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NZASM Eastern Line Bridge over the Groot Olifants River
Emalahleni (Witbank) district, Mpumalanga

NZASM: Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij: Architect

Type:Railway Bridge


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25°48'23.92" S 29°19'08.69" E Alt: 1420m

This is one of the NZASM more impressive bridges, located on the Eastern Line between Witbank and Middelburg. It is of a similar design to the one that crossed the Kaap River along the same line of which only the piers remain. It comprises two double-arched coursed ashlar abutments and two piers, spanned by three sets of inverted steel truss girders of 30m spans each. The bridge was not damaged in the Anglo-Boer War but one of the piers has subsequently been encased in mass concrete. The original steel was supplied by Pletterij Den Haag in the Netherlands. The bridge posed logistical challenges to the Scotsman, A Plowman, who subcontracted to Warren & Royce. Coffers had to be built in the river in order to found the piers, and a cableway installed so as to be able place the steel girders. As with all of the NZASM railway, all rail and steelwork was replaced over time by heavier profiles to accommodate the increased tonnage of rolling stock and freight.