Railway Heritage

A photo collection from Leon Hugo.

Leon Hugo is a professional photographer based in Gqeberha. You will remember his excellent pictures from the rather wet 2022 Easter Festival but Leon had visited us before. Here is a small selection of some quite different images of the Sandstone Steam Railway and its locomotives  to enjoy.

You can contact Leon on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Some changes at Sandstone Steam Railway

2ft Narrow Guage System
Some changes at Sandstone Steam Railway

The very heavy rains experienced during the latter part of 2021 and into 2022 severely damaged the Mountain Section of the railway. This is the section from Vailima Siding which looped around the area of the Farm School below the Sandstone mountain and re-joined  the line at Pandora Junction. As this section sees very limited use and suffered damage on a regular basis from inclement weather, it was decided to lift the section from Vailima Siding around to Pandora Junction. As much as we regret having to do doing this the constant repairs required from weather damage were excessive.

Our Oxen are in training!

As the Cherry Steam Festival approaches in November our Oxen span have been out in training with NGG16A number 155! Click here for a short video.

Track Maintenance

Maintaining the permanent way is one of the key elements in running a railway and Sandstone is no exception. It is an ongoing task that sometimes seems to be never ending. It also falls under the scrutiny of the South African Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) and is one of the major elements in their regular inspections. Of course as we are 2ft Narrow Gauge which does not really feature on the South African railway system any more, apart from Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), although there no trains have run for a very long time. This often raises questions of specifications for track standards. We have had much debate with the RSR to explain that we do not run at normal Transnet speeds but at a much lower speed! We have established, after much discussion, that we maintain our track to Transnet branch line standards.

A new shed for the Bloemfontein locomotives.

Bloem locos shed Sandstone July 22
Three locomotives, originally from Sandstone’s Bloemfontein facility, are now under cover. From left to right, 11 Class 929, 19D 2654 and 24 Class 3688.

All the locomotives and rolling stock moved from Bloemfontein and Germiston are now in a covered facility at Sandstone.

The story of one plate.

The story of one plate

We recently featured, on the 19th May, the presentation of a large Skoda works plate by Svatopluk (Sváťa) Šlechta  from The Czech Republic. Sváťa has now sent us the full history of the plate and pictures of the two locomotives that carried the plate during their service in the former Czechoslovakia. Click here to read the story.

World Wickham Day.

As you will see from the attached file, Inaugural World Wickham Day, Friday 22 April 20022,  recognises 100 years of Wickham rail vehicles. In South Africa, Sandstone Heritage Trust is the proud owner of  2ft gauge Wickham Trolley number 9234, built in 1962. This is an open Type 27 Mk111. This was originally supplied to  Pretoria Portland Cement in Pretoria, South Africa in November 1962 and acquired by Sandstone some 20 years ago. It has been re engined with a Toyota diesel engine and gearbox. Sandstone also has four unidentified Type 27 Mk111 2 ft gauge of the closed type which were acquired from Sena Sugar in 2004.

Wickham

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A photo gallery of the Easter Steam Festival at Sandstone, 15 to 18 April 2022 by Leon Hugo.

Leon Hugo is a professional photographer from Gqeberha in South Africa and sent us a photo essay from our Easter event. As you will see from the gallery Leon braved all the conditions that the weather could throw at us to capture some magnificent images. Enjoy the show! You can contact Leon on,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Steam Fun at Easter despite the weather!

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Staging events at Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State is becoming more difficult.  This is due to the state of the roads which make the coach tour operators reluctant to visit us.  People with ordinary cars have to also drive very carefully due to the serious potholes.  However certainly as far as our South African market is concerned people are robust and if they want to come they certainly turn up. 

Sandstone’s Locomotive Moves.

The recent moves of our 3’6” gauge locomotives from the Transnet properties at Germiston and Bloemfontein made worldwide headlines with the clever logistics used by the contractors, Mercor Transport and P.Munro Transport. The clever usage of large lowbed trailers as loading ramps for the multi axle trailers used for some of the locomotives enabled us to load the two GMA/M Beyer Garratt locomotives, numbers 4079 and 4114, without using a very expensive crane and splitting them into their three units (font engine unit, boiler unit and rear engine unit) as was done in the past. This also saved a massive amount of work to reassemble the locos on their arrival at Sandstone.

To celebrate the moves, Sandstone commissioned Ron and Val Nell of Frameline Productions to produce a video programme of the logistics and activities required for moving these giants and the other locomotives. Some of the loads were amongst the heaviest road movements ever undertaken in South Africa. You can access the production on You Tube on the following link.

https://youtu.be/cUJrVrn3U90  

As a bonus to this video we also include a link to a short production on our November 2021 Cherry Festival event produced by Steven Mitchell. 

The link is Sandstone Cherry Festival 2021 - YouTube

Getting Ready for Easter!

Gert Jubileus, the Sandstone Railway Manager, has been hard at work with his track gang preparing the railway for the Easter event. A major task was the replacement of the sleepers on the points at the exit of Hoekfontein Station towards Grootdraai. Our gallery shows the new points in position and the Funkey diesel in action as the track gang spreads the ballast which has been delivered in our vintage rake of cocopans.

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Easter Steam for 2022

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Sandstone’s latest restored locomotive, NGG16A number 155 will be hauling Easter trains. Picture by James Attwell.


Our first event for 2022 will be our Easter Steam Festival from Friday 15th April until Monday 18th April. The full Sandstone Heritage collection will be on display together with rides on military vehicles and on a vintage Ox wagon hauled by our team of Oxen. Food and refreshments will be on sale. Steam Trains will run daily at 10h00, 12h00, 14h00 and 16h00.

Self-catering accommodation will be available in our Railway and Victorian Cottages as well as our fully equipped camp site. The entrance fee is R250 for adults and  R140 for children under 12. Please note that this fee does apply to visitors accommodated on site on a daily basis. Covid protocols as applied at the time of the event must be adhered to.

For bookings and enquiries contact Mariette Palmer on 064 752 3852.
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Completing the Task!

As part of the moves of our 3’6” gauge locomotives and rolling stock to Sandstone, we committed to placing all the assets under cover. This has now been completed as our pictures show with the two GMAM locomotives, 4114 and 4079, 25NC 3488 and 15F 3052 now safely under cover.

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Easter Preparations

As part of our preparations for our Easter event, the track gang has been hard at work preparing our railway for a busy show. Persistent inclement weather has made quite a mess of various area of track which are being methodically cleaned and checked to bring up to our working standard. Sadly the rain continues and has slowed down our efforts but we will be ready for the expected large number of visitors over the Easter weekend. Our pictures show the extent of the work required and the results being achieved. See you all at Easter!

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The NG10’s first run at Stars of Sandstone 2019


Mark Ruddy is a regular visiting driver to Sandstone and at the Stars of Sandstone event, in 2019, he was rostered for the first run of the newly restored NG10, number 61. Here is his story and, as you will read, it did not go exactly to plan! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9fWQeZx44g