musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Randfontein

They have gone and destroyed it

Regulars to my webpage and blog may remember the SANRASM debacle, and how a collection of valuable railwayana was reduced to so much scrap metal. It was a messy escapade, and the final outcome saw a new team placed in charge and some sort of rationality happening that seemed to signify that parts of the collection would survive. 
 
The last time I visited there was in June 2012, although I really posted that information backdated to the blog in December 2011. Like so many others I hoped that things would now progress from wreckage to preservation and finally to a fully fledged museum. 
 
That never happened.
 
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. Once that damage has been done the loco will never move again. I saw it happen at Chamdor, and it happened at Sanrasm, and has now finally killed Class 19D-2644, aka “Whardale”. This historically valuable loco was the only one of its kind, and was historically a very significant machine. 

I hope that one day these vultures will become victims of their own greed. When there is nothing left to steal then what will they do? Our steam locomotives, like our Rhino, will be extinct very soon.

What was saved? It is hard to know because I do not have all the information. But I know that both Class 6 loco’s were saved, although Class 6A No.454 has had her frames cut to steal the bearings off it. Fortunately the decision was made to rescue the loco and she is now privately owned and may end up on the rails again one day

6A-454

6A-473

The tender from Wardale was also saved and  I do know that one diesel was also saved. but do not know what happened to the other two.

Various parts from other loco’s were saved to keep the pool of steamers running. I do not know which coaches were saved.  

The former 4-10-2T North British Loco No.23722 was saved and is now plinthed at the Rand Society of Model Engineers site in Len Rutter Park, Florida. (2014)

More images from the disaster that was Sanrasm may be found at my allatsea blog

© DRW 2014-2018. Image recreated 17/04/2016. Updated 12/03/2017, added 10 wheeler 26/03/2017

Updated: 30/12/2017 — 20:45

Dear Dr Jameson….

One of the more unsavoury events in our history is the Jameson Raid. Cecil John Rhodes and his friends planned this really ridiculous farce to…. wait, I will let you read about it yourself because I sure don’t understand half of it. I do know that it was one of the triggers that caused the Boer War, and so much misery in this country ever since. Who knows what might have happened had Jameson and his 600 men succeeded in their attempt to “restore order” in Johannesburg, or better yet, never embarked on such a haphazard scheme in the first place. But, given the really bad planning and a really stupid ideal in the first place, the chances of success were really very small. 
 
I deal with what is left over, and there is not too much. Many of the sites associated with the raid are long gone, or built over, graves have become part of the veld, and all that is really left are a few places along Adcock Street out near Dobsonville/Vlakfontein as well as Randfontein, Krugersdorp and possibly Magaliesburg.  There are three main memorials worth considering. Firstly there is the main memorial on Adcock Street.
  
 
This plinth is situated outside what is loosely known as “the brickworks”, behind which is what is known as the Vlakfontein Memorial. I first photographed it in May 2009, and it was still fenced and the area was badly overgrown. I revisited it on 2 Feb 2012, and the fences have all been stolen, and it is still overgrown!
Jameson Needle (2009)

Jameson Needle (2009)

 
Sadly, all that is left of the so-called Kraal is a low wall and this needle, and there does not seem to be any way of knowing where the original site was in the first place.  On the one side of the brickworks is yet another interesting spot, loosely known as “The Stump“. When photographed in 2009, it too was fenced and not too badly overgrown, sadly the fence has also been stolen and the stump fell victim to fire at some point.
jamesonstump
 
 
From here we move across to Randfontein to what is loosely termed “The Randfontein Estates Gold Mine Military Cemetery” It took the good memory of a security guard to find this spot near the railway lines outside Randfontein, and when I first photographed it in 2009 it had already been badly vandalised.
 
On my visit today I was happy to see that the area had been cleared of vegetation but that does leave it more visible for scrap metal dealers and their ilk. These are the graves of Troopers William Charles Beatty-Powell, John Bernard Bletsoe, Harry Davies, John R.H. Forster, and C.E Hennessy.
 
