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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sandstone Steam Gala Monday 26 March 2012

This was another very interesting day.

In the morning, the Kerr Stuart “Tamar” 0-4-2ST reappeared together with the Natal Government Railways NG4 Kerr Stuart 4-6-2T.

Natal Government Railways Pacific tank

At lunchtime, two tiny locomotives, a 0-4-0T Decauville rescued from Angola and a Kerr Stuart “Wren” 0-4-0ST put in an appearance. The Decauville ran a small passenger train out to the Grootdraai Loop.

Preserved in 1933 in Angola and rescued from a wrecked sugar mill


Driving the Decauville

Shunting with the 1961 Bagnall diesel.
Shunting at Hoekfontein

In the afternoon, Garratt 153 again did the circuit of the entire line.

John Lyas watering at Vailima Siding

Sandstone Steam Gala Sunday 25 March 2012

The day began with three Orenstein & Koppel locomotives of three different sizes in operation. The two green ones succumbed to various ailments during the course of the morning.

O&K trio

10hp O&K

O&K 50hp and 40hp

O&K 50hp

Later in the morning NGG153 came out again.

A lunchtime inspection allowed a look at a couple of modern Baguley-Drewry diesels rescued from Mozambique and in poor condition . . . .
. . . . and this Ruston & Hornsby.

A special Hunslet Taylor diesel hauled train.

The afternoon track circuit by the Garratt was accompanied by a variety of road and rail vehicles.

Wilfred Mole driving the BSA railcar.

Welsh Highland contingent on a Wickham trolley.

Bristol bus used to convey photographers.

Model A Ford with Dave as passenger

Sentinel steam lorry with Robin as passenger.

Sandstone Steam Gala Saturday 24 March 2012

An early start to see the morning use of “Kalahari” NG15 17. These locomotives were designed for use in what is today Namibia and came to South Africa when the track there was regauged.

These NG15 locomotives have large tenders

Also being used were the two “Lawley” 4-4-0 locomotives built for use on the Beira Railway in Mozambique. They were soon supplanted when the Beira Railway was regauged and many later came to South Africa forming South African Railways Class NG6. 

Double headed Lawleys

Among the road steam equipment being used was this McLaren traction engine.
McLaren traction engine


 In the afternoon, we had a trip around the line with NGG13 Garratt 49. Here it is at the summit of the Vailima loop.

NGG13 at Vailima Summit

Sandstone is situated in beautiful country in the Free State with rugged mountains and fertile plains.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sandstone Steam Gala Friday 23 March 2012

After leaving Brisbane on Thursday afternoon, it took five hours to get to Perth and then a wait of another five hours before departing for Johannesburg. In Perth I was met by my two travelling companions from Victoria, Dave and Robin.
Dave Mickle and Robin Gibb

After another 11 hours we were in Johannesburg and had another wait there before leaving on a short domestic flight (1 hour) for Bloemfontein. It was supposed to be a two-hour drive from there to Sandstone but it took about three because of road works.

Sandstone is an agricultural property on the Lesotho border owned by Wilfred Mole. Here has built an extensive 2ft gauge railway to operate his extensive collection of narrow gauge steam locomotives from throughout southern Africa. The occasion of this visit was the annual steam gala when as much as possible is steamed and operated over a period of a week. There is also much other historical transport, farming and military equipment to see in operation.

We arrived at Sandstone just before the morning’s action finished and had the opportunity to see a Kerr Stuart 0-4-2ST and a Peckett 0-6-0ST in operation as we drove in.
Kerr Stuart 4063 and Simon Mead

Peckett 2161 with Bob Baker

After lunch, we had a Garratt NGG16 take us around the complete circuit of the railway including the section that had to be result after extensive washaways in the last couple of years. During this trip we had some much-needed rain – this year has been abnormally dry.

NGG16 153 tackles the grade to Vailima

We booked into our hotel in Ficksburg – dated but clean and comfortable. And at last the first chance for some proper sleep for 47 hours.
Highlands Hotel - another entry for Fi's bedspreads of the world contest

Friday, March 16, 2012

So far this year, I have been very busy on a number of projects. A major one has been working on a large part of the text for a new book on the locomotives built at the Bundaberg Foundry, in collaboration with Brian Webber. I have also been getting ready for a trip to the Sandstone Steam Gala as well as preparing for my retirement on 11 April.
I did some research in Bundaberg in January and took a few photos at Millaquin Mill.

Being the maintenance season, some of the bogie locos were outside the shed with their bogies out for final drive attention.
On 23 March I'll be at Sandstone and if I can find internet connections, I'll be blogging about my trip there, so keep a look out.