Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Part 2 Mr Burton’s account for this blog starts with him coming out of the Knysna Forests after spending a night ‘outspanned’ ‘Keurbooms Pont, he tells of travel from there the 14 miles to Assegai Bosch (two words in his account) .Here is his account ‘Fourteen miles through more bush scenery brought us to Assegai Bosch Railway Station and Village on the Avontuur line. The Avontuur railway train leaves Port Elizabeth station, traverses that magnificent expanse of agricultural country known as the Long Kloof and between Humansdorp and Kroome River Heights thousands of acers of excellent arable land, which are held by the farmers of the district, and beyond Kroome River Heights, through Long Kloof to Avontuur, a well-watered country. The railway will enable the farmers to export their farm produce to market profitably, as they have hitherto vainly attempted to do. The line is a light one 178 miles in length and is so arranged that it will embrace as many farms as possible en route. The farmers gave the government the necessary land for the railway thus lessened the cost of the line. Although a two foot gauge looks somewhat toy-like, yet this line is so well balanced and secured that the train runs as steadily as any on the wider gauge. The steepest gradients is one in forty and the sharpest curve two and a half chains. In some places the rock cuttings are twenty feet high. The scenery through Van Staaden’s Pass from Thornhill to Gamtoos and from Humansdorp to Assegi Bush is very fine and many steep gradients and sharp curves are negotiated with care and ease that distinguish the Cape Government engine drivers. The journey to Avontuur is full of interest. On crossing the great iron bridge at Van Staaden’s Gorge Valley is obtained. From the river bed is 250 feet and it may be supposed that the view up and down the valley from either side of our carriage was very effective. In flood time when the waters come rushing and roaring down the Gamtoos, the spectacle is sublime. From Van Staaden’s to Loerie Valley the engineering work appears to have been carried out under unusual difficulties judging by the contour of the country, the height and apparent inaccessibility of the track ,and the frequent sharp turnings and twisting’s ‘’up above the world so high’’. The train emerging from the valley ascends again to the top of the mountain track and down at a good speed until it reaches_ Kabeljauws, a small sea-side railway station and hamlet on the banks of the Kabeljauws River where wayside refreshments are obtained. Large numbers of people alight here annually to visit Kabeljauws Bay, a place not at all unlike Algoa Bay, although ,of course ,not so extensive. There is a very fine sandy beach and good bathing. We now proceed in the train along by the sea-shore until- Jeffrey’s Bay is reached. This is a very popular sea-side bathing and fishing place and a general resort of holiday makers. It is nine miles S.E.of Humansdorp and has a Post Office.’ Mr Burton’s account to be continued……….
Map with the Avoontuur Branch

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