Sandstone Videos

Sandstone Estates in South Africa are well known for their preservation efforts and their use of steam power on a day-to-day basis where it makes sense. They have produced the following railway videos (available locally for Rand 125.00) - they have others covering the agricultural side of the business with some steam content. For more information about ordering any of these, please email Juanita du Toit

Return of the Giants (1998)

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 1 hr 20 mins

Once, the Railway was South Africa's prime mover, and the highways of steel carried goods and people across the subcontinent. Then came the car and the truck, and mass transport moved from the railway to the roads. Among the victims of this change was the spectacular scenic line from Bethlehem to Bloernfontein in the Eastern Free State. Because of its beauty, this railway has great tourist potential, and is still a viable artery of commerce in the heart of South Africa's bread basket. Recognising this, the Sandstone Steam Railroad Company was formed in 1997.

This video explores the problem of railway decline, and the potential for upliftment. It revisits the glory days of steam traction on the line, and traces the development of the company that could change its future.

Steam Fever (1994)

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 60 mins

Steam Fever is an evergreen classic, a tribute to the romance of the steam locomotive. In this documentary, we journey through the good old days of steam, and meet the everyday heroes of the time. Drivers, firemen, station masters and signalmen - they all have their story to tell. And so does the steam enthusiast, that eccentric breed whose mantra is "catch that steam locomotive!" 

Travel with us on the giants of the Karoo - the Class 25NC's. Share cold nights and hot days with the crew on the footplate. And find out just what it is that fights the fire in the soul of those afflicted with "Steam Fever".

Desert Steam  (1999)

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 1 hr 15 mins

South Africa's "Union Limited" steam rail tours are recognised as being among the great railway journeys of the world. Join us in this fascinating video, as the Union Limited embarks upon her steam odyssey through Namibia. This is a once-only steam rail tour through the great thirstlands of Southern Africa - 5000 kilometres of scrub and sand, culminating in the arrival at the Skeleton Coast. This documentary gives you an insight into the logistics of running such an ambitious tour, it examines the Imperial Germany of Namibia's colonial years, and it takes you on a silver service journey into the pioneering past.

The Apple Express  (2001)

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 60 mins

The scenic railway that runs from Port Elizabeth to Avontuur in the Eastern Cape is one of the very few narrow gauge railways left in South Africa today. The line is also the home of the renowned Apple Express - the dapper little train that is among our last real representatives of the narrow gauge steam tradition. 

In this documentary, we take a look at the past. present and future of the Avontuur Line. We meet the colourful railwaymen and locomotives of its history. We explore the scenery, the agriculture and the tourism potential of the region, and we search for an answer to the question: "Will the Apple Express survive?".

These videos primarily cover vintage farm machinery.

The Great 100 Working

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 1 hr 30 mins

In April 1999, South Africa played host to the Great One Hundred Working. This was a three-day celebration of our heritage. which culminated in the Great One Hundred Working World Record attempt. Our country's vintage tractors made history as one hundred and six of them all ploughed in one field at the same time, qaualifying for entry into the Guinness Book of Records. This documentary gives you a close-up view of the event, and of the machines that made our history. If you weren't there when the first world record was set, then this video is the next best thing !

Yass Tractor Plough 2001 - Australian World Record

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 60 mins

This video will give you the in-depth background to the Australian World Record of 2001. You'll witness the great event itself, and relive the magic of 299 tractors and implements clattering their way across a dusty field. They come in all shapes and sizes - some in original condition, others beautifully restored. Whatever their pedigree, watch them create a colourful and noisy spectacle as they claim the world record for Australia - the greatest number of tractors ploughing in one field at one time. With Ian M. Johnston's informed commentary uncovering the fascinoting history or countless machines, this video provides you with an hour or classic tractor entertainment.

The Great 400 Working - Vol 1

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 60 mins

We invite you to witness the build-up to a very special event - an event where South Africa earned her rightful place in history. The Great 400 Working was South Africa's answer to Australia, and was no less than the reclamation of our world record. In this curtain raiser to the Big Event, you'll meet some of the wonderful machines that took part and watch them being prepared for the challenge to come. When the Big Day arrived over 700 tractors would plough in one field to bring the world record back to south Africa. The great 400 Working, Volume One explores how it all began.

The Great 400 Working - Vol 2

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 60 mins

The Great 400 Working Volume II is the culmination of everything you saw in Volume 1. The moment when months of hard work finally bore fruit. When hundreds or Sourh Africans - and enthusiasts from even further afield - converged on the Eastern Free State to plough their way back into history. When - on 20th April, 2002 - some 700 vintage tractors brought the World Record back to South Africa. The excitement, the passion, the sound and the fury. The magnificent machines and the people who love them. All this awaits you in this unique video. If you were there, you'll want to live it all again. If you weren't, you can live through it now - with The Great 400 Working, Volume II.

African Harvest (2000)

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 30 mins

African Harvest is a documentary which explores the workings of one of Africa's most progressive farms - Sandstone Estates. This Eastern Free State enterprise \ represents millions of pounds' worth of foreign investment in Africa. The farm produces some of Africa's key food crops, and employs hundreds of local people. In recognition of its social and environmental responsibilities. Sandstone is centred on community-based initiatives - an aid programme for farmers in Lesotho, a higher education programme for local students, and a long-term commitment to biological farming.

Click here for the International Steam Page

Rob Dickinson