Through Africa’s Gateway into the World’s Largest Goldfields
MODERN TRANSPORT is exemplified by the striking picture above. It shows the famous South African express, the “Union Limited”, passing along the banks of the Hex river, side by side with a mail-
WHEN Francis Drake, on his famous voyage round the world, passed the Cape of Good Hope, he noted its beauty in the log of the Golden Hind -
The governor of this first settlement was Jan van Riebeeck, and his ship was appropriately called Goede Hoop. To-
Time, and the circumstance of Cape Town’s commanding position, led the insignificant settlement into its present-
But without adequate transport no dreams of great nations can be realized. The railway was born in South Africa in 1859, when the construction of a line from Cape Town to Wellington was begun. From the following year till to-
From Cape Town lines radiate in all landward directions, but the most interesting is the main-
Lord Milner visualized that the time would come when a million white people would call Johannesburg their town. And this bold conception has been made possible because of the railway, which gives “Jo’burg” rapid communication with the great ports of Cape Town and Durban.
One of the most modern and luxurious express services in the British Empire operates between Cape Town and Johannesburg. The well-
Each compartment and coupe of the articulated coaches is equipped with a wash-
The train has hot and cold shower-
The carriages in which the observation cars are included have lengths of 60 ft or over. One portion of the coach has accommodation for fourteen passengers, in three compartments and one coupe, while the observation car seats thirteen people.
The twin dining-
The second vehicle contains not only the pantry and kitchen, but it also has accommodation for the catering staff. In the kitchen there is every facility for storing the food and drink required for the journey. All the latest hygienic devices are used, and the fittings in this section are made of stainless steel. The shelves are detachable so that they can be removed for sterilization. Larders and store cupboards are ice-
The journey of the “Union Limited” is necessarily a long one, as stated, and neither detail nor expense is spared to make that time one of complete comfort to the passenger.
The type of engine used in hauling the Cape Town-
Another large South African locomotive used for hauling passenger trains over long distances is the 15 C.A. class, which has four leading, eight coupled and two trailing wheels (4-
Cape Town Station, the starting point of the “Union Limited’s” route, not only deals with long-
Electric signalling has now been introduced at Cape Town. A few years ago automatic signals had been installed to ensure the safety of trains on only the long sections of the line and to protect trains in tunnels. Now the speeding-
Another improvement has been the introduction of power signalling. One power-
Before the traveller boards the “Union Limited” at Cape Town for the journey to Johannesburg he will have seen something of South Africa’s mother city. He will have seen the world-
As the “Union Limited” draws away from Cape Town the mighty mass of Table Mountain begins to fade into the distance, and the waters of Table Bay, gleaming in the sunshine, are shut out from view by the intervening hills.
The train next speeds into the “Wine Country”, where, in the late seventeenth century, some two hundred Huguenots settled, after they had been driven from France through the passing of the Edict of Nantes. The long, warm valleys of Paarl and Wellington were suited to what had possibly been their former trade -
Lofty mountain ranges stand as Nature’s guardians to well-
As the “Union Limited” draws nearer to these mountains the bulk of the Matrooseberg looms overhead, and the train begins its long climb to the top of the Hex River Pass. At a first glimpse it seems to the traveller in the observation car, as the train rounds the sharp curves, that there can be no way up to the Pass. But then the express begins to wind along the contours of the foot-
Only the South African narrow-
The narrow gauge affords an easier negotiation of curves and obviates wide embankments. The latest main-
The wear of the rails under heavy traffic on sharp curves has been thoroughly investigated. On some of the 300-
The sleepers (7 ft by 10-
WINDING THROUGH VALLEYS, the trains have to overcome an average gradient of 1 in 40. This photograph of the “Union Limited” in the Tulbagh Kloof shows a difficult section of the line.
While the “Union Limited” continues to climb the Hex River Pass, vineyards and orchards, interwoven with silver threads of rivers and snake-
The mountains have now disappeared and their place has been taken by an apparently endless plain stretching away in the distance to the far horizon -
There are hundreds of thousands of these animals. The plain is a rich pasture-
This district has an air of mystery and romance and contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Quite unexpectedly, a wonderful sunset effect spreads away before the train. The sky stretches out like a golden sea towards which the express is heading. In this sea are set tiny islands -
Then a smart, white-
After dinner the passenger reads and smokes, and a little later an attendant makes up the beds for the night. The sleeping berths differ entirely from those on the English and Continental railways. In South Africa the passenger’s compartment is his home for the journey, and the beds are erected at night and removed in the morning.
Early the next day a steward brings tea, and while the passenger enjoys a shower-
At Kimberley Cecil Rhodes laid the foundation of his huge fortune, and the foundation, too, of a section of the British Empire extending the length of Africa: a dream that, in his early life, dominated his whole existence and incited him to found, practically single handed, the Dominion perpetuating his name -
The rise of Kimberley has been, to a large extent, responsible for the early development of South Africa. Although, when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand, the “big business” ensuing at Johannesburg partly eclipsed the fame of Kimberley, that town has gone on steadily mining diamonds for many years past. The aggregate value of the output is over £260,000,000.
The methods of mining and the recovery of the precious stones from the “blue ground” in which they are embedded have changed considerably with the times. The old quarries have given place to pits similar to those seen in coal-
The “blue ground”, too, instead of lying in open places for years, to be disintegrated by natural elements, is now at once put through the “pulsator”, a mechanical contrivance which handles nearly 70,000 tons of “ground” every week in order to extract some 10¼ lb weight of diamonds.
ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS. The railway overcomes the slopes of the mighty Matrooseberg (over 7,000 ft above sea-
At Kimberley passengers in the Durban section of the train have their coaches diverted. Just outside the town itself the railway track is divided, one line going due north to Rhodesia, the other -
The countryside changes little, apart from the fact that the open grass-
Some thirty miles on from Klerksdorp, the station after Bloemhof, the train speeds through Potchefstroom, the old Transvaal capital, dating back to 1839, four years after the beginning of the Great Trek from the Cape.
Some thousands of Dutch farmers, dissatisfied with the Government prevailing at the time, marched off to find new homes in the territory over which Moselkatze -
Approaching the Goldfields
And now another horizon swings into sight. Great white pyramids that might well be mounds of flour, smoke stacks and huge pit-
Less than fifty years ago Johannesburg was nothing more than a mining camp consisting of tents, covered wagons, and mud-
SUPERB VIEWS are to be seen from the observation coach on the “Union Limited”. This most popular section of the train resembles a miniature club-
On many South African trains the guards’ vans have accommodation for the conveyance of gold and diamonds. This comprises large safes, raised from the centre of the floor of the van so that a clear view on all sides is obtained by the guard.
Apart from its world-
The station at Johannesburg is of recent construction. It was completed in 1932 at a cost of nearly three-
CITY OF GOLD -
The eight long platforms, which, for convenience, are subdivided and numbered 1 to 16, are easily reached through subways. Another feature of this station is the provision of overhead gantries, connecting the various platforms with the main building and the electric luggage lifts.
It is into this impressively modern station that the “Union Limited” finally brings the passenger, having covered the distance of 956 miles from the Cape in thirty hours. The Johannesburg depot for long-
A SOUTH AFRICAN LOCOMOTIVE of the 15 C.A. class, type 4-