In Burgershoop Cemetery in Krugersdorp, there is one more reminder of the Jameson Raid,  that was erected in 1917 to commemorate the casualties suffered by the Transvaal Burghers who opposed Jameson and his raiders. There are also 3 Jameson raiders buried in that cemetery, as well as the five Burghers. 
 
But what is missing?  The Vlakfontein needle mentions 26 casualties. Of these 5 are buried at REGM Military Cemetery and 8 are buried in Burgershoop cemetery. There are some raiders buried supposedly at Vlakfontein farm cemetery, as well as 3 that were supposed to be buried outside Doornkop Military base, there is one listed as being in Magaliesburg but that one has never been found,  and others are listed as burial location not known.
Dr Jameson and his cronies left a legacy that erupted into the Anglo Boer War; by all rights they should have been shot for treason. The punishment meted down to the plotters and leaders was surprisingly lenient. It was the ordinary soldier who once again caught the short end of the stick. Ironically Jameson became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony (1904–08) and was one of the founders of the Union of South Africa.
 
The physical remnants of the Jameson Raid are now hard to find, a recent visit to a farm in Magaliesburg revealed that the raiders may have travelled through one of the farms en route, 2 swords were ploughed up on the farm, so who knows, just maybe more answers may still be in that area.
 
© DRW 2012-2018. Images and links recreated 22/03/2016
 
Updated: 26/12/2017 — 14:48

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.
 
Addedum:
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

SIA Evaluation: Sanrasm North Site

On 10 September 2010 I was unofficially included in the team that went to Sanrasm to evaluate the collection and make recommendations. These are the images taken at North Site. The biggest obstacle that was faced was that North Site was no longer connected to South Site or to the line to Magaliesburg that divided the two sites. Moving anything would involve a crane, and there weren’t really funds to do this. Some very difficult decisions had to be made though, and I am glad that logic finally overcame pig headedness. In my opinion North Site had the real gems, but the conditions of the equipment realistically made them only fit for scrap. The coaches were rotten, the locos rusted away, and the chopped up Garrett collection still angered everybody.

These are probably amongst the last images taken of these two sites before they started being rationalised.

Class 1 No.1277

Fireless locos

The “shed”

Henschel tank loco

Derelict steam rollers

Class 13, ex H2 Tank

O&K 0-4-0 Well-Tank

Torpedo tender

Steam roller

1/2/3 class balcony 6086

Engineers caboose

Scrap line

Engineers caboose

2nd Class E-16 8868

0-10-0 Henschel Diesel 18489

Hopper wagon

Breakdown crane

4 Wheeler

abandoned water tank

S class tender

Fireless loco

Drakensburg SB Van

Underground loco

Bag van

Avonside 0-4-0 side-tank 1624

Class S -367

DRW ©  2009-2019. Retrospectively created 12/06/2017

Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:54

SIA Evaluation: Sanrasm South Site

On 10 September 2010 I was unofficially included in the team that went to Sanrasm to evaluate the collection and make recommendations. I will not go into the backdoor politics that had to happen to even get to this point, and neither will I name any names. The biggest obstacle that was faced was that North Site was no longer connected to South Site or to the line to Magaliesburg that divided the two sites. Moving anything would involve a crane, and there weren’t really funds to do this. Some very difficult decisions had to be made though, and I am glad that logic finally overcame pig headedness.

These are probably amongst the last images taken of these two sites before they started being rationalised.

NGG 13 Garratt No.58.

Berliner side-tank 8786

NBL Side tank

161 Phantom Pass

Class 14R-1909

Aveling & Porter steam roller.

