A symbol of the Cape's early railways
Farmer's Weekly|August 06, 2021
A ganger’s cottage near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape is a reminder of the Cape Colony’s railroads built from her port cities to the Griqualand West diamond fields during the 1870s and 1880s
Mike Burgess

The construction of railways to link Cape Town, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and East London to Griqualand West began in the early 1870s and was completed by the mid-1880s. Surveying the routes and constructing the railways brought unique challenges, not least the East London line that had to be built through the Cape’s turbulent Eastern Frontier region in which the 9th Frontier War raged in 1877 and 1878, followed by the Transkeian Rebellion of 1880 and 1881.

THE CAPE’S FIRST RAILWAYS

Before the discovery of diamonds in 1867, only a few privately funded railway initiatives had taken root in the Cape Colony. For example, the very first railroad in the region was laid by the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company (CTRDC). It was opened for traffic in the mid-1860s and stretched from Cape Town, via Stellenbosch, to Wellington.

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