n Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century
Chapter 4 :the rise and fall of rail - fluctuating fortunes for modern rail infrastructure up to the 21st century : infrastructure

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



Whilst railways had played a major role in building up South Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they unfortunately also became a "political toy". Many politicians "got to parliament" by promising voters their own branch lines, and far too many lines were built - which even today the successor to the early rail authority is trying to make profitable. Despite this, railways played a major role in the early development of South Africa. Unfortunately the "once mighty" rail system had, by the end of the Second World War, degenerated so much in the condition of its infrastructure that a massive effort was necessary if it was to be restored to its earlier prime role in transportation in South Africa. Added to this was the problem facing railways worldwide - the dawn of the era of road traffic. Just as inland water transport (canals) had developed, reached its peak and then subsided, to be replaced by the steam engine, so too was rail approaching the end of its dominant era, and was shortly to be replaced as the prime mover of goods and people by the new invention - the road motor vehicle powered by the internal combustion engine.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error