3ft 6" Cape Gauge

Barclay Tank Engine and Bessinger diesel relocated to Sandstone Estates

Two locomotives from the abandoned Ficksburg Loco site, namely our Barclay Tank Engine and our Bessinger Diesel, have been relocated to Sandstone Estates.


Sandstone's GMAM has an exercise session in November

On 6th November 2010 Sandstone's GMAM hauled a 16 coach train for Reefsteamers to Magaliesberg.

Andre Van Dyk reports as follows:

This weekend 6 November my Dad and I had the opportunity to be the driver/fireman on the inbound trip from Magaliesburg with the GMAM.

I firstly was impressed when Shaun (outbound driver) had to make a stop on the steepest gradient in the section between Magaliesburg and Vlakdrift, and then pick up the load of 16 coaches with not even slipping. If this was a 15F we would need to push back to Magaliesburg station.


During this week we built 70 meter of 3’6” track panels to extend the storage line at the Coal stage as well as to lay track into the new shed from Town that was moved recently. Before we lay them we needed the panels to load the smaller locomotives in Town that was moved to the Farm this week. The large locomotives will be moved to Kommandonek siding during the Cherry Festival with the use of the Reefsteamers locomotives.

Gert Jubileus has submitted his latest weekly report. 


Click here to view - 1MB PDF (opens in a new window)

Reefsteamers Special - GMAM No. 4079

Sandstone's GMAM, No. 4079, will be showing smaller locos how it is done by hauling a full 600 passenger train for Reefsteamers on 6th November from Johannesburg to Magaliesburg.

Should anyone wish to see this magnificent machine in operation please contact Les Smith whose details appear below.  Better still, why not book on a forthcoming Reefsteamers trip to Magaliesburg.

For further details contact Les Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel: +27 011 478-7787.


Andrew King – Reefsteamers (left), and Wilfred Mole – Sandstone Heritage Trust



Last week a team visited the Chamdor site in Krugersdorp and provided us with a report on their visit.


Click here to view the report - 4MB PDF (opens in a new window)

Gert Jubileus has also submitted a follow-up report on his initial visit.


Click here to view the report - 915KB PDF (opens in a new window)

RN 165 - A day to remember - by C.A. Janisch

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

Read the reply from John Ashwell - "RE: A day to remember - by John Ashworth" >>

16th May 2006

On Thursday 27 April 2006 it was dark, chilly and misty as fellow Pretorian Henry Lazenby and myself headed south towards the Free State to witness a special day of steam. The railway maestro himself David Shepherd along with Sandstone were hosting a series of runs with the artist's 15F 3052 "Avril" stationed at Ficksburg. Having never seen steam operate over this section and with future prospects for steam trains here rather bleak this was a chance not to be missed. We broke through the mist near Bethlehem and were soon heading towards Fouriesburg, the rising sun glinting gold off the sandstone cliffs. Around 9am we arrived in the sleepy hollow of Ficksburg, a sharp right turn bringing us into the station. Hearts skipped a beat as we saw 3052 shrouded in steam at the head of her consist. Swinging on board I greeted the intrepid FOTR train crew of Cliff Petzer, Mike Haslam, John Ashworth, John Dadford and Kobus Steyn. All was well on the footplate, the grumbling stoker warming her up and the crew mingling with the diffusing steam as they fussed over the loco.

RN 59 - Sandstone Garratt moves to Rovos Rail

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 59 - Sandstone's Garratt moves to Rovos Rail

Sandstone Heritage trust has concluded negotiations with Rovos Rail which will see its GMAM garratt hauling Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa trains in the Pretoria area.
GMAM Garratt no. 4079 was built by Beyer Peacock at their Gorton, Manchester, works in 1956, works no. 7677, one of a batch of 35 which SAR ordered in December 1955, 12 of which were contracted out to the North British Locomotive Co. of Glasgow in order to meet very tight delivery dates.


The GMAM locomotives were fairly advanced for their time having Commonwealth Cast Steel Beds and bogie frames and roller bearings on all axles. Welding was employed extensively in the firebox construction and mechanical lubrication was provided to many places. In order to keep weight down the main water supply was carried in an auxiliary tank.
Having a light axle load they found widespread use around the system in particular on lines from Mason's Mill in Natal, at Worcester in the Western Cape and on the Vryburg to Mafeking line. Other strongholds were the Eastern Cape for the Montagu and Lootsberg passes and the Eastern Transvaal lines from Waterval Boven and Breyten to Vryheid in Natal. Some were even hired to Zimbabwe and Mozambique during times of motive power shortages in these neighbouring countries.

On completion of its SAR service 4079 was purchased by Randfontein Estates Gold Mine and became part of their large fleet of similar locomotives. Following the dieselization of most of the system the locomotive fleet was stored at the locomotive depot until 1997 when Sandstone Heritage Trust purchased three locomotives 4079, 4088 and 4114. 4079 was in the best condition and was overhauled by the ex REGM foreman and other Sandstone staff at the REGM workshop, the work being completed in 1998 when the locomotive was steamed to its new Eastern Free State home at Ficksburg.
Since then it has seen little use and is in excellent condition. Rather than just let it deteriorate it is being transferred to the Rovos Rail headquarters at Capital Park in Pretoria and after boiler certification, mechanical inspection and repainting in Rovos Rail corporate colours it will haul the Pride of Africa in the Pretoria area and become a worthy stablemate to the Rovos Rail 25NC, 19Ds and 6 Class.

