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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cape Colony To-Day


Cape Colony To-Day by A.R.E.Burton (author of ‘Cape Colony for the Settler‘)- 1907
Part One
The book gives an account of travelling mainly by train in the Cape Colony and what one would expect to experience. The book was written and compiled ‘under authority of The Cape Government Railway Department. Giving an account of 10 tours around the Cape Colony. For this blog I’ve taken extracts from the tours that give reference to the two ‘two foot’ gauge railways with in the Cape Colony, Tour No 3 and Tour No.4, both chapters are precede by maps showing the route of the branch lines.




Messrs.Thomas Cook & Son get a mention as the recommended travel agent one should use should one be planning a trip to the Cape Colony, from arranging ones passage by steamboat, for hotel accommodation, to acquiring a 3 month travel ticket from the Cape Government Railways.

A ticket with the Union Castle Line from Southampton ,leaving on Saturdays would take 16 to 17 days with a first class ticket setting you back £39.18.0

There are over 200 small black and white photos depicting scenes around the Colony.

Tour No 3

I pick up from the connection to the Hopefield Railway/Branch.



Mr. Burton writes ‘From Belleville Station we proceeded to Kalabas Kraal, where we changed from broad to narrow gauge line:-
Hopefield , a comfortable little place close to the great Berg River. The farmer (some of whom met us at the station) are apparently a well-to-do class, thriving on their live stock and produce of the soil, especially wheat, the staple produce of the district.’

‘Saldana Bay we took post cart to Hoetjies, that part of Saldanha Bay that affords the best anchorage and protection for vessels in bad weather.’

Mr. Burton in the chapter makes note of the stats of Darling a village along the line and the journey time by post cart from Hopefield to Hoetjies Bay

‘Darling Village,23 miles W.N.W. of Malmesbury and 9 miles N.W.of Hermon Station which is 60 miles from Cape Town. P.O.,T.O. and M.O. Hotel and Churches, Court House ,Post cart to Hermon two Hours. Population: White 790, Coloures 358

Post cart from Hoetjies Bay to Hopefield 45miles N.W. eight Hours.’


At the back of the book Mr. Burton make reference to the news lines authorized.
New Lines-The following new lines were authorized by Parliament in 1906:-

Hopefield to Hoetjies Bay( Saldanha Bay)……… Miles 40.…….£87 640

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hopefield Branch
Evidence of the Cape Government Railway




Well its been awhile since I’ve posted anything on my blog so I will start of with what become my almost obsession, the Hopefield Railway or also now known as the Hopefield Branch a term that came into use after ’Union’ as the saying goes.

I have just recently return from a holiday in the West Coast ,Velddrift ( about 150km north of Cape Town) where this railway lies. I was able to spend sometime away from the family exploring the branch which is still in use ,just and of coarse being re-gauge to 3’6”,but you know all that and if you don’t read some of my earlier postings.

Well while going over Hopefield Station ,its buildings and yard ,I came across some fence post made from old railway line near the station building and small goods shed. Three of the posts had clear embossing showing the CGR of the Cape Government Railway, what was also interesting is that the one fence post had an embossing showing that the rail was manufactured in the USA.

As I’ve said in previous posts is the Station building and the small goods shed next to it are more than likely to be the original CGR buildings built for the line when it first opened in 1903,but I have mentioned that before and will do so again in future postings. I have posted some photos showing the CGR embossing.