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NZASM Barberton Branch Line
Barberton district, Mpumalanga

NZASM: Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij: Architect
Type:Railway Line
Style:Industrial Archaeology

The Kaap goldfields in the district of Barberton had been established in 1884.

When the alignment of the NZASM Eastern Line was taken directly to Kaapmuiden there was local political agitation to have Barberton connected by rail. Surveys undertaken by the NZASM had indentified the difficult terrain and subsequent high cost of the line, so there was no enthusiasm for the venture. Local entrepreneurs Lewis and Marks with Frank Watkins crated a syndicate to construct the line, and to this end contracted PETTEGREW & CO. The same difficulties that beset the building of the Eastern Line in the Lowveld prevailed - difficult terrain, malaria and tsetse fly, in this case exacerbated by heavy rains and flooding in 1895, which damaged the two Kaap River bridges, then still under construction. The contractors floundered, and the Watkins Syndicate terminated the contract and dissolved the syndicate. The NZASM had no recourse but to take over the construction, which was completed in 1896.

Structures found along this line (from Kaap Muiden to Barberton) are:

Bridge north of Greenstone Station 1
Bridge north of Greenstone Station 2
Bridge south of Greenstone Station
Culvert north of Tonetti Station
Bridge south west of Revolver Creek Station
Bridge over Louw's Creek
Bridge over the Sheba River
Bridge over the Kaap River at Avoca
Bridge over the Kaap River (Joe's Luck Bridge)
Small culvert at Noordkaap Junction
Bridge south of Noordkaap Junction
Hospital at Caledonian Station
Building south of Caledonian Station
Large arched culvert at Fairfield Mine turn off
Bridge south west of Caledonian station
Bridge north of Barberton
House, Kruger Street, Barberton
House, Joubert Street, Barberton
House ruin, Nourse Street, Barberton

Writings about this entry

Anonymous [Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorwegmaatschappij]. [c.1909]. In Memoriam N.Z.A.S.M. Amsterdam: JH De Bussy. pg 17, 34-37
Bornman, Hans. 2006. Pioneers of the Lowveld. Barberton: SA Country Life. pg 44-45
Clarke, Nicholas J, Fisher, Roger C & Simelane, Siphiwe. 2016. NZASM-footsteps along the tracks : the identified extant built residue of the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij (1887-1902). Pretoria: Visual Books. pg 99-107
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 212 ill, 215-221