Stars of Sandstone Steam and Heritage Festival 2017


Picture vistas of the majestic Maluti Mountains, cosmos flowers as far as the eye can see, 26km of private railway track in such surrounds, with steam trains, trek oxen, tractors, vintage vehicles and airplanes, all toiling away, with you, your family and pals all having the time of your life.

The Stars of Sandstone Steam and Heritage Festival is a world-class affair, paying homage to steam and transportation of yesteryear, which will again be taking place in the picturesque Eastern Free-State farming region of South Africa from 30 March to 9 April 2017.


Launched in 1999, Stars of Sandstone draws visitors from all corners of the globe at what has been described as the most diverse and amongst the most spectacular steam and heritage event in the world.

To add fuel to the fire, or, steam up the fun, the organizers are hoping to launch the Sandstone’s Children’s Railway, complementing the full daily programme of festivities to ensure young and old will be entertained.

One of Sandstone’s key objectives in its preservation programme is education to further realise its motto: “Preserving the best of our past for the future.” While many visitors are now seeing what only their grandparents experienced, our offspring often have no cognisance of the importance and romance of machinery of those olden – and golden – days of early transportation.

Premier activities for the 2017 festival will include massive double headed Garratts hauling the one-and-a-half-hour Mountain Wanderer train through the mountains.


Sandstone boasts the largest collection of 2ft narrow gauge locomotives, 30 to date supported by over 250 freight wagons, in the world, and the glittering stars lined up for the 2017 incredible festival include the NGG11 Number 52 Garratt, now nearing completion of repairs.  Although the Sandstone Steam Railroad is a 2ft Narrow Gauge railway there is a large cross-section of Main Line and Industrial 3’6” engines on display.

The SA Armour Museum delivers a riveting performance every time, with larger than life demonstrations of tanks and heavy armour dating from WW2 to the present, guaranteed to impress the most jaded visitor.

This working farm sets a precedent of utilising every resource available on this fertile, beautiful land, from ever-expanding cattle herds to harvesting cosmos, soya, wheat, maize, sunflowers and the like.  A favourite of young and old are the teams of working Afrikaner oxen which are bred and trained on the farm.  They are complemented by a large cross section of working ox wagons, some of which date back nearly two centuries.

Over 300 vintage tractors are on display, many of which are in tip-top working condition and will be deployed during the event to carry out numerous functions relating to Agriculture.  The Sandstone collection of rare road steam traction engines and steam rollers will be deployed throughout the event.  The collection of stationary engines completes the line-up of agricultural exhibits.

This is truly a celebration of 150 years of agriculture, from animal drawn reapers to the massive modern Combine Harvester of today.

Aircraft set to thrill at Stars 2017 include: Harvards, Tiger Moth, Stampe, Chipmunk, and more. The airstrip welcomes fly-in guests, as always, just ensure the organisers are aware you’re attending to secure a smooth arrival process, as always.

All the drivers of the steam and heritage vehicles are involved on a voluntary basis, travelling from across the world to be part of the fun and the directors urge visitors, drivers and firemen to register early to attend and participate.

On site accommodation includes former SAR main line sleeper coaches and camping, whilst bed and breakfast properties in the region are plentiful. However, early bookings are advisable to avoid disappointment.


Register for the glittering Stars 2017 event at:

Entry for the 2017 Stars of Sandstone Festival is available from Leigh Sanders who can be contacted on +27 79 327 7649 or e-mail

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