Graham Leslie McCallum

The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man


As most Durbanites will know – the very first steam locomotive and train in South Africa steamed 155 years ago along a track between the Market Square, Durban and the Point on the 26th of June 1860. As the track lengthened to new horizons and branched-off to new locations, so new railway stations were built to service the traders and passengers who used the train for transport. Although many of us buzz along the highways in motor cars these days, let us not forget the contribution the railways made to establishing Durban, its many suburbs, as well as Natal and Zululand.

(below) The locomotive ‘Natal’ at the time of her restoration.

The 'Natal' steam locomotive at the time of her restoration

Advert noting the opening of the Natal Railway, 1860

(below) A painting recording the officious opening ceremony for the first railway in Southern Africa. In true British-style, the local Dignitaries, including his Excellency the Acting Lieutenant-Governor Major Williamson, Bishop Colenso and the Natal Railway Company Directors importantly took to the raised platform on the sandy Durban Market Square. The Military lined up smartly in open-order, rifles shouldered and dressed in their hot red woolen uniforms. The 85th Regiment Band struck up a patriotic air while the national flags were raised. The curious public drew near in their best going-out clothes, the women in their finery and brightly-coloured shawls while shielding themselves from the bright morning sun with raised parasols. Also among the spectators were some local Zulus, no doubt astounded at the fanfare and hoopla, not to mention the large locomotive that steamed and smoked-away like a living beast to the one side. It is evident from this image and others that the appropriately named steam locomotive ‘Natal’ would have been placed on her  4 foot 8.5 inch gauge tracks in this forward-facing position, no doubt assembled at the Point. Thus, she would have been coupled to her carriages at her front end for her ceremonial first journey. And so curiously, she reversed to the Point Railway Station with her important passengers.

Opening of the Railway between the Point and Durban, Market Square, Durban 26 June 1860

(Below) Railway Station No. 1 – Market Square Station, later known as Durban Station. In this fascinating photograph, the earlier mode of transport so widespread across Southern Africa (the ox-drawn wagon) is positioned to the foreground of the iron railway station building.

Photograph of ox-drawn wagon and oxen, with Railway Shed, Station behind. Where the man stands is on the present corner of Gardiner and West street, later location of the Natal Bank

A painting of Market Square Station and St Paul’s Church, Market Square, Durban. Engine shed is visible on the far left, with the Ticket Office and Goods Shed on the right. In the middle St. Paul’s Church can be seen.

A Painting of Durban Market Square Station and St Paul's Church, Market Square, Durban. Engine shed on the far left, and ticket office and Goods Shed on the right

(below) an historic photograph of labourers cutting the Point to Durban railway in 1860.

Building the Point to Durban Railway, Durban 1860

(below) A stamp commemorating the steam locomotive ‘Natal’.

The steam locomotive 'Natal'

(below) A photograph of the Durban Railway Station before the building of the ornate offices to its fore. This structure has been preserved, although it was moved some 30 metres to its present location to make way for an extension to Pine Street, after the old tracks to the Point were lifted.

Durban Railway Station before the erecting of the Railway offices, 1897

(below) The ornate Durban Railway Station at the corner of Pine and Gardiner Streets when it was a two storey structure. Built in 1898.

Pine Street, Durban, showing the Durban Railway Station and the Market House

(2 images below) In 1904 the Durban Railway Station had two additional storeys added to it. Fortunately, this imposing building has survived to the present time, when tragically many other Durban landmarks have been demolished in the face of crass and heartless development.  The present political dispensation might enact street name changes, thus disturbing historic timelines – but this building stands as a testament to our forefather’s sense of civic pride and their belief in the country’s future.

The Durban Railway Station

Durban Railway Station nd

(below) A coloured-in photograph of the intersection of Gardiner and West Street, showing the former Town Hall on the right, the Natal Bank on the left and the Durban Railway Station in the background. Take note of Deadman’s Tree in this image, a large fig tree that was sadly axed by a thoughtless Council in 1958.

Intersection of Gardiner and West street looking towards the Railway Station, Durban

(below) An illustration recording passengers at the Durban Railway Station. In the image an Indian couple, a Zulu women and an African policeman are depicted.

Durban Railway Station and Passengers

(below) A photograph showing a passenger train leaving Durban Railway Station, circa 1900. The Durban Market

Durban Railway Station with Steam Locomotive and Train

(below) Railway yard with the Durban Railway Station and Town Hall Clock tower in the background.

