Reefsteamers
South Africa's professional steam train operator


Updates and Notices 2017


03.04.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Depot Report covering work that was done on 25 March 2017.  We are still in ‘Coach Lifting’ mode and the featured coach represents the halfway point (Phew!) of the 7-coach program.  (Mainly for the Day Sitter Train)  These have been the ‘easy coaches’ with the ‘Commonwealth’ bogies.  Several of the coaches to follow have older bar frame bogies with bolster collars, rope seals, shoulder pads on the bolsters and lubricated pivots.  Those bogies have to be physically rolled right out from under the coach into the open air to be inspected and serviced.  This means the coach vestibule steps have to be removed as well, and the coaches have to be physically jacked up higher for clearance to roll the bogies out…

Much more work in store so come and lend a hand!

Don’t forget to renew your annual membership or to join as a member to support steam. Contact the magnificent Claire N.E. at membership@Reefsteamers.com.  She’s away at the moment in a non-coverage area (Sandstone Estates) but will attend to your queries as soon as she gets within the simultaneous vicinity of an antenna and her laptop!

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates



29.03.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the Reefsteamers Depot Report covering the work that was done last week Saturday on 18 March  This covers the third coach (29013) of the seven that are to be done for this project.  We started work on Coach 29102 yesterday (25 March) so there are only three to go!

Yes .. this week’s coach and last week’s coach are only numbered one digit apart.

Please take note of the Calendar attached in the Depot Report.  We will be open through the holiday season but likely using alternative team leaders.  If you can make yourself available, we would need the assistance during the Easter Season to keep up the momentum on the coach projects and other work.  But we will need to know beforehand who plans to come to the workshops so we can plan the teams and whether to open the depot on specific days at all.

This email address is not monitored during the week.  Please address queries and sarcastic comments to leegates100@gmail.com.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!

19.03.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Reefsteamers Depot report covering the work that was done last week. (Sat, 11 March 2017)

Once again we find ourselves in the situation of only having about 8 or so regulars trying to keep the entire depot and trains in running order.  Some of our regulars are presently sick or recovering from illness, and others now have to work or attend to their studies on Saturdays. So we are really feeling the reduced man-power.  We have lost a lot of the momentum that we gained last year and things are slowing down again.

We ask that Reefsteamers members commit to getting involved during our depot work days on Saturdays. We do realise that not everyone can lift heavy objects and not everyone are mechanical engineering types.  But there are lots of smaller jobs that people can do, especially on the buildings and facilities.  But the smaller jobs need to be planned ahead in terms of the materials, tools and supplies needed as naturally the main focus tends to planning for the heavy and mechanical work of maintaining\repairing coaches and locomotives. 

If you can come on a Saturday, please email several days ahead of time Shaun Ackerman at engineering@reefsteamers.com  AND email Claire Nelson-Esch at membership@reefsteamers.com.  They can then select a light duty job to be done and organize the supplies/tools necessary so you can be productive.

Please ONLY use leegates100@gmail.com for communications.  This email address is not monitored during the week.

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates


04.03.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the Reefsteamers Depot Report covering the work that was done last week Saturday on 25th February.  I have also repaired the contacts lists from the recent issues we had, as some contacts reverted to old addresses and others went missing.  I was not able to merge or update from my backups .. .which was VERY annoying.

If you missed some reports, you will find them on our Website www.reefsteamers.com

I was not at the depot today (Saturday) as I will be assisting at the HobbyX 2017 at the Northgate Coco-Cola Dome tomorrow.  That meant house work and Office Work had to be rescheduled for today.   Thus, there will be no Depot Report covering today’s (4 March) activities in the workshop.  L

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!


11.02.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is a belated Reefsteamers Depot Report Covering work that was done on the 11 February 2017.  Since the work covered by the report, a start has been made on cleaning and painting the exposed undercarriage of the reported-on Sleeper Coach and starting the reassembly of the recently serviced brakes.

Hannes Bester is back and was happy to do the black-paint spraying.  Compared to all the sand blasting he had been doing, it was a welcome light duty break!  He even got to do it under a roof!  (Decadent luxury!)

This weekend’s gritty 15F 3046 smokebox reassembly work was performed by none other than senior driver, Chris Saayman. As stated previously, we no longer have full time staff to reassemble locomotive smokeboxes after they have been stripped and cleaned after each trip.  This is now Saturday Volunteer Members’ work until further notice.  Footplate guys, you really should consider signing up for this duty and for engine duties in general, to do your share of supporting the engines that you have the privilege of operating.

Everyone, don’t forget to sign up for the HobbyX 2017 expo as announced by ‘Mamma Baire.’  She will growl if you don’t, and there will then be no more tea, crunchies and muffins in the 15M Shops.  And what would poor Ackerman do then?  The more people we have at the expo, the shorter the shifts will be. And we would like to avoid the usual situation of three or four people doing 90% of the work.  Due to the rules of this year’s expo arrangements, we are not allowed to sell any items so there won’t be memorabilia on display. But we do need to canvas on membership and talk about our train trips.  I am presently updating the 4-year old presentation(s) this week, so that could provide a talking point to get a conversation started.

After giving up in disgust the previous week, I stubbornly did some repair\cleaning work on this email account since last Friday and it is functioning again.  Amongst other issues, the Exchange Cache Mode was toggling wrong and had to be set several times. I don’t know why it switched in the first place!  But I am still going to look for a new Service Provider and you will be informed of the new email address when it becomes valid.  I will ask Claire to do so when (eventually…) I get it organised.  The usual service providers are very skittish about providing semi-bulk email services for people like us and I’ve been turned down by quite a few already. 

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates
Stubbornly unrepentant ferro-equinologist !
Steam Power – It’s the Wheel Thing!

04.02.2017 Dear Reefsteamers and Friends of Steam

Here is the latest Depot Report, covering work done up to 4 February. (Last week.)

I am having major issues with the email service at the moment, and am looking for a new provider.  Until then, emailed Depot Reports are going to be erratic

But regardless  of what happens, new PDF versions of Depot Reports will still be available on a weekly basis on our main website, www.reefsteamers.comand our Reefsteamers Facebook Page = https://www.facebook.com/groups/reefsteamers/

Continues to be updated nearly every day by myself and others.

You will just need to bravely go out onto the wild web and get the news!

Enjoy the read

Lee Gates