NZASM Eastern Line Railway Station
During the early years of the construction of the Eastern Line there was a marked difference between the Lowveld station buildings from Komatipoort to Waterval-Boven, and those on the Highveld. The Lowveld structures dated from the initial construction years the NZASM did not at the time wish to rely too much upon the possible unavailability of local building materials. As the earliest possible use was to be made of stations for goods and passenger traffic, and the time limit set by the concession had to be taken into account, it was considered important to erect station buildings as quickly as possible. Also the unhealthy climate was a further consideration.
The NZASM found that it was too difficult and time-consuming to obtain natural building stones, prepare indigenous timber and make bricks. Sandstone, which was extensively used later, was indeed available more to the west, but it would have taken time to quarry and transport to the station sites. This was especially true of the first three station and halt buildings, viz Komatipoort, Oorsprong and Tenbosch.
The erection of the station buildings in the extreme east was made possible only by constructing them in Europe and sending them in sections to the Eastern Line to be assembled on site. Because station and halt buildings were of a more permanent nature, the NZASM constructed the Komatipoort, Oorsprong and Tenbosch buildings of so-called 'floatstone', a synthetic building material consisting of crushed pumice and chalk imported from Europe. Though the two halt buildings were somewhat smaller than the Komatipoort station building, all these buildings were very simple, rectangular structures with low-pitched corrugated iron roofs extended to form a platform canopy. The window frames were iron, whilst the doors and interior woodwork were of teak.
All sheds, houses and other dwellings were also prefabricated from top to bottom in order to facilitate speedy erection and even make it possible to dismantle them for re-assembly elsewhere.
[Extracted and edited from De Jong, et al, 1988: 119-120]
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.
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