Station Yard, Durban Railway Station, 1900

(below) the Princess Christian Hospital Train alongside Durban Railway Station, 1900. During the Anglo-Boer War, the Natal Government Railways played a pivotal role in the war against the Orange Free State and the South African Republic.

The Princess Christian Hospital Train at Durban Station, 1900, Anglo-Boer War

A painting (split) showing the locomotive ‘Natal’ on its inaugural trip. Note how one of the carriages is festooned for the event.

Point Railway Station, Section APoint Railway Station, section B

(below) A drawing from the same vantage spot as the painting above. It is interesting to note that in both these images the locomotive is coupled to the carriages from its front end.

A drawing of the Point Railway station, locomotive Natal and shipping in the Bay of Natal

(below) A photograph of the locomotive ‘Natal’ and carriage alongside the siding at the Point Station.

The steam locomotive 'Natal', at the Point, Durban, Natal

The Point Railway Station, station No. 2. It initially consisted of a basic iron shed with a raised siding for the convenience of passengers. This station was located where the historic Fort Victoria was located and the latter Custom House. Ships entering the Bay of Natal would anchor along the inner shoreline of the Point, and from here passengers would disembark. What was at first a sandy shoreline where passengers were carried ashore by strong Zulu men from longboats, was later developed with projecting wooden wharfage and eventually transformed with the straightened and engineered St. Pauls Wharf. The town of Durban was situated several kilometres away to the north of the Bay, and before the railway, passengers and freight had to be transported in carts and wagons through the Point bush along rustic sandy tracks to the plain on which Durban was built, then across the bridge at Cato’s Creek and on into the burgeoning town.

(below) An early and informative photograph of the first Railway Station at the Point taken from the high ground that was the earlier military redoubt of Fort Victoria. The locomotive ‘Natal’ with cars is visible. Note – the iron shed with its curved roof is built immediately adjacent to the bay shoreline. 1860’s. At this early time only the wooden jetty behind the iron shed serviced shipping needs. In later years the bay’s shoreline was stabilised with wharfage right down to Cato’s Creek where in later years the Cato Creek Railway Station was built (now demolished).

The Point Railway Station and the locomotive Natal, 1860's

(below) A later photograph to the image above of the Point Railway Station and the ‘Natal’ locomotive. In this image we can see an additional two buildings on either side of the original railway shed, the one built on a stone plinth projecting into the bay.

The steam locomotive 'Durban' heading a train out from the Point, Durban

Later, when the railway was the preserve of the Natal Government Railways, the station was moved to a location further to the north of the Point. In 1890 a single story brick and mortar building was built at the corner of Point Road and Southhampton Street. This building acted as a Post Office too, and as Durban grew, a second story was added to the structure.

The Point, Railway Station

(above and below) The Point Railway Station as a single story and double story structure.

The Point Railway Station, Natal Gavernment Railways, corner of Billete and Point Roads, Point, 1911, Durban

The Bond Store was built in 1911 alongside the station for the undercover offloading and onloading of grain. This store’s total floor space was 61,747 square feet and had a 50 ton hydraulic lift, allowing railway cars to be lifted to its second floor. This fascinating building has survived and was renovated in the 2000’s into offices for the Port.

(below) The Bond Store

The Bond Store, Offloading and Onloading Facility, 1911, Total floor space is 61,747 square feet and has a 50 ton hydraulic Lift. Point, Durban

In 1877 the Natal Railway Company was taken-over by the Natal Government. Now called the Natal Government Railways, their first task was to extend the rail line to the top-end of the town. At this location, the Westend Railway Station was built. This building and junction no longer exists.

(below) A Natal Government Railway revenue stamp displaying their attractive insignia.

Natal Government Railways

(below) The Opening Ceremony to the Natal Government Railways in 1877, Durban.

Inauguration ceremony, Natal Government Railways, durban

From Durban Railway Station the line was extended inland to the top end of the town where the Westend Railway Station was built. This station was demolished. From here the line was logically extended in a south westerly direction in the direction of Congella Village and the lower end of Berea Road. The former route ran inland to Pietermaritzburg and was the old road taken by the Cape Dutch Settlers (later to be called the Voortrekkers) from and to their encampment at the head of the Bay of Natal. The latter road was constructed and hardened by the British settlers from the town of Durban. It ran inland to Pietermaritzburg from the west end of town, up and over the saddle of the Berea ridge where a tollgate was installed. At the bottom of Berea Road, the NGR constructed a railway station for the benefit of the Durbanites who had set up homes and businesses along this important road.

