loaded at Durban on December 15th and arrived at Immingham Docks
earlier this month, being delivered to Dinas yard on Thursday January
Their purchase has been funded by a specific donation from a
supporter through the FR Trust.
The Sandstone Heritage Trust operates a 26-km 2-ft Narrow
Gauge railway on a private agricultural estate in a remote part of South Africa
adjacent to the Lesotho border.
South African National Railway authority, Transnet, has been issuing tenders
over a number of years relating to the disposal of narrow gauge assets. Sandstone, in order to build its own
collection of the iconic South African narrow gauge rolling stock, bid on many
of these tenders and was successful.
Sandstone also reached agreement with South Africa’s largest
reclamation company, Reclam, to acquire wagons and spares parts for items that
they have purchased from the railways. The result is a very large collection of
freight wagons, arguably far too many to ever be used by Sandstone itself.
"The Welsh Highland Railway already makes extensive use
of railway technology sourced from South Africa, including its NG/G16 Garratts
locomotives, as well as freight rolling stock," says Sandstone's Wilf
"Our guys put an inordinate amount of work into it. We asked them to do a good job and they took
it seriously. We had an independent railway professional come in and check them
for flaws before they went out and he was very happy with them.
"The logistics of getting them to Durban was not easy. We transported the wagons ourselves using our
Freightliner and my own personal Kenworth, which our General Manager drove to
Durban and back twice.
"We believe these wagons will make a very useful
contribution to Welsh Highland Railway’s operational efficiency and will
provide an added attraction for the many supporters and followers who enjoy
visiting this world class railway in North Wales."
The F&WHR already owns eight similar B Wagons, which are
in daily use on both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland lines for transporting
coal, ballast, ash and brash from lineside clearance work. The six new wagons
will be put to work as soon as F&WHR engineers fit them with standard
The WHR now has the potential to run a Garratt-hauled
recreation of a full length train of SAR bogie freight stock, together with the
newly-restored SAR brake van – a piece of South African railway history in the
mountains of Snowdonia.