Vaal Triangle History

1889 - 1902


Klip Power Station

William Stow




1939 - 1945

Peace Negotiations



Riviera Hotel

Vereeniging History

Kruger made the concession to allow the rail link south in the hope of securing Britain's favourable reconsideration of a scheme which had been the subject of earlier negotiations. The Transvaal had sought a strip of land three miles wide through Swaziland and Zambaan's Land leading to Kosi Bay which lies south of Delagoa Bay and north of Durban. At the end of the corridor the Transvaal hoped to establish its own seaport which it had sought since 1836.
  At the London Convention of 1884, following the First Anglo-Boer War in 1880-1881, the Transvaal ceded its right to expand north for the right of access of Kosi Bay, but Britain would not honour the commitment. So, until the Republic was able to secure its own port at the end of the proposed corri­dor - which would have been Transvaal territory - Kruger sought escape from British pressure through the Portuguese territory of Mozambique and its port of Delagoa Bay. Apart from political considerations the shorter route to the sea through Mozambique to the east would reduce transport costs far below that paid for the long haul from the Cape ports in the south. Later, however, on April 25, 1895 Britain was to annex Zambaan's Land, effectively sealing off the proposed route; a move described by historians as a breach of faith which Kruger never forgave.
  Nevertheless, five years before this event, the Cape link was approved and the Cape Admini­stration, which operated the railways in the Free State on behalf of the Free State Government, undertook to extend the line from Bloemfontein to Vereeniging; and when the N.Z.A.S.M. was unable to complete the construction of the stone-pylon bridge over the Vaal, the Cape Government Railways built the temporary
wooden bridge over which the first train crossed in May, 1892.
  When the N.Z.A.S.M. failed to raise money needed to complete the bridge, the Transvaal Government was forced to borrow from the Cape Government Railways, and in return the C.G.R. was given a transit concession on the Transvaal line to Johannes­burg for a period of two years.
  Four months after opening of the bridge, the extension of the line to Johannesburg via Elandsfontein was completed and the first train steamed into Park Station on September 15, 1892. Then, following the completion of the steel trestle bridge at Vereeniging, the first train to cross over proceeded north to Johannesburg on November 5, 1892.
  By July, 1895 the N.Z.A.S.M. rail link from Delagoa Bay to Pretoria had been completed. Months earlier the Cape Government Railways transit con­cession had expired and the scene was set for the War of Rates.
  It was in the interest of the N.Z.A.S.M. to encourage Transvaal importers to use the new 432-mile line to Johannesburg from Lourenco Marques at Delagoa Bay in Mozambique. The line produced far greater revenue than the company obtained from the haulage of goods over the 49 mile track from Vereeniging to Johannesburg; and to
The first hotel built in Vereeniging ... photographed in 1894.
      Photo: Africana Library Johannesburg
The last coach to arrive in Johannesburg with English mail before the opening of the railway from the Cape.
Page 12
Last English mail coach
The Grand Hotel
Chapter 3: The First Bridge over the River Vaal