The International Festival packages
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 to hit the
ground running on 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 the breadth of what will be on offer.

Any times detailed here may also change and will depend on factors such as the travel time between your hotel and the estate and railway
timetable alterations. They are included to give you an indication of what to anticipate each day.

The locomotive selection and arena events give you an idea of how the programme will run. It is planned that the first four days the events
will mostly be repeated in the second half of the festival.

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 late this afternoon, arriving back around 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
Three different tour packages are available for the international festival. You can travel from Johannesburg of 03 April and stay for the full
international festival, leaving on 12 April. Alternatively, there is a shorter package that leaves Sandstone on 08 April. A third option leaves
Johannesburg on 08 April, ending with your return transfer on 12 April. The slightly shorter tour running between 08 and 12 April can be
combined with the mainline steam train to Bloemfontein and Kimberley, an alternative to booking the full festival and the charter and a good
option for anyone with limited time.

Geoff's Trains can
also sell you a ticket for Sandstone entry only, but not for groups of more than four. Accommodation is limited in the area,
and transport between accommodation and Sandstone, and around the estate,
can prove difficult. The Geoff's Trains packages offer other
benefits as well, you will have access to our representatives, coaches will run around the estate for photographers to tie in with the more
important train movements and the morning photographic opportunities can only be booked in association with a package.

Wednesday, 03 April 2019

12h00. Leave OR Tambo Airport. (Coach)
18h00. Arrive at your hotel.

You will be met at Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport and shown to your coach in time for a 12h00 (noon) departure. The transfer to your
hotel will take between 5 and 6 hours with a halfway comfort stop. An included dinner will be at your hotel.

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 noon, arriving at your hotel late this afternoon.

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, either returning to Johannesburg and their onward journey home, or joining the steam charter that will take
them to Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Johannesburg.

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.

Option two
Transfer early this morning to Bethlehem to join the steam charter train.
Page updated on
11 December 2017
Geoffs trains tours

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

The full International Festival:
03 to 12 April 2019

US$3,167: Per person sharing
US$ 809:   Single use of a twin or double room
There are a limited number of single rooms available at no surcharge. Book early!

Your package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation at Fouriesburg for eleven nights, bed and breakfast
  • Entry to Sandstone for 9 days (09h00 to end of events)
  • Return transfers between your hotel and Sandstone
  • Hotel dinner on 03 April. (Other dinners can be included on request)
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Entry to the Festival before 09h00.
  • Lunch and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights


03 to 08 April 2019:

US$1,839:  Per person sharing
US$526:     Single use of a twin or double room

Your  Package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation at Fouriesburg for five nights, bed and breakfast
  • Entry to Sandstone for 5 days (09h00 to end of events)
  • Return transfers between your hotel and Sandstone
  • Hotel dinner on 03 April. (Other dinners can be included on request)
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Entry to the Festival before 09h00.
  • Lunch and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights

08 to 12 April 2019:

US$1,456:  Per person sharing
US$396:     Single use of a twin or double room

Your  Package includes:
  • Your transfer from Johannesburg
  • Accommodation at Fouriesburg for four nights, bed and breakfast
  • Entry to Sandstone for 3 days (09h00 to end of events)
  • Return transfers between your hotel and Sandstone
  • Hotel dinner on 08 April. (Other dinners can be included on request)
  • The services of the Geoff's Trains team

Your Package does not include:
  • Entry to the Festival before 09h00.
  • Lunch and most dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights


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 included in your hotel where indicated as such in the programme. Other dinners may be at your hotel or at Sandstone and
should be pre-booked. Vouchers for Sandstone or the hotel are USD27 per person per meal (Non commissionable). Dinners can be
booked directly with the hotel if you wish but 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.



Sandstone entry tickets only:
Any day, between 04 and 14 April 2019


US$ 168:  Per Adult, per day.
US$ 101:  Per child under 18, per day.
For groups of 5 or more persons, please contact Geoff's Trains.

Your ticket includes:
  • Entry to the Sandstone Festival on the dates specified on your ticket. Gates open at 09h00 and close after the last event of the day.

Your ticket does not include:
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Transfers between your accommodation and Sandstone
  • Transfers around the estate (If space is available, these can be booked on the day)
  • Access to the early morning photo sessions
  • Any other services exclusive to packages offered by Geoff's Trains or other tour operators.


How to book
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.
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 US$100 non-
refundable deposit
(Full price for Sandstone ticket only sales). You can pay by card via Paypal (no commission) or by bank transfer.
Updates:
11 December 2017
The feldbahn locomotive has been
withdrawn from the programme
because it requires boiler repairs
and may not be ready in time.