South Africa: Steam Heritage Festival Slated for April at Sandstone Estates

Festivals and Holidays

Steam enthusiasts  will gather at Sandstone Estates near Ficksburg, South Africa, from 12 to 21 April 2014 for the annual Stars of Sandstone (SoS) Steam Heritage Festival, a celebration of steam-driven machines

Steam-driven military vehicles, trek oxen, old tractors, steam lorries, traction engines, locomotives, old buses, and cars will take centre stage at the event, which will be set against the backdrop of the Eastern Free State landscape and the majestic Maloti Mountains of the Lesotho Highlands.

Sandstone’s world-renowned 26 kilometre narrow gauge railway forms the backbone of the world-class event, and the distinctive autumn light provides a breathtaking vista ideal for photo opportunities of the large collection of steam driven vehicles and equipment

Many enthusiastic visitors travel to Sandstone year after year to take part in the festival. Old tractors and other agricultural relics in mint condition will also be exhibited at the event in 2014.

“The end of an era of steam-driven transportation should not end with us and our forefathers,” says Wilfred Mole, Director of the Sandstone Estates.

“We should instil a love of yesteryear in our children and grandchildren so they have a deeper understanding of the history of the high-tech transportation we utilise today. How could we possibly appreciate what we have when we don’t understand the history of how it all began?”

South African Railways Museum

In the 1990s, the Curator of the South African Railways Museum (SARM) got in touch with the Sandstone Estates to request that it store a collection of vintage railway equipment, cars, trucks, and tractors while a decision by was made on that to do with the machines.

Within months, the equipment was moved to the Sandstone Estates, where it remains today. A 2-foot narrow gauge railway was built on the estate. The trust now works closely with the South African Armour Museum in Bloemfontein.

The farm is now an organized and established agri-business with livestock and arable crops including sunflowers, soya beans, maize, and wheat. It has hosted SoS galas since 1999, when it was named The Great 100 Working.

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