82 - South African Railways Class 15F 4-8-2

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News
<< Back to Locomotive information and galleries

South African Railways Class 15F 4-8-2

Updated - 15th May 2006

This class of locomotive was the most numerous on South African Railways with 255 built by various manufacturers between 1938 and 1948. Included was an order to Beyer Peacock in 1944 whereby, the then Minister of Transport, the Hon. FC Sturrock, journeyed to Britain to make representations to the British Government for the order to be accepted when loco manufacturers were concentrating on munitions and the war effort.

83 - South African Railways Class 19D 4-8-2

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News
<< Back to Locomotive information and galleries

Updated - 15th May 2006

Next to the ubiquitous Class 15F, with 255 examples, the Class19D, with 235 units built, is probably the best known of all South African engines. Designed as a branch line locomotive, the 19D was the last development of the 19 series which began with four locomotives ordered in 1928.

The 16CR Story - Pacific's from the past!

The 16CR Story - Pacific's from the past!

Sandstone’s 16CR has attracted quite a lot of publicity recently, particularly from Model makers.

Gert Jubileus has produced a nostalgic review of our loco.

The evidence of their existence is slowly fading away but never will the good old memories of spending years and years on their footplates.



Click here to view the article - 1MB PDF (opens in a new window)


Detailed update on Sandstone Heritage Trust Class 25NC 3488 'Enchantress'

Detailed update on Sandstone Heritage Trust Class 25NC 3488 'Enchantress'


Sandstone Heritage Trust 25NC, No. 3488 has a fascinating history. It is a premier example of its class. It is currently located at Reefsteamers Germiston but it is not in day-to-day operation, although it is in good condition.

Our sincere thanks to Lee Gates and to Richard Niven for putting this together. It would be great if every working steam loco in SA had an accurate and concise summary of its background in this format.


Click here to view the report - 753KB PDF (opens in a new window)

Free State Explorer

Heritage - Rail - News

Free State Explorer

11th February 2008


To coincide with the Sandstone Heritage Trust Steam and Cosmos Festival from 9th to 13th April 2008, Steam in Action will be running a special train from Johannesburg to Ficksburg and return for members to attend this event.

The train will be double headed by Class 15F No:3052 "Avril" owned by world renowned wild life artist, conservationist and steam enthusiast, David Shepherd, and Class 15F No: 3016 from Reefsteamers. SIA members are encouraged to be "hands on" on this trip as, during the stopover at Ficksburg, the locomotives will be used to bring two 25NC locomotives from Bethlehem to Ficksburg. The two locos are under threat of being scrapped at Bethlehem and will be relocated to Sandstone's Ficksburg facility for safekeeping.

Download the full newsletter as a single PDF document...

PDF Free State Explorer Overview - 380kb PDF (opens in a new window)
PDF Free State Explorer Details and Pricing - 290kb PDF (opens in a new window)
PDF New Explorer Details - 210kb PDF (opens in a new window)

RN 212 - GMAM No 4079 currently working at Rovos Rail on lease

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 212 - GMAM no 4079 currently working at Rovos Rail on lease


GMAM No 4079 currently working at Rovos Rail on lease was restored by Graham Strydom and his team at Randfontein Estates Gold Mine in 1997. These pictures show the locomotive during various stages of the restoration. This locomotive was featured on a special carte blanche programme by Derek Watts who drew attention to the steady decline of the South African Railway network and in particular the destruction of locomotives and rolling stock that was taking place.


RN 247 - Carriage refurbishment programme continues.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News RN 247 - Carraige refurbishment programme continues 14th September 2006 The Sandstone Heritage Trust has over many years collected both carriages and freight wagons. Here are four steel mainline 1st and 2nd class and 3rd class steel sitter carriages that are being restored by a subcontractor. Our picture shows Len Huxham (right) and his team who do an excellent job of waterproofing and restoring carriages to a sound state. It is difficult to find sufficient covered storage to cover all our Cape Gauge freight and passenger stock so we tend to concentrate on making sure that they are water tight in a good presentational condition.

RN 159 - Sandstone takes a train ride with Reefsteamers

Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News 3rd March 2006 Saturday the 29th April saw the Sandstone Heritage Trust team ride the wider rails of Spoornet on the Reefsteamers special to Bethal for the Potato Festival. The trip was the inaugural run of Class 25NC no: 3472, "Anne", after extensive boiler repairs done entirely by Reefsteamers at their facility in the old Germiston steam depot. Double heading with Class 15F no: 3016, no: 3472 performed faultlessly and effectively hauled the entire 12 coach train single handed. Sandstone Heritage Trust trustee, Wilfred Mole, rode on the footplate of 3472 to Bethal, thoroughly enjoying the experience as the adjoining photo shows!