Tag: museum

Heidelberg Transport Museum

Please note that the images and information in this post are from 2012, I believe that situation at the museum has changed.
On 27 January 2012 I visited the town of Heidelberg in Gauteng to do some gravehunting, My intention was to also visit the transport museum in the town to see what the status was of the railway exhibits in its care. I will not dwell on the history behind the museum, or the events that led to its closure at the end of 2003, that is dealt with by Piet Conradie in his blog. I am just dealing with 27 January 2012. 

The museum is housed in the old station building which originally opened as a station in October 1895 and served as such till 1961. It is a beautiful old building, but in dire need of restoration. The last restoration being done in 1975 when the original transport museum came into being. 

Street side of the station building

Street side of the station building

The railway coaches are housed in a long shed that was erected over the platform area of the station. There are 5 coaches in total, 2 of which are passenger saloons, 2 are dining saloons, and one is a baggage/parcels van. All are painted brown and with the exception of the bag van, are in a very good condition. A steam engine, class 16CR-816 is at the head of the short train in the first row. The first coach behind the locomotive is 1st/2nd class D-15 mainline passenger saloon 1044. This coach is in a beautiful condition inside and so many of the interior fittings are intact.
The 1st class compartments were fitted out with blue upholstery, while 2nd class had green. The coach has a gap in the middle where the corridor crosses to the other side.  This view of a 1st class compartment is taken from the window side, note the reading lamp in the top corner as well as the woodwork in the coach.  The coach still has a feint smell of wood and leather that was unique to the old coaches used on the SAR/SAS. I recall travelling down to Bethlehem in coaches like this when I was young, and they do not compare to the later steel bodied saloons with their Formica and panelling.
The images above show a 1st class coupe, as well as the corridor on the first class half. Just imagine standing in that corridor while travelling to your destination. The next coach down the line is the A-18 diner “Liesbeek”, which carries the number 167. She was in service from 1914 till 1976.
Like many of the older dining saloons, half of her is a kitchen and the other half is the dining area, and she is a magnificent example of the pillared dining saloons that we used to have. The demise of the clerestory roof coaches would also be the demise of the pillared diner. Loose chairs tended to be unstable when the train was in motion or coming to a halt, the use of them was discontinued in later diners.
The last coach in the front row is a K-36 baggage/parcel van, number 4233. Unfortunately the exterior of this coach is in a poor condition on the one end. The roof of the platform area did not extend far enough to protect her so she will need a lot of renovation.

Behind this “train” are two more coaches. The coach next to the 16CR is another A-18 pillared diner “Illovo”, number 166, built in 1914. She is a sister to 167 Liesbeek, and is also in a very good condition.

Behind her, and shadowed by a building is a C-16, first class balcony coach 737, built in 1921 by Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Company in England. She is very dark inside and my camera really struggled to work in her, a torch should be on your agenda if you intend visiting the museum. Like the other passenger coach, she looks very intact on the inside and her compartments and woodwork are beautiful. 


The last major piece of rolling stock is the Class 16CR-816. Cosmetically she is in a reasonably good condition because she has been under cover, unfortunately the usual copper theft has robbed her of many of her pipes, and her cabside plate, but her cab is intact.


The assistant curator at the museum took me around and was very eager that more people come to visit it so that it can be put back on the map. 
**Update 08/04/2019**
I have since found out that the museum is now operating as the “Heidelberg Heritage Museum” and one coach is in use as a restaurant. Contact number for the museum is 087-110-1218

Random Images

Special thanks must go to Sipho who showed me around, to Piet Conradie for his excellent blog, and to Carlos Das Neves Vieira for his information about the coaches.
DRW ©  2012-2020. Images recreated 22/03/2016, updated 08/04/2019. 12 new images added 08/06/2019
Updated: 17/01/2020 — 06:36

SANRASM. 1 Year later.

