THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAY SYSTEM 1875–1900
Dr Roger Stewart, business director and author
The story of the nineteenth-century development of the skeleton of the Cape and South African railway network is about the realisation of what seemed, at the time, to be an impossible dream. The railway network commenced almost simultaneously from three coastal towns all directed towards the diamond region and was extended to the Transvaal Republic when gold was discovered, and to Beira in Mozambique. The story is remarkable because it was achieved when there was no steel or coal industry in the Colony, no locomotives, no rail engineers, no skilled labour force, and insufficient hardwood for sleepers. The route traversed mountains where there were no contour passes, there was inadequate water for long distances; in Mozambique, there was water, but also lethal tropical diseases.
Stewart, R. 2021. A Cape Odyssey: essays inspired by historical maps of the Cape. Hermanus: Footprint Press.
You might be interested in the release of the second updated and redesigned edition of the above book, which is described at www.acapeodyssey.com, and available in hard and soft cover at https://footprintpress.co.za/shop/. Participants receive a 20% discount if the book is ordered from the author: complete the request at https://acapeodyssey.com/about-author-%26-contact#b1f45de8-31d0-49c3-8c99-12bc2860d5d1 or email RogerStewartOnline@gmail.com.