Fowler or Foden steam roller

Slam door sub

GDA Garratt No.2259

siasouth11

L-14 Driving trailer

GF Garratt No.2404

4-10-2 NBL side-tank 23722

Class 1 No.1252

Shashi interior

Class 1 No.1253

GF Garratt No.2404

Slam door sub

Class 14R-1909

NBL Side tank

Class 19D-2644 Wardale

NBL Side tank “Jenny”

Hunslet Tank No.790

Kitson Tank No.2269

Class 6 No.473

Class 1 No.1252

Slam door sub

Class 14R No.1705

Class 14R “Joyce”

Class 3BR No.1483

Class 16CR No.816

Class 6A No.454

Class G side-tank 206

Class G side-tank 206

Class 15CB

GMAM No.4125

2-10-2 industrial Tank 61553

Class 15CB

GMAM No.4125

DRW ©  2009-2019. Retrospectively created 12/06/2019

Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:53

Inside Sanrasm North Site

North Site was fascinating. There were a lot of really interesting bits and pieces there, as well as a large collection of unanswered questions. Most of the very old coaches were very dangerous, woodwork was rotten, steelwork corroded, and not to mention the ever present danger of huge thorn bushes, bees and possibly snakes. There were also 3 baggage vans that were locked and we never did find out what was inside of them. Knowing Sanrasm it was either historic, or just junk. The workshops were fascinating too, but they had been left to rot away, and the closed loco shed housed two historically important locos. Most of the material here had been donated or bought for a song, but once acquired, it had been left to rot. We know who to blame, but realistically blame can also be apportioned to the members of the group who never questioned what was going on. Most volunteers had long left, and this place was going nowhere really fast. Once again this page is graphic intensive, so it may be slow.

Re-used Balcony coach

2nd Class E-16 Coach 8868

Engineers caboose

Derelict balcony 1/2/3class 6086

Derelict steam rollers

0-4-0 Ruston Diesel Shunter

2-4-0 Tank ‘La Moye’

abandoned water tank

Garratt graveyard

Garratt graveyard

Garratt graveyard

Grafton Steam crane

Class S -367

0-10-0 Henschel Diesel 18489

Fireless loco

Drakensburg SB van 2295

Fireless locos and scrap

NGG 11 Garratt No.53

DZ wagons

Torpedo tender

O&K 0-4-0 Well-Tank

Underground loco

Engineers caboose

Private saloon

Davenport diesel shunter

Class 13 1336

Derelict balcony 1/2/3class 6086

4-8-2 Avonside side-tank

Derelict crane

Hawthorn Diesel Shunter.3867

Derelict foot bridge

Crane boom

Wheels

Machinery

Wheel drop pit

Derelict compartment

Bag van

Engineers caboose stove

fireless loco

Class S -367

Abandoned boiler

Class 1 No.1277

© DRW 2009-2018. Retrospectively created 12/06/2019

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:05

Inside Sanrasm South Site

I was lucky to be able to get inside Sanrasm when one of my friends managed to get himself a job cleaning up the place. That entailed cutting grass, trimming trees and vegetation, clearing up years of accumulated rubbish. It also meant navigating egos and placating the resident empire builder. Through him I was able to access the rolling stock and other heritage items inside both sides of the track, and what I saw was shocking, but also fascinating.

Historically there were many important locos and coaches, and some were the only representatives of their class. Most had been vandalised beyond repair, and some were rotten when they got there, but a lot had happened during the tenure of the that one person. A lot of the rot was easy to sort out, it just required a bit of work. Work that was seemingly beyond them. But, enough said, lets get on with the show. These page are very graphic intensive so may take awhile to load. Datewise my files date from 01/05/2009 through to 02/08/2009 when he gave up. 

Class 16DA No.844

Berliner side-tank 8786

Class 14R ‘Joyce

Slam door sub

Slam door sub

Slam door sub

GDA Garratt No.2259

L-14 Driving trailer

GM Garratt No.2301

Class 1 No.1253

Class 1 No.1252

Aveling & Porter steam roller

Former JHB Tram

Class 12A Industrial

Class 6A-473

Kitchen Car 282

Class 6A-473

GMAM Garratt No.4089

Coupe

Slam door sub

2nd Class coach 2123

4-10-2 NBL.23722

NGG 13 Garratt No.58.

