Subject: SANDSTONE STEAM RAILWAY; Restoration of steam crane at Bloemfontein
Whilst on a quick and short visit to South Africa recently, I visited the Bloemfontein locomotive depot and was permitted to view the restoration work being conducted by Lucas Nel and his team. It was interesting to see NG16 #88 being so lovingly and meticulously restored. I look back with fondness at the times I fired her at Port Shepstone and some of the various incidents that occurred in the normal life of a locomotive.
Also, Lucas and the steam team should be justifiably proud of their work on 19D #2654.
It was interesting to see the brace of 0-6-0 tank locomotive sub assemblies and components ex Angola slowly progressing.
And the steam crane, with its boiler starting to look the part. So interesting to see the chalked annotations on the steelwork. It is starting to look more like a machine than a potential refrigerator. Such a different "steam machine". And to see the structure and internals of a "vertical" boiler made a lot of explanations of their workings of a boiler, just so much simpler when the "innards " can be seen.
The other thing I subtly noticed with appreciation was the team's attention to safety. Good work and keep it up.
I would like to thank Sandstone for allowing me to view progress. Attached please find 2 photographs taken by my son – in- law Gerhard Schourie of Welkom during the visit we made to your and Transnet's facilities at Bloemfontein.
Although I thanked everyone on leaving I would be grateful if you could formally please pass on to Lucas and his team, my congratulations on jobs well done.