There is a lot that I can say about SANRASM (South African National Rail and Steam Museum), and sadly a vast portion of it is very negative. I did not experience the early years of the organisation, I only experienced the moribund years, and then the brief resurrection. In April 2014 the final nail was hammered into the coffin when armed scrap thieves raided the former South Site and destroyed some of the remnants of the collection that had been saved after the rationalisation. Today what is left is a mere shade of its former self. Some of those lost locomotives will live on as spares to keep the ever aging fleet of preserved steamers going, and some will live on in the many photographs that I took between 2009 and 2012.
The poster image for Sanrasm had to be Class 14R-1909, somebody once painted “Please don’t let me die” on her smokebox front, but it pretty much summed up steam traction in South Africa. If it was not for the dedicated people who keep these machines working we will see the demise of the steam engine in South Africa.
Personally I feel that the the decline of Sanrasm was due to only one individual; he seemed to be of the opinion that people would flock in huge amounts to look at a pile of derelict and rusting scrap metal. He was in a state of constant denial, everybody else was wrong, only he was right. I won’t even mention his name, but we all know who he was. I am sure he is proud of what he accomplished. If I was him I would hang my head in shame.
That being said, I have taken all of the photographs I am going to show here, I present them with as few comments as possible. I was fortunate that I did have access to the north and south sites so could experience a massive rush of nostalgia, especially when it came to coaches. Seeing so many items from my past was an experience that I was fortunate enough to have, and I am grateful for that.
I have publishing as many of my images as I can, as a memorial to a railway collection that is no more. The sad fact is that illicit scrap merchants who cut the frames of the locos to get at the bearings. It condemned those locos to the scrap heap. Unfortunately Wardale was amongst the locos that was cut up. To the best of my knowledge, most of the coaches and surviving locos were moved to Reefsteamers in Germiston. I do not know what locos they were, but I do believe that the Class 6-454, 6-473, 4-8-2 North Brit. side-tank No.25916 ‘Jenny.’ are amongst them. 4-10-2 North Brit. side-tank No.23722 was plinthed at the Rand Society of Model Engineers.
© DRW 2009-2017. Created 22/06/2014, edited 13/08/2014, 06/10/2014, 17/01/2015