Class 14R-1909

4-8-2 NBL.25916 “Jenny”

Wardale 19D – 2644

Engineers Caboose

GMAM Garratt No.4089

Class 14R No.1705

NBL side-tank

Class 15F No.3051

Class 15F No.3051

Drivers seat

2nd Class Coach 2123

Kitson Tank No.2269 “Kitty”

Hunslet Tank No.790

161 Phantom Pass

Shashi 229

Shashi 229

Shashi 229

Slam door sub interior

Class 6A No.454

Class 6A No.454

© DRW 2009-2018. Retrospectively created 12/06/2016

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:05

Finding Sanrasm North Site

My exif data for the first images of North Site are dated 10/04/2009, and I had not even been aware of North Site when I had first visited Sanrasm South Site in February, and only picked up on it existing by accident. I added it to my list and grabbed my camera and headed out there. Like South Site. it too was locked, overgrown and derelict, with an extensive pile of derelict locos and scrap outside the gates. It was very difficult to comprehend what I was seeing, it just got worse all the time. 

1
sanrasmnorth21

© DRW 2009-2018. Retrospectively created 12/06/2017

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:05

By train to Magaliesburg: 25NC-3472

This was my first train trip with Reefsteamers, and it took place on 7 March 2009 from Maraisburg Station to Magaliesburg.

The loco doing the hard work was 25NC-3472 “Elize” and the consist was daysitters, a catering car, a much used traveling bar, the catering coach “Kango”, compartmented coaches, a power car and a water tanker in case Elize got thirsty. 
 
Then the whistle blew and we were off, threading our way west via Krugersdorp and Millsite to Magaliesburg.
 
 
 
I hadn’t been through Krugersdorp Station since I was an apprentice in 1982 so it was an interesting pause for me, and of course 3 passing 6E1’s just made it so much better.
  
We stopped just outside Millsite and stood still while something was happening in front of us, the entrance to the loco depot was not too far off, and some of the things I spotted here I would later go investigate,
 
 
and of course once you pass Millsite you would come to Sanrasm, and that sad L-14 driving trailer that looked worse each time I saw it. I would do a lot of photography at Sanrasm, and watch it being demolished. 
  
 
After Millsite it was an almost clear run through to our destination, you leave “civilisation” behind and enter mining, and later agricultural area.  The trip is not too long though, it really depends on whether there are any other trains on the line at the time.
  
And of course once we reached the cutting we were almost there. It was just a matter of going through the level crossing and it would be time to get off. The level crossing is quite a good spot for photography, but you really have to get there long before the loco arrives, or ideally as she leaves, and of course be on the correct side of the track. There is a certain smugness about leaning out of the coach window and watching all the cars with their drivers staring back at you.
 
I had not made any prior lunch arrangements and really intended dwaaling around town to pass the time. There was an option of lunch at the hotel but you had to disembark at the stop before the long climb into Magaliesburg Station, and I really wanted to see them turn the loco around and clean the fire before thinking about food. I had been through here previously to do some gravehunting, so was not a total stranger to the sleepy town. 
 
Rationally though, there is not a lot happening at Magaliesburg, its the sort of place you can see in 10 minutes. The real history is not in the town, and the places I wanted to see you needed a car, with a GPS and a map to find. 
 
 
 
And then we had arrived. Grabbing my stuff I headed for the end of the train to see if I could catch them moving Elize onto the other line. She is a big loco, and as she went past you could see the sleepers sink into the trackbed, and hear the creaks as she passed.
 
 
  
 
Reversing down the track she would be turned at the triangle and serviced a bit off from the station. I did not follow her to the triangle but headed off in my own direction to find food and do my thing. I would be back by the time she had been turned and serviced.
  
 
In fact I was back a bit earlier (I said the town was small), so parked off after doing some photography. There was one interesting building which I photographed:
 
 
It was supposedly part of Johannesburg’s original station. However I could not really prove it, but I did see pics of it at Park station when it was used for the Rand Tram celebrations (1989?)
  
 
Then the whistle blew and we were off, first collecting our passengers at Magaliesburg Country Hotel,
 
 
then over the level crossing, and powering our way home.
  
