Bloemfontein Shed

Sandstone Heritage Trust, Bloemfontein workshops.

Although Sandstone is reasonably well known as a destination it is less well known that we operate a major locomotive refurbishment programme at our Bloemfontein workshops. This is located in the old Steam Depot which was the home of constant Steam activity for many decades.

Work continues at the Bloemfontein Shed - Update on Avonside Number 1624

It looks like another great effort in producing an original Narrow Gauge loco for the Sandstone Steam Railroad.

The photos below shows the progress being made regarding the rebuild of this locomotive.


The Bloemfontein Team

The Bloemfontein Team do a wonderful job of restoring and rebuilding Narrow Gauge locomotives.

Here's a recent picture of the Bloemfontein team in their new uniforms.


The Bloemfontein team comprises Lukas, Anna, Leon, Tinus, Isak, Gertude, Simon, Manual, and John.

The Sandstone Bloemfontein Works – an unpublicised and relatively unknown success story.

Lukas Nel and his team have been working for over 10-years now restoring locomotives. More than 20 locomotives have been rebuilt from scratch, many of them in such parlous condition that very few people would even take on the work.

The photographs below give an idea of the area in which the work is carried out.

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Our Class 11, No. 929, receives TLC from Bloemfontein Works

Sandstone Estates is very proud to have been able to acquire the Class 11 locomotive, No. 929, from the North British Preservation Group in the UK. Fortunately the locomotive was already located adjacent to our Bloemfontein Works so being able to incorporate it into our work programme was simple.

Lukas Nel has sent us this photograph of the locomotive with the following comments:
“We still cleaning and paint our class 11. Still a long way to go.”


The Bloemfontein workshops takes time off from restoring steam engines.

Lukas Nel has sent us these two pictures of the pump trolley and wagons that are being built so that we can operate the railway line without the assistance of coal mines.

Lukas still has to add some supports and paint the trolleys to complete the project but as always it has been done well, been done quickly, and been done with flair. Well done Lukas and team!

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Pump Trolley

The Bloemfontein workshops are becoming very creative and have now commenced construction of a Pump Trolley. These are ubiquitous in Railway history circles and came in  many shapes and sizes.

We have struggled long and hard to find an original which has been partly successful.  We know of one but we have not been able to acquire it at this point so rather than wait any longer we are building our own. The basic chassis and wheels for a new one have already been sourced and we will keep our readers updated regarding the progress.

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O&K Locomotive, No. 12691

At the heart of every locomotive of course is its boiler.

The photos below show the state of the boiler for No. 12691. 
Most of the outside repairs are now done and work can start on the firebox end
tube plate next week.



Bloemfontein report on Avonside locomotive, No. 1624

An enormous amount of work is still being done on the boiler.  The photo below is of a boiler patch fitted to secure the safety valves.  This still needs to be riveted to the boiler and holes drilled to the studs to secure the safety valve as well as the supply hole.


O&K Locomotive, No. 12691, under restoration at Bloemfontein.


We tend to publish pictures on our web site of the work that Lukas Nel does very often showing work in progress which clearly indicates an advanced stage of repair of various components. In most cases we are actually rebuilding them completely.

Avonside locomotive boiler

Sandstone Heritage Trust's Bloemfontein workshop has received the tubes for the Avonside locomotive boiler  No. 1624, ex SANRASM. Lukas Nel has submitted some excellent photos of Izak expanding the tubes at the firebox tube-plate .

 In this photo we see  Isak swaging  the boiler tubes on the swage machine.