(below) A photograph of Berea Road Railway Station. Constructed in the colonial style with wide overhanging verandas of corrugated iron supported by wooden pillars to shield passengers from the hot Durban sun and inclement weather. Many of the early stations were constructed of wood and iron, but were later built in more substantial redbrick and mortar.

Berea Road Railway Station, Durban

(below) Berea Road Railway Station

Berea Road Station, Durban

(below) An aerial photograph of a locomotive and train steaming into Berea Road Railway Station. In the background one can see the Berea Ridge.

Berea Road Railway Station, 1911, Durban

A fantastic map of the railway system exists on the Umgeni Steam Railway, created by Bruno Martin… website

From the Berea Road Railway Station the line was extended to Dalbridge Railway Station (demolished), Congella Railway Station (demolished), Umbilo Railway Station (demolished) and then on to Rossburgh Railway Station.

(below) Congella Railway Station. This handsome building was constructed of redbrick with overhanging corrugated iron verandahs, sporting 4 ornamental gables, a cooling turret and three large pendant lamps to light the siding. (Now demolished).

Congella Railway Station, Durban

(below) The railway Bridge across the Umbilo River south of Congella Railway Station.

Umbilo Railway Bridge, Durban

(below) The Umbilo River Railway Bridge being stress-tested, 1878.

Umbilo Railway Bridge, Durban with steam train

Near Rossburgh the rail line split into three. This junction was known as the ‘South Coast Junction’ or ‘Booth Junction’. The first branch running to Clairwood Railway Station where the rail line branched in 2 again, one track running down the South Coast of Natal and the other running along the edge of the Bay to the following stations, namely Jacobs Railway Station, Wentworth Railway Station, Bayhead Railway Station, King’s Rest Railway Station, Fynnlands Railway Station, Island View Railway Station and ending its commercial route at Wests Railway Station at the foot  and headland to the Bluff. At Fynnlands Railway Station the line branched with a line running to Salisbury Island Railway Station. The second branch from Rossburgh ran to Booth Railway Station and then inland, while the third line ran to Seaview Railway Station and on to the hinterland.

(below) Wests Railway Station.

Wests Railway Station, Bluff, Durban, 1903

(below) In this photograph the Station Master poses beside the Wests Railway Station. Note how the Bluff rising precipitously in the background.

Wests Railway Station a

At the end of the line, Wests Railway Station allowed Durbanites to take an excursion to the Bluff shoreline and patronise Wests Hotel and Bar.

Wests Hotel and Bar, below the bluff, Durban, 1915

This line extended beyond Wests Railway Station to the breakwater at the headland of the Bluff. This line allowed port engineers to move large quantities of rock and concrete blocks via train to construct and maintain the breakwater.

(below) South Pier/ Breakwater.

The Breakwater, South Pier, Durban

An extension of the line from the Point Railway Station on the other side of the entrance tot he Bay of Natal allowed for the contsruction of Innes Breakwater (North Pier).

(below) Innes Breakwater, circa 1884.

The construction of the Innes Breakwater, North Pier, circa 1884, Durban

On the 1st of February 1880 the Natal Government Railways extended the railway line from Rossburgh Railway Station up and alongside the South Coast to Isipingo. Along the route the following stations were constructed –  Clairwood Railway Station, Clairwood South Railway Station, Clairwood Race Course Halt, Montclair Railway Station, Merebank Railway Station, Lamontville Railway Station, Reunion Railway Station, Pelgrim Railway Station, Isipingo Railway Station. Later the line was pushed along the coast to Umbogintwini Railway Station, Pahla Railway Station, Amanzimtoti Railway Station, Doonside Railway Station, Warner Beach Railway Station, St. Winifred’s Beach Railway Station, up to the village of Winkelspruit.

(below) Kingsway Road and the railway bridge where it crosses the Amanzimtoti River.

Kingsway Road and Rail Line, Amanzimtoti, Durban

(below) A 20th century image of the same area as the photograph above.

Amazimtoti, Durban showing river, and rail and road bridges

(below) Amanzimtoti Railway Station.

Amanzimtoti Railway Station

From Winkelspruit Railway Station the line was extended to Port Shepstone on the South Coast. Railway Stations along this route are Illovo Beach, Karridene, Umgababa, Ilfracombe, Umkomaas, Claustal, Renishaw, Scottburgh, Park Rynie, to Kelso Railway Station where the line split in two. One line inland to Ixopo passing the following stations, namely Esperanza, Umzinto, Inverugie, Braemar, Clenrosa, Sawoti, Dumisa, Kenterton, Jolivet, Knockagh, Highflats, Glen Beulah to Ixopo Railway Station. The second line from Kelso Railway Station ran on to Pennington, Sezela, Bazley, Ifafa Beach, Mtwalume, Turton, Mfazazane, Hibberdene, Umzumbe, Melville, Sunwich Port, Southport, Sea park, Umtentweni to Port Shepstone Railway Station. From Port Shepstone a line was eventually pushed through to Harding.

