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NZASM Eastern Line
Pretoria district, Gauteng

NZASM: Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij: Architect

Date:1889-1894
Client:NZASM
Type:Railway Line
Style:Industrial Archaeology
Status:Extant but altered

The ambitious and crowning achievement of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek was the construction and commissioning of the Oosterlijn from Pretoria, through Middelberg, Waterval Boven, Waterval Onder, Nelspruit, Komatipoort and on to Lorenço Marques (now Maputo) harbour.

While the express purpose for the formation of the NZASM in 1887 was to build this line, there were delays on the Portuguese side of the border. The McMurdo's concession had first to be cancelled and the Portuguese Government take over the contract before progress was made. When built, this section provided for the transport for the materials from the harbour to the ZAR.

The Eastern line was divided into twelve sections and each contract awarded separately. The NZASM were hesitant to engage local firms for the difficult first section. Both for ensuring that the job get done and for Dutch prestige, a home company was appointed. It was VAN HATTUM & CO, being JC VAN HATTUM, J KOOY and P LANGEVELD, of proven ability having done work in Argentina and on the Panama Canal. They were appointed to four sections from the Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) border, a distance of some 100km.

CLARK & WIRTH were engaged to do the earthworks of some 3km from the border to the Komati River. In that time the foreign workers started arriving. The climate and disease were their natural enemy and many were to die of fever or accident. Through friction between Van HATTUM & Co and V VERWEY, the NZASM's chief engineer, their work was curtailed to just beyond Crocodile Poort, and WALKER & Co appointed in 1891 to the contract of the 11km to Nelspruit. JAMES BUTLER & Co (James BUTLER and George PAULING) undertook the difficult task of the Crocodile Poort construction, in sterling fashion.

With the completion of the Southern Line materials could more readily be transported and work could commence on the western section simultaneously with that in the east.

WARREN & ROYCE undertook the challenging task of the bridges, tunnel and rack-rail section between Waterval Onder and Waterval Boven.

From Pretoria along this line (from west to east) were the following stations:
SILVERTON
EERSTE FABRIEKEN
VAN DER MERWE
ELANDSRIVIER
SCHIETPOORT
BRONKHORSTSPRUIT
WILGENRIVIER
BALMORAL
BRUGSPRUIT
WITBANK
GROOT OLIFANTSRIVIER
UITKIJK
MIDDELBURG
PAN
SPRINGBOKLAAGTE
WONDERFONTEIN
BELFAST
DALMANUTHA
MACHADODORP
Waterval Boven
WATERVAL ONDER
NOOITGEDACHT
GODWANRIVIER
Elandshoek
Schagen
Alkmaar
NELSPRUIT
Krokodilpoort
Kaapmuiden
Malelane
DOORNHEUVEL
Hectorspruit
OORSPRONG
KOMATIPOORT

Railway bridges and culverts along this line, of which this line has the greatest number in the NZASM enterprise, from Pretoria (west to east) are:
APIES RIVER
BRONKHORSTSPRUIT
WILGERIVIER
GROOT OLIFANTRIVIER
KLEIN OLIFANTRIVIER
Dwaalheuvel Spruit (Bridge of Five Arches)
Bridge West of Waterval Onder
Black Eagle Bridge
Bridge East of Hemlock Station
Culvert East of Hemlock Station
Bridge at Ngodwana
Bridge west of Alkmaar Station
Bridge at Alkmaar
Bridge east of Alkmaar Station
Bridge west of Cairn Station
Bridge over the Nelspruit
Bridge over Karino Road
Bridge west of Krokodilpoort Station
Culvert west of Krokodilpoort Station
Krokodilpoort Bridge 2
Krokodilpoort Culvert
Krokodilpoort Bridge 1
Bridge over the Kaap River
Culvert west of Salt Creek
Bridge over Salt Creek
Bridge west of Hectorspruit
Bridge over the Komati River

The only NZASM Tunnel is to be found on this line.

Other structures associated with this line:
Staff quarters - Library, Waterval Boven
Headquarters, Waterval Boven
Tunnel, Waterval Boven
Gangers Cottage, Waterval Onder
Toilet Block, Waterval Onder
Hospital Block 2, Waterval Onder
Hospital Block 1, Waterval Onder
Cottage, Waterval Onder
House, Ngodwana
House 2, Alkmaar
House 1, Alkmaar
Cottage 2, Kaapmuiden
Staff rondavels, Kaapmuiden
Cottage 1, Kaapmuiden
Staff rondavels, Malelane
Cottage, Hectorspruit
Single Men's Quarters 2, Komatipoort
Recreation Hall, Komatipoort
Single Men's Quarters 1, Komatipoort
NZASM Graves


Writings about this entry

Anonymous [Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorwegmaatschappij]. [c.1909]. In Memoriam N.Z.A.S.M. Amsterdam: JH De Bussy. pg 16, 17, 19
Bornman, Hans. 2006. Pioneers of the Lowveld. Barberton: SA Country Life. pg 37-42
Bouten, PH. 1941. De aanleg van t Oostespoor. Pretoria: Bond van Oud NZASM Pioniers. pg All
Bulpin, TV. 1956. Lost trails of the Transvaal. Cape Town: Timmins. pg 259-271
Bulpin, TV. 1951. Lost trails of the Lowveld. Cape Town: Howard Timmins for Hodder & Stoughton. pg 217-231
Davies-Webb, Paddy. 2009. Memories of the Lowveld's Elands Valley 1854-1983 : recollections of a lifetime in the Valley and its surrounds. Unknown: Paddy Davies-Webb. pg 11-18
De Jong, RC, Van der Waal, GM & Heydenrych, DH. 1988. NZASM 100 : 1887-1899, the buildings, steam engines and structures of the Netherlands South African Railway Company. Pretoria: C. Van Rensburg Publications on behalf of the Human Sciences Research Council. pg 104 ill.,105-157
Pienaar, UdeV. 2012. A cameo from the past : the prehistory and early history of the Kruger National Park. Pretoria: Protea. pg 350-357