When I first moved out to the West Rand my latent interest in trains became much greater because of the ease with which I could theoretically see them. There were also places to see that had them, and as such I was determined to catch up after so many years in the doldrums.  One of the places I really wanted to see was known as the “South African National Rail and Steam Museum” (aka SANRASM) out near Randfontein.
Sadly, I caught that organisation at the downturn, when it was being run into the ground through neglect by its moribund committee.
What followed was at least 3 years of frustration as the collection became more derelict and nothing was done. Everything came to a head with the death of the Chamdor Locomotive Site , it took a lot to retrieve the collection from the committee and the funds from the scrapping of Chamdor helped save what there is to see today.  It has been a year since work started on rationalising the collection and I have been monitoring work as it has gone forward.
This blog is about “Then and Now”.  I am fortunate that I do have reasonably good access to the site and am glad to see that things are being done, I deplore the loss of many of the artefacts that were originally in the collection, but I do understand “why we are where we are today”.  Kudos to the team that have been steadily working away at the equipment,  its a mammoth task to reverse 10 years of neglect and an exceptionally wet rainy season. However, I am confident that one day I will see this collection become the start of something greater. 

Class 14R-1704 in September 2010

Class 14R 1704 in December 2011

Class 14R 1704 in December 2011

Unfortunately, a lot of restoration is cosmetic in nature. These locos have been stolen dry, they will never be able to run again, but that doesn’t mean that they must look bad. Historically Class 19D-2644 is an important loco, and she languished for years, her smokebox obscured by trees. I saw her in June this year and already she was looking better. 

Class 19D-2644 Wardale (aka Spooky). before painting

Class 19D-2644 after cosmetic restoration commenced,

Sanrasm had a unique collection of coaches, amongst them were a half balcony diner called “Phantom Pass” which was left to rot, and a much “newer” diner called “Shashi” which was also left to rot. Phantom is in a poor condition but they are working towards stabilising her until it can be decided what to do.

Phantom Pass. September 2010. No work has been done on her in years

Phantom Pass. Cosmetically restored. June 2012

The years of neglect have taken their toll on her and it will be difficult to restore her to her former glory. Restoration would have been so much easier if only somebody had done something years ago! Shashi suffered from severe water damage and her interior is in a very poor condition. However, compared to what she looked like in May 2009. 

May 2009. She looked much worse by September 2010

Dec 2011, partly stripped of fittings and undergoing restoration.

It will take a lot of time, but eventually she will be restored. Fortunately she even has her kitchen coach on the site and it is hoped to mate them up together again one day. The kitchen coach suffered water damage and neglect like everything else on the site, but now her roof has been replaced and she is already looking better.

Kitchen Coach. Roof restored.

Amongst the other work that has been done is cosmetic restoration and repainting of 16DA-844.

Class 16DA-844. September 2011

December 2011.

Cosmetic restoration and painting of the Davenport Diesel formerly from North Site.

The Davenport Diesel from North Site. May 2009

The Davenport Diesel from North Site. Dec 2011

Painting of Class 6A-454 as well as Class 6A-473. Not too long ago 454 was still in steam, but she has lost so many fittings over the years that she may never move under her own steam again. 473 has lost her boiler cladding and smokebox front. Nobody could ever explain how that occurred.

Class 6A-454. December 2011.

Class 6A-473. August 2011.

The sad part is, how much was lost. The coaches at North Site that had not been scrapped were all burnt out, and many of the subs from South Site have been donating their wood to preserve what is left behind. I have reams of photographs of what never got this far, and those photographs all point to the person who thought that people would be interested in seeing a lot of rotten and derelict equipment. I am glad to see that the attitude has changed.

May 2009.

The same coach. December 2011.

There is still so much to be done, and with the rainy season upon us there will be even more difficulties, but I live in hope and will return next year to see  how things are looking. Hopefully I will see progress again, just as I have seen since last year.
Keep it up Geoff and his team.
Sanrasm exists no longer. The reality is that somewhere along the line (April 2014?), the scrap vultures entered the premises and cut the frames of some of the locos to get at the bearings, rendering the locos irreparable, and only fit for the scrap. Please refer to my post from 10/06/2014
DRW. © 2011-2019. Images recreated 20/03/2016
Updated: 08/04/2019 — 18:56
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