The International Festival packages and ticket sales
03 to 12 April 2019

The Stars of Sandstone International Festival will run between 04 and 12 April 2019. Travel from Johannesburg on 03 April, ready for the first day.
Leave Sandstone on 12 April, either by coach back to Johannesburg or by chartered steam train to Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Germiston. Your
tour package will include transfers, entry to the Sandstone festival, breakfast and accommodation.

The programme
It is not possible to supply a fully detailed daily programme this far in advance. The events outlined each day may change and they will certainly be
expanded. For now, they give you an idea of just some of what will be on offer.

Trains will run throughout the day over the main railway, starting at 10h00 and culminating in a double headed Garratt trip around the Vailima loop in
the afternoon, arriving back at sunset. There will be numerous steam and diesel locomotives running, they will vary every day so that most of the
steam fleet will be seen in operation over the first four days and again over the second four days. The shorter Sebs Railway will operate every day,
featuring the smaller locomotives in the Sandstone collection. At times, Sebs Railway will offer rides and at other times it will feature photographer's
specials with industrial goods trains using wagons such as hoppers and cane cars.

In addition to the railway you will find traction engines, vintage tractors, machinery and cars, draft animals, military vehicles and aircraft in action
throughout every day. Special arena events will take place with each day having a theme, either military, draft animals and tractors, traction engines,
vintage cars and buses. Everything on display has an African heritage, making this the premier transport heritage event on the continent.

There will also be opportunities to fly in vintage aircraft (extra charge), ride military vehicles, ox wagons, vintage buses, rail-cars and much more.

Your Sandstone options

Sandstone entry tickets
If you prefer to plan your own transport and accommodation and only need entry tickets to the festival, Geoff's Trains will be happy to oblige.

A choice of tour packages
Alternatively, you can book a Geoff's Trains package that includes transfers between Johannesburg and Sandstone, accommodation, festival entry  
and the services of the Geoff's Trains management team. The morning photographic events can only be booked in association with one of these
packages.

Coaches leave Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport at 13h00 on 01, 03 and 08 April
, they return on 08 and 12 April.
These coach transfers make it possible to book a
number of inclusive packages:
Travel from Johannesburg on 01 or 03 April and return on 12 April. (The 01 April departure includes
two preview days with limited visitor numbers).
Travel from Johannesburg on 01 or 03 April and return on 0
8 April (Four or six days at Sandstone).
You can travel to Sandstone on 08 April and return on 12 April
(Three days at Sandstone).
Both the 03 to 12 April and the 08 to 12 April visits can be combined with
the mainline steam train to Bloemfontein and Kimberley.
If you are a photographer,
early morning photographic sessions can be booked to coincide with your visit.

The programme

Wednesday, 03 April 2019
You will be met at Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport and shown to your coach in time for a 13h00 departure. The transfer will take between 5 and 6
hours with a halfway comfort stop. An included dinner will be at your hotel or lodge.

Thursday, 04 April 2019
After breakfast, transfer to Sandstone in time for the 10h00 start, there will then be a non-stop programme of events until sunset. Today will feature
the two Lawley 4-4-0 locomotives that are between them scheduled to make eight journeys from the main Hoekfontein station to the Grootdraai loop
before running through Hoekfontein to Mooihoek and back. Each journey will take about one hour. During the morning there will be a passenger train
to Vailima siding, where it will take water before returning to Hoekfontein. In the middle of the afternoon, a double headed NGG16 Garratt powered
passenger train will travel to Vailima before continuing around the mountain loop back to Hoekfontein. A goods train with the NG15 will follow the
Garratt powered Mountain Wanderer as far as Vailima. Coach transport will be provided in the afternoon that will access photo run-past locations
prior to the arrival of the Mountain Wanderer and the train that follows it to Vailima. The coach will leapfrog the trains in such a way that different
photographs will be achievable. Space will be limited and participants in the early morning photo charters will have priority. You are also able to
travel on the Mountain Wanderer, but photographs will be more limited with that option.

The train timetable on every day of the festival will be similar, but with different locomotives.

This festival will be the first where the shorter Sebs Railway will be fully functional. This railway has been built to facilitate the use of the interesting
collection of smaller locomotives that Sandstone owns. In the past, these locomotives have not seen much action as they are unable to run a service
alongside their larger stable mates. During each day, a selection of smaller steam locomotives will run, some with passenger carriages and others
with goods wagons on trains that should please photographers. Sandstone are planning to expand their collection of smaller industrial type wagons
such as cocopans and sugar cane carriers to complement the interesting fleet of industrial locomotives.