  
 
The loco has quite a struggle leaving the immediate area of the station as she has to pick up speed to make the grades in this area, this is probably when you get to hear the best stack talk and feel the brute strength of the powerful old ladies of the rails.
 
I think it was at Tarlton where we stopped to let another train pass, the line is not really suited for heavy two way traffic and there are a number of spots where one train is able to pass another. I believe this line eventually ends up at Mafeking or Zeerust, and is not heavily used, although a number of container and fuel trains do use it. 
 
 
The line is not electrified either so is home to “paraffin burners” (as steam enthusiasts call diesels). 
 
 
Just pass the silos is a long downgrade which is quite a favourite spot for line siding, I would stand there myself for quite a few hours in later months, but I had not done that before so did not know about this spot. 
 
 
We were now close to Randfontein and many of the people were stirring from their alcohol induced slumbers, even the limp children were running around, having catnapped since we left Magaliesburg. It was getting decidedly noisy in our sitter coach.
 
 
As we went through Millsite I managed to grab a few shots of the old coal stage that still stood there, and if my memory serves me right it was demolished not too long after I took these images. There was a Garrat standing next to the stage, and I wonder if she managed to survive the breaking up of the coal stage? Then we were going through Krugersdorp once again, passing some toasters along the way.
 
 
Our final destination was Maraisburg, and it had been a long and hot day. I was covered in specks of soot and ash, and my camera lens was making odd noises, but it was worth it! 
 
 
I disembarked and watched the train pull away and carry on with its journey back to Germiston. I would take 3 trips with Reefsteamers to Magaliesburg, and ended up line siding on a few occasions. It was nice to feel the sway of a train beneath my feet,  it had been way too long since I had last experienced that feeling. 
 
DR Walker. © 2009-2018 Images recreated 07/03/2016
Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:11

Finding Sanrasm South Site

My story begins when I moved out to the West Rand and decided to find the much vaunted “South African National Steam and Railway Museum” (aka SANRASM) that was supposedly somewhere near Randfontein. Nobody could really give me any real directions on how to get there so it was a case of hunting for clues. To cut a long story short, by trial and error I finally managed to find the site on a stretch of gravel road somewhere between nowhere and elsewhere. Actually what I found was a fenced compound with high grass and what looked like a lot of wreckage. The compound was locked and a security guard ambled out of his hut to see what I was doing.  After some persuasion the friendly security guard gave me the number for the office. The excuse I was given by the office was that “the grass was long and they could not let me in”. It was obvious that one of the reasons for the long grass was that somebody wasn’t doing their job! and there was a lot to hide! I was potentially a willing volunteer, but they were not really interested in me, instead I was fobbed off and told to go have a look at the Chamdor locomotive collection instead. and that was that.
I left feeling despondent, there was so much to see behind that fence, but unless I got very lucky there was no way I was going to see what there was! I did however take pics through the fence, and vowed that this was not the end. I would get in there eventually.  The images are dated 02/02/2009 according to the exif data, so I am going to use that as the start date of the sanrasm saga. I had no idea at the time what I was seeing and it took a lot of time to gather the collection of images that I have. They are unique images because they show the demise of a collection that was allowed to rot while the members were blissfully unaware of what was happening on the ground.

These images were taken over and through the fence.

I then discovered the “scrap line” while on a trip to Magaliesburg with Reefsteamers. This was a terrible place, and I had to fight my way through bushes and trees to get there (there was a much easier way, but I did not know it at the time). Now that I think about it, this was a really stupid thing I did. The area was still a mining area and there was a huge quarry on one side and the terrain was really dangerous and I was lucky to come out of this was a bad case of blackjacks and a scrapes and scratches. I was also able to catch a glimpse into the site itself from the other side, and it was as bad here as I had seen from the gate. Worse was to come though, when I discovered North Site.

To say that I was shocked would be an exaggeration, I was mortified because this was no museum, it was a travesty, and I was hell bent on stirring the fire to see what popped up. I posted my images on a local heritage rail board and then thing started to happen.

© DRW 2009-2018. Retrospectively created 12/06/2019

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:13
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