Railway Heritage

Latest Steam Report 15 May 2018

The latest steam report from the Steam Team at Sandstone

The latest steam report from the Steam Team at Sandstone - Click here to view

Photographic exhibition on May 24th

Sandstone has a long association with the James Hall Museum of Transport and they have extended an invite to all for a photographic exhibition on May 24th on the History of Trams in Johannesburg. Well worth a visit.

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NGG13 Number 49 Boiler Retube

The second of our Garratt locomotives to require retubing, NGG13 number 49, had had its boiler section split from the engine units and loaded on the Sandstone lowbed for transport to Reefsteamers in Germiston who have been contracted to do the retubing. Although we retubed NGG16 number 113 at Bloemfontein, the pressure is now on there to complete the NG10 number 61 hence we have contracted out the retube of 49.

The locomotive will arrive at Germiston on Tuesday 15th May with the repairs due to begin in June.

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NG10. Whereto the windows?

We have many photographs of NG10 number 61 in service in Port Elizabeth thanks to Leith Paxton who extensively photographed the narrow gauge system in the Eastern Cape in the late 50’s and 60’s. We also have, courtesy of Leith, a copy of the original Baldwin works photograph of number 61 as constructed. This clearly shows the fitment of a front window in the cab but after many years in service with the SAR this had been removed and plated over as the picture of number 61 at Humewood Road in 1961 shows. The theory is that this glass was very susceptible to breakage in service and was thus removed. Our decision is to fit the window as originally built to number 61, probably with tempered glass to avoid breakage from day to day knocks.

Class NG10 No.61 Humewood Rd Photo Leith Paxton Copy

NG10 - Fitting the running boards.

The NG10, being USA built, has a few quirks compared with the primarily European built locos used on the narrow gauge. One of these is the fitment of the running boards to the loco. On most engines these are mounted to the frames but on the NG10 they are attached directly to the boiler via large brackets. As the boiler is effectively new identifying the correct mounting points has been quite a task as our set of original drawings for the NG10 does not clearly cover this. However with the help of the many photographs we have of no 61 in service the problem has been overcome as our pictures show.

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Railway Safety Regulator Permit

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NG10 number 61 taking shape.

The boiler cladding has now been completed and fabrication of the cab floor and running plates is underway. The new cab frame has also been placed in position. Production of number 61’s number plates has also been set in motion together with the Baldwin works plates and the unique smokebox number plate originally fitted to this class in true American fashion. Our thanks go to Leith Paxton who provided the drawings for the works plates and smokebox plates.

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Update on the Restoration at Bloemfontein.

Good progress has been made on the cosmetic restoration of the ZASM “B” 0-6-04T number 230, “Jan Wintervogel”. The stripping of the locomotive has been completed together with the cleaning of the main components. Our pictures show the boiler and frames now completed and painted in red oxide together with the side tanks and the cab roof and cab coal bunker.

Work will now continue on a number of smaller parts from the locomotive that will be cleaned and stored for safekeeping.

Our last picture for interest shows number 230 at Waterval Boven station in 1998 while operating a tourist train down the line to Waterval Onder. Luckily 15F number 3094 was on hand to tackle the heavy gradients to bring the train back to Waterval Boven!

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NG10 number 61. On to the finish!

With the boiler now mounted and positioned correctly in the frames work has begun on fitting the lagging and cladding to the boiler together with the boiler rings. Our pictures show the final bolt hole being drilled for the boiler in the smoke box saddle, the boiler with the boiler rings and the first lagging in place plus one of the boiler rings.

The work schedule to complete the loco is as follows:


Fit main steam pipes and blast pipe.

Set valve timing

Fit all boiler mounts and cab fittings.

Fabricate new cab


Complete fabrication of new tender frame and fit new tank already completed.

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Restoration at Bloemfontein

Sandstone recently successfully bid for a Transnet tender to complete Phase 1 of the restoration of two locomotives at Bloemfontein which are destined for the Museum project there. These are ZASM “B” number 230, “Jan Wintervogel” built in 1898, originally from Waterval Boven and Class 4AR number 1555 of 1913 vintage from the Millsite compound. Phase 1 involves stripping the locomotives and thoroughly cleaning all parts before a protective coat of red oxide paint is applied. Work is progressing on the ZASM “B” with the cab and side tanks removed. The tanks have been cleaned and painted as the picture shows. The frames and boiler section will be attended to next. Number 1555 has been reunited with its tender which has had new bearings fitted together with new axle box covers. Once the work is completed on number 230 the team will start on number 1555 which is a much more extensive and bigger (literally) project.

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NGG16 number 113 29 March 2018

The boiler section of number 113 has now been returned to Sandstone where new superheater elements will be fitted by Gert Jubileus and his team. The Bloemfontein team under Lukas Nel will now concentrate on completing the restoration of NG10 number 61. The retube of NGG!# number 49 will be held over till later in the year.

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NGG16 number 113, the hydraulic test with a little help from the 19th century

The recently retubed number 113 has undergone and passed its hydraulic test with the aid of a pump dating back to 1890. Originally steam driven, the pump saw service in Bloemfontein until the 1970’s when the depot literally ran out of steam and it was converted to air operation and, as our pictures show, is still giving sterling service.

It proves the old adage, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to”!

The boiler of 113 will soon be returned to Hoekfontein to be swapped with the similar boiler of NGG13 number 49 for its retubing.


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Number 113’s boiler ready for its hydraulic test

The boiler of NGG16 number 113 is now also complete and the boiler will now be blanked off to receive its hydraulic test. Our picture shows the completed firebox tube plate.

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News from Bloemfontein. The NG10 receives its new boiler

News from Bloemfontein. The NG10 receives its new boiler.

The rebuilt boiler for NG10 number 61 has been re united with the loco frames after its extensive repairs by Keith Stevens. Our pictures show unloading the boiler from the Sandstone lowbed and placing the boiler into the waiting frames of number 61. A very exciting day for the restoration of the NG10!

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NGG16 Number 113 almost complete.

The small and large tubes for number 113 have been fitted and expanded into the firebox tube plate. Our pictures show the small tubes expanded and fitted and the setting up of the expanding machine for the large tubes. Not long to go now.

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