New for 2019 will be organised arena style events that should appeal to both spectators and photographers. Each day, these events will highlight a
different facet of the heritage collection. The arena is a movable concept, it will be set up at an appropriate location for each day’s event.
Consideration will be given to the needs of photographers with an appropriate backdrop – normally the outstanding Freestate scenery, appropriately
dressed display teams and a live commentary. This morning an arena will introduce Sandstone’s draft animals, a rare collection of working animals
that cannot be seen in such authentic surroundings anywhere else. See the trek oxen and learn how they are trained, how they worked a Great Trek
wagon in spans of up to 20 animals, the various operational problems they encountered as they moved across Africa. This afternoon, a second
event will feature some of Sandstone’s operational vintage tractors and agricultural equipment.

Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner. You will be asked to specify your daily preferences for dinner so that the
organisers can arrange the meals and transfers.

Friday, 05 April 2019
The big event this morning will be the NG10 grand re-launch. This iconic locomotive has been magnificently restored by Lucas Nell and his team at
Sandstone’s Bloemfontein workshops. The launch will be followed by eight trains throughout the day operated by the NG10 and NGG11 locomotives
running between Hoekfontein, Grootdraai and Mooihoek. There will also be an NG4 tank locomotive to Vailima and Garratts around the mountain
this afternoon.
Sebs Railway will be running all day and the arena events will involve vintage aircraft, cars and trains all in the same picture - a transport
spectacular. This event will take place at the Sandstone Airport, en-route to Grootdraai. Aircraft and relevant motor vehicles will be positioned at the
airfield ready for runpasts with the Hoekfontein – Grootdraai trains.
The stargazer express will run tonight. Travel to a dark location on the estate where there will be an informative talk about the stars of the southern
hemisphere, a wonderful evening of beauty and enlightenment. This can only happen if the weather is clear and so may be postponed to another
day.
Return to your accommodation will be before dinner, or after dinner and the stargazer express.

Saturday, 06 April 2019
Today's regular trains will run with the NG10 and Peckett locomotives. The NGG11, the oldest working Garratt in the world, will run two trains to
Vailima and the usual Garratts will wander around the mountain.
Sebs Railway will be running and today's arena events will include the railway, traction engines, draft oxen and re-enactors who will create some
photographic opportunities of yesteryear, a timeless African agricultural cameo.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner.

Sunday, 07 April 2019
Today has a military feel. The main railway will have a military feel and the Garratts will run around the mountain this afternoon. The arena event  will
be The Sound of Thunder, a military display with cameos using tanks, other armoured vehicles, re-enactors, smoke and much more. Have your
camera at the ready - action stations!
Sebs Railway will be in operation as usual.

After dinner, there will be a lecture on an interesting subject related to the activity at the festival. This event may be switched with the starlight express
if it is felt that the weather may be more appropriate.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner and the event.

Monday, 08 April 2019

For the 03 to 08 April option
Guests who have booked the shorter tour from 03 to 08 April will leave at 09h00 this morning, with an included transfer back to Johannesburg Airport
that should arrive at about 15h00.

For the 08 to 12 April option
Leave Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport at 13h00, arriving at your hotel late this afternoon. Dinner will be included tonight.

For the 03 to 12 April option
Today will be a day to catch your breath, enjoy the action around the farm and the numerous trains that will run on both the main line and Sebs
railway. The main line will feature the Barclay and Fowler locomotives on the eight Hoekfontein - Grootdraai - Mooihek trains, with the NG15 running
morning and afternoon to Vailima and the usual 2 x NGG16 on the Mountain Wanderer.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner.

Tuesday, 09 April 2019
The railway will again feature the 2 x Class NG6 (Lawley) 4-4-0 locomotives on the eight scheduled trains supported by two Garratts for the Mountain
Wanderer and the NGG11 Garratt to Vailima.
Sebs Railway will be running all day with some of the smaller steam locomotives, some with passenger carriages and others with wagons. The
arena event will include vintage aircraft, cars and trains all in the same picture - a transport spectacular.
The stargazer express will run tonight. Travel to a dark location on the estate where there will be an informative talk about the stars of the southern
hemisphere, a wonderful evening of beauty and enlightenment. This can only happen if the weather is clear and so may run on another day.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner and the stargazer event.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019
The NGG11 and NG10 will be in action today on the scheduled trains, supported by an NG4 to Vailima and the usual double headed Garratts around
the mountain.
Sebs Railway will run a usual and today's arena events will include the railway, traction engines, draft oxen and re-enactors. The idea is to create
some photographs of yesteryear, a timeless African agricultural cameo.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner.

Thursday, 11 April 2019
Today will bring the Stars 19 International Festival to an end. The railway will bow out with the NG10 and NG15 locomotives supported by the NG4
and the double headed Garratts around the mountain this afternoon.
Sebs Railway will welcome you with the smaller steam locomotives and the arena event will be The Sound of Thunder, military cameos using tanks,
re-enactors, smoke and maybe some aircraft. Have your camera at the ready - action stations!
After dinner, there will be a lecture on an interesting subject related to the activity at the festival. This event may be switched with the starlight express
if it is felt that the weather may be more appropriate.
Return to your accommodation will be either before or after dinner and the event.

