This is the company floated for the construction and operation of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR, Transvaal Republic) railway network before the Second Anglo-Boer War, particularly the connection between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay (Lorenço Marques, now Maputo) and that with the Orange Free State Republic, Cape Colony and Natal Colony railway systems, the consequence of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek(ZAR) policy to lay a railway line across the friendly territory, Mozambique, through which connection would be made with the outside world without crossing British territory. The Volksraad nominated a commission in 1874 to study the laying of a rail connection with Delagoa Bay but the plans were wrecked by a shortage of capital and the British annexation of the ZAR in 1879. Independence was restored in 1881 after the first First Anglo-Boer War.
The NZASM was established on 31 June 1887. The chief engineer, RAI Snethlage, and his colleagues started their surveying at Komatipoort in 1887, but malaria and tariff disputes between the Republic and Portugal delayed construction. Consequently the
NZASM first began laying a railway between Johannesburg and Boksburg (the 'Rand Tram'), which was opened in 1890 and later extended to Springs and Krugersdorp. The completion of a railway bridge over the Vaal River in 1892 made possible the connection to the Cape by way of the Orange Free State through the completion of the Southern Line.
Railway conferences, in which the NZASM also took part, were held in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town in 1897 and 1898 between the Republics and the British colonies in South Africa. In April 1899 the successor to the Chief Engineer MIDDELBERG, who had left at the end of 1898, Jhr JA VAN KRETSCHMAR VAN VEEN, had under his control a staff of 1770 Netherlanders and ex-Netherlanders, 4477 South Africans of which 3700 were black and 777 white labour and 1615 representatives of 26 other nationalities.
On 1899 09 13 the Executive Council of the ZAR put the railway lines, the staff and the rolling stock of the NZASM at the disposal of the Commandant-General. After the British occupation of Pretoria the NZASM archives were taken over by the IMPERIAL MILITARY RAILWAYS (IMR) on 1900 08 03. All NZASM properties were confiscated on 1900 09 12, after 1400 members of staff and their families had been repatriated to Europe by the British authorities. The last serving staff of the NZASM left Komatipoort on 1900 09 18, soon followed by Jhr. Van Kretschmar van Veen. The Portuguese government delivered NZASM rolling stock in Lourenzo Marques to Britain and on 1901 01 10 the company ceased its payments. In 1908 an arrangement was made between the British government and the NZASM by which the company would receive more than £300 000 in compensation and the British government undertook to destroy all shares which were in the possession of Crown agents for the colonies. The NZASM was dissolved on 1908 10 13.
Commemorative of the NZASM are the administrative block of the South African Railways which was opened in Pretoria in 1964 and occupies the site of the former offices of the Netherlands company; plaques in Bloemfontein and Pretoria in memory of Netherlanders and ex-Netherlanders in the service of the NZASM who were killed during the war; and the NZASM monument which was unveiled at Waterval Boven on 1934 08 28. The association of past NZASM officials existed until about 1960. Their last big gathering took place in Pretoria in 1945, half a century after the opening of the Eastern Line (Delagoa Bay Railway), which had originally been celebrated in a splendid fashion in Pretoria from 1895 07 08 - 1895 07 10.
[JAN PLOEGER. 1973. In SESA, Vol 8: pp. 156-8.]
The following lines were undertaken by the NZASM
Rand Tram (1890-1899)
Southern Line (1890-1893)
Eastern Line (1889-1894)
Barberton Branch Line
South-Eastern Line (1894-1896)
South-Western Line (1895-1899)
BURG, Johannes Rienk
DE ZWAAN, WJ Name found on some of documents dealing with the construction of the Heidelberg Railway Station, on the south-eastern line of the NZASM. (De Jong et al, 1989: 185)
GEERS, Leendert Marinus
GRADON, Henry Thomas
KESTING Jean Jacques
KLINKHAMER, Jacob Frederik
VAN LISSA, VAHC
DE WILDT, ME
VAN DER MADE, C
VAN DER MEULEN, GH
VAN EELDE, AGA
VAN IJSENDIJK, JE
VAN KRETSCHMAR VAN VEEN, GA
VAN LENNEP, A
For other entries relating to the NZASM see
NZASM Building Materials
NZASM Steel bridge superstructures