Registered in 1853 with 30 000 shares of which 5 000 were reserved for the State, inferring the possibility of ownership the Cape Colonial government, which under its contract with the company reserved the right to purchase the company and all its assets, including the telegraph apparatus. In 1862 it commenced construction of the first 34 km of line from Cape Town to Eerste River, opened 1862 02 13, then on to Stellenbosch in that same year, and in 1863 to Wellington.
Eventually the Cape Government exercised its contractual rights and purchased the Company incorporating it into the CAPE GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS.
The first line of Railway was built under contract by the late Messrs. B. & I. Pickering, after the type of the then existing Railways in England with a gauge, or width between the rails, of 4' 8" (1.4 metre), and a concession or guarantee from the Cape Government of six per cent on the cost of construction while, simultaneously with this, another short section was built from Gape Town to Wynberg, a distance of about nine miles (14.5 km).
In 1871 the Government of the Colony became desirous of extending the Railway System, but finding the extension of these lines with the monopoly of access to the entrance to Cape Town a serious and difficult obstacle to overcome, ultimately purchased the Company's interest in the undertaking in order to secure direct Control over its construction and working. After the purchase was effected the battle of the gauges began, the 3' 6" (1.07 metre) gauge being finally adopted on a point of economy as the standard of all future lines, the gauge of the Wellington Railway being subsequently reduced in width to meet this requirement. (See Bisset 'Memoire')
Architects and Engineers on this site recorded as being associated with the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company.
BROUWER, Chief Engineer,
Brounger was the resident engineer during construction of the railway. The first section, to Eerste Rivier, was opened in February 1862 and Brounger also supervised the operation of this section. The line to Wellington was opened in November 1863, and a line from Salt River to Wynberg the next year. Brounger supervised the operation of the line to Wellington until June 1864, when he returned to England.
Charles Henry KOHLER came from England to Cape Town in 1852 where he practised first as an architect but turned to speculative building shortly after his arrival. His years between 1861 and 1866 are obscure and no buildings by him appear to be recorded but he may then have been in the service of this company.