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LCGB Overseas Study Tour to South Africa
March 29th – April 24th 2017

Photos by Robin Patrick

The first ten days at Stars of Sandstone ‘Where the Mountains meet the Stars’ ran from 30th March – 9th April, held at Sandstone Estate, Ficksburg, Eastern Free State, South Africa.

It is a large agricultural estate close to the Matuti Mountains and the border with Lesotho. The estate has a 26km 2ft private railway line with around 30 operational steam locomotives with more on site.

As well as the railway and its operation, traction engines, classic cars, trucks, military equipment, agricultural and tractor displays, aircraft, helicopters, along with ox wagon & mule carts so there was always something to watch or photograph. It is also a working farm so modern equipment often mixed with old.

It was simply an unforgettable location and event. After ten days here then going on around South Africa for a further two weeks visiting steam operation locations and travelling on trains.

Early Morning sunrise at Sandstone

Garratts 52 an NGG11 2-6-0+0-6-2 Beyer Peack 1919 & 153 NGG16 2-6-2+2-6-2 Hunslet Taylor 1968 on the loop at Grootdraai with Lesotho in background.

NGG16 153 & 88 bring ecs from sidings into Hoekfontein Station for 1530 Mountain Wanderer

153 & 88 take water at Vailima Siding before tackling the mountain section.

NGG16 153 with early morning freight train

NGG16 153 with early morning freight train

153 climbing the gradient from Vailima Siding with a freight passing the cosmos flowers.

88 climbing away from Grootdraai loop with mountains of Lesotho at back of train.

153 at Hoekfontein Station on freight train.

153 at Hoekfontein Station taking water with early morning freight train.

NGG11 52 & NGG16 153 with morning freight heading for Grootdraai.

52 & 153 approaching balloon loop at Grootdraai with planes at end of runway.

NGG11 52 with a freight train between Mooihock & Vailima.

Climbing the grade from Vailima Siding with a fly past.

Many other things to see here

And further afield

15F 3046 'Janine' a 4-8-2 built by North British 1944, Germiston Depot near Pretoria

25NC's 3437 'Sianni' & 3467 'Carolyn' in front, 3437 just restored to working order by LCGB member Peter Odell & was its first public steaming on Beaconsfield Depot, Kimberleya

25 3511 with condenser tender built by North British in 1953 Beaconsfield Depot, Kimberley

19D 2669 4-8-2 & GMAN Garratt 4-8-2+2-8-4 4074 double head out of Creighton

GMAN 4074 approaching Riverside with a Zulu village in background

19D 3321 'Jessica' near Die Vlie en-route Cape Town - Caledon