The stripping, cleaning and painting of this locomotive is now complete at Bloemfontein. All the loose parts will now be safely secured. Another tender will be issued by Transnet shortly for the assembly and final painting of the locomotive.

A job well done by Lukas Nel and his team.

The crew will now move on to the other locomotive in the tender,4AR number 1555.

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A heavy day for 19D 2734!

We could not resist another shot by Dennis Moore from Loraine Gold Mine near Welkom. This is locomotive 2734 hauling twenty hoppers at the mine from a location called “The Hole” where the usual load was 10 hoppers.

To quote Dennis “Never have I seen a loco abused so much. Every rivet was straining; it made it, crawling past at about 2 mph. Some tremendous wheel slips; no wonder all their tyres were shot. When asked why he dragged twenty out instead of doing two hauls of ten wagons each, the Driver just laughed and said "it was more fun that way!

2734 was eventually purchased by Sandstone but scrapped some years ago as  “unrepairable” after all usable components were stripped from the loco. We can probably see why it was in such poor condition from the picture! Sadly mine locomotives suffered daily abuse which is probably why so few are ever restored to working order.

2734 has an interesting history though, in that the original 2734 was built in 1946 as works number 7247 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn but was lost at sea in the Thames Estuary during delivery. Number 2734 was a replacement for this engine but was built two years later in 1948 as works number 7360 and so was out of sequence with its sisters. It spent some of its life at Bloemfontein and then Klerksdorp from where it was withdrawn from service in 1989 and sold to Loraine.

Nevertheless sister Loraine loco, 1938 Krupp built, 2654, also saved by Sandstone survives today fully restored at Bloemfontein.

this is a big load for a 19D


19D 2654

One of Sandstone’s restored locos is the ex Lorraine Gold Mine 19D number 2654. The loco is in storage at the Sandstone Bloemfontein facility under the care of Lukas Nel.

Dennis Moore photographed 2654 at Lorraine on the 22 November 1997 and sent us this short gallery from his books, “Golden Steam” and “Lorraine Gold Mine”

Dennis remarked on the pics: “As it happens this was the very last occasion on which I saw 2654 in steam.  I hope one day, I will renew acquaintance with 2654”.

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Kommando Nek siding locos.

Kommando Nek siding locos

We have done some cosmetics on our 3’6” gauge locos at Kommando Nek. Click here to read the PDF

15F 3052 “Avril”

Here are further photos of the repairs currently being carried out on Class 15F No. 3052.

The locomotive gauges have been recalibrated. The brake ejector, hydrostatic lubricator, Fireman’s side delivery pipes and Fireman side blow down drum have all been refitted and the Annual Boiler Inspection was done on Friday 28th July. The locomotive passed its visual inspection and will be steam tested later this week. A test run, double headed with 15F 3046 is tentatively planed for Saturday 5th August.

Further pictures show, renewed pipe work to replace that ripped off in the derailment, the tender frames being straightened and welded where cracked and the boiler number restamped into the dome and cover following recommendation by the Boiler Inspector.

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Celebrity 15F number 3052

Celebrity 15F number 3052, “Avril”, has been moved from Friends of the Rail in Pretoria after its derailment in March on the Cullinan branch. The locomotive is now undergoing repairs from some accident damage as well as the replacement of some fire grate sections.

The motion has been reassembled, a replacement cow catcher has been fitted and the damaged fire grate sections are in the process of being replaced. The cowcatcher once secured will be primed and painted. The cab gauges have been removed for recalibration and arrangements have been made for the annual boiler inspection to be completed next week.

Our pictures from Reefsteamers show the replacement cowcatcher being fitted, work on the replacement grate and the motion reassembled afte it was removed for the tow from Pretoria.
Following boiler certification the locomotive will be kept at Reefsteamers for the foreseeable future and will be used on their tourist excursions from Johannesburg.

The new Cowcatcher

A new arrival at Sandstone, Caboose 14898.

Similar to our Type ZO-5 Caboose14856 at the locomotive depot, 14898 is of the smaller ZO-6 type being some four feet shorter overall than the ZO-5. The main difference being a reduction in accommodation by two to six people. 14898 was offered for disposal by Transnet in 2016 at Golele near the Swaziland border. Sandstone successfully bid for the coach which was in remarkably good mechanical condition, despite standing out of use for a number of years, although the interior had been vandalised. After the simple replacement of one brake pipe and repacking and oiling the bearings, 14898 was railed from Golele to Vailima Siding in April 2017.
It was then lifted off rail onto road transport bogies and moved to the Sandstone complex and remounted on rail and positioned behind 10CR 771 next to Hoekfontein Station.

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