Sandstone first rail acquisitions were ex SAR GMAM Garratt locomotives from Randfontein Estates Gold Mines and much planning was undertaken to concession the Bethlehem to Bloemfontein line for operation by Sandstone for freight operation and rail tourism. Sadly this failed with objections from the South African trade unions who could not bear to see privatisation and economic use of the railway meaning they would have to work harder and earn their wages instead of overstaffing the national system.
One of the prime movers within Sandstone for the 3’6” project was well known Railway and Preservation specialist , Geoff Pethick.
In fact after the destruction of many parts of the national railway system during the recent Covid19 lockdown, it is interesting to see the first moves towards allowing some form of private access and operation on the rail system, primarily for freight but with hints for a revival of rail tourism of a more affordable nature than that presented by the current premium operators. No wisdom was evident when it mattered.