Friday, 12 April 2019
Today is a changeover day, the Stars International Festival will come to an end and the Stars Family Festival starts. Most international guests will
leave this morning on one of the following options.

Option One
Return to Johannesburg today, leave at 09h00 and arrive at about 15h00 in time for this evening's flights to Europe and England. You can also stay
in Johannesburg for one night and then join our tour to
Victoria Falls and the Chobe Game Reserve.

Option two
Transfer early this morning to the steam charter train.
Page updated on
21 June 2018

Tell me about Sandstone

Sandstone are great about
sending information, and they have
an interesting website with maps,
photos, videos on u-tube, stock
lists and much more.

Find out more here ...
Prices and booking information
The prices listed here may change at any time due to supplier increases or foreign currency adjustments.
All bookings will be controlled by the
Geoff's Trains Ltd booking conditions.

Stars of Sandstone Festival entry tickets:
Reserve and pay for your entry tickets here.
You will receive a confirming voucher from Geoff's Trains Ltd and your tickets will be issued by Sandstone prior to the festival.

USD134:              Per person per day

If you prefer a package that includes accommodation, transfers and the services of the Geoff's Trains team at Sandstone, please look at the
following packages.

The full International Festival:
03 to 12 April 2019

At Fouriesburg Country Inn
US$  2,695:
        Per person sharing an en-suite double or twin room
US$     943:         Single supplement
At Ficksburg Lodges
US$  2,192:
        Per person sharing an en-site double or twin room
US$     489:         Single supplement

Your transfer and accommodation package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation for nine nights, bed and breakfast
  • Return transfers between your accommodation and Sandstone
  • Sandstone entry for 8 days
  • Dinner on 03 April.
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains management team

Your Package does not include:
  • Lunches and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

The first half:
03 to 08 April 2019

At Fouriesburg Country Inn
US$  1,570:
         Per person sharing an en-suite double or twin room
US$     524:          Single supplement
At Ficksburg Lodges
US$  1,212:         
Per person sharing an en-suite double or twin room
US$     272:         Single supplement

Your  transfer and accommodation package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation for five nights, bed and breakfast
  • Return transfers between your accommodation and Sandstone
  • Sandstone entry for 4 days
  • Dinner on 03 April.
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Lunch and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

The second half:
08 to 12 April 2019

At Fouriesburg Country Inn
US$   1,288:         
Per person sharing an en-suite double or twin room
US$      461:         Single supplement
At Ficksburg Lodges
US$   1,025:         
Per person sharing an en-suite double or twin room
US$      239:         Single supplement

Your  Package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation for four nights, bed and breakfast
  • Return transfers between your accommodation and Sandstone
  • Sandstone entry for 3 days
  • Hotel dinner on 08 April.
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Lunch and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

Accommodation:
Fouiesburg Country Inn
Located in Fouriesburg, a pleasant country style hotel with en-suite rooms, full dining room and bar. The journey time is about 30 minutes by coach
from Sandstone.
Ficksburg Lodges and B&B.
There are a number of good B&B's and lodges in Ficksburg offering en-suite accommodation, we have secured rooms in these and can offer them
at a lower rate than the Fouriesburg Country Inn, we will advise you of the name of your lodge before the festival starts. Some lodges are larger than
others and have full catering and bar services, others are smaller with fewer services but you will have access to the public areas in larger lodges.
Most lodges offer dinner, there are also a number of restaurants withing a few minutes walk. All of the accommodation we use will be connected
with a coach pick-up and drop-off from Sandstone at scheduled times. The journey time is about 20 minutes from Sandstone.

Meals:
Breakfast is included in your booking, normally at your accommodation unless you are joining early morning photo sessions, when it will
be at Sandstone. You will receive vouchers for all breakfasts served at Sandstone.
Lunch is not included, there will be a number of catering outlets at Sandstone where a variety of lunch options can be obtained.
Dinners are only included when shown as such in the programme. Other dinners may be booked at Sandstone for USD27 per person per meal.
Dinners can be arranged directly with the hotel, Sandstone meals must be purchased in advance.
Light refreshments will be available throughout the day at Sandstone.

Coach transfers:
You will be allocated space in a coach that suits your Sandstone package and requested dinner/evening activity options. A schedule of
coach departures will be posted on a notice board at the hospitality hub and you will be able to discuss any issues or amendments with the
Geoff's Trains team. The coaches will run to a timetable and it will be your responsibility to ensure that you are on the correct coach in time
for departure. There may be an extra charge for private transfers or alternative meals should you miss your coach.

Book now!
If you are unsure what you wish to book, complete the registration form and we will discuss options with you.
If you have a question,
ask us here. You are also welcome to phone Geoff on Mobile +44 (0)7752143657. UK office hours please.
If you know what you want to book, complete the on line booking for here. You will receive an invoice and be asked for a 10% deposit with the
balance due 60 days before the festival starts. You can pay by card via Paypal (no commission) or by bank transfer.