(below) Esperanza Railway Station.

Esperanza Railway Station, Natal

(below) Esperanza Railway Station.

Esperanza Railway Station, Natal 2

(below) Umzinto Railway Station.

Umzinto Railway Station, Natal

The railway line from Durban to Pinetown was officially opened on the 4th of September 1878. This line headed inland from Rossurgh Railway Station along the old Voortrekker road that ran from Congella Village to their capital at Pietermaritzburg. The railway headed west to Seaview Railway Station, Bellair Railway Station, Hillary Railway Station, Poet’s Corner Railway Station, Malvern Railway Station, Escombe Railway Station (Bowker’s Halt), Northdene Railway Station, Moseley Railway Station, Glenpark Railway Station, Sarnia Railway Station to Pinetown Railway Station.

(below) The rail line ascending ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ heading-up the the escarpment to Seaview. A deviation was built in 1907.

The train ascending Jacob's Ladder to South Coast Junction, Natal Government Railways

The railways allowed Durbanites to move out of the city centre to the suburbs that sprang-up along the railway line. Now citizens could travel by train to their work in the city and return at end of day. Small farmers and market gardeners could also move their produce to Durban and Pietermaritzburg with greater ease and speed.

(below) The railway line and train near Seaview.

Seaview, with Steam Locomotice and Railway, 1911, Durban

(below) Seaview Rail Cutting, 1911.

The Seaview rail cutting, 1911, Durban

(below) A locomotive steaming underneath the Seaview Road Bridge, 1911.

The Seaview Road Bridge with Steam Locomotive, 1911, Durban

(below) Bellair Railway Station. Built in 1900 as one of the first 5 stations commissioned by the Natal Government Railway. See for modern day images of this railway station.

Bellair Railway Station, 1911, Durban

(below) The railway line and siding to Bellair Railway Station.

Bellair and Bellair Railway Station, 1911, Durban

(below) contemporary image of Bellair Station.

Bellair Railway Station

(below) A train passing Malvern, 1911.

Malvern Railway Station, 1911, Durban

(below) Sarnia Rail Bridge, 1911.

Sarnia Rail Bridge, 1911, Durban

(below) A contemporary photograph of Pinetown Railway Station, courtesy of Greg Hart.

Pinetown Railway Station, photograph courtesy of Greg Hart

The line from Pinetown to Botha’s Hill was opened in March 1879 and its extension to Pietermaritzburb on the 1st of December 1880.

From Pinetown the line heads up the escarpment to stations Manors Railway Station, Wyebank Railway Station, Field’s Hill Railway Station, Kloof Railway Station, Gillits Railway Station, Emberton Railway Station, Hillcrest Railway Station, Padley Railway Station, Bothas Hill Railway Station, Alverstone Railway Station, Drummond Railway Station, Inchanga Railway Station, HarrisonRailway Station to Cato Ridge Railway Station. At Cato Ridge the line rejoins the line running from Rossburgh through Booth Railway Station.

(below) A steam train ascending Field’s Hill.

A train ascending Field's Hill, Natal

The line from Rossburgh through Booth also ran inland to Mount Vernon Railway Station, Cavendish Railway Station, Shallcross Railway Station, Klaarwater Railway Station, Induspine Railway Station, Marianhill Railway Station, Thornville Railway Station, Situndu Railway Station, Dassenhoek Railway Station, Delville Wood Railway Station, Nshongweni Railway Station, Cliffdale Railway Station, Hammarsdale Railway Station, Georgedale Railway Station on to Cato Ridge Railway Station where the line through Bothas Hill  and Inchanga rejoins the line.

From Cato Ridge the line runs to Camperdown Railway Station and on to the junction at Umlaas Road Railway Station.

At Umlaas Road the rail line splits into three directions. One to Mid Illovo, the second to Richmond and the third progressing on to Pietermaritzburg. Ashburton, Mkondeni, Pentrich and on to Pietermaritzburg.

1. Umlaas Road – Killarney Road – Edinglassie – Eston – Ripley – Ntinbankulu – Milford – Mid Illovo.

2. Umlaas Road – Thornville – Bafac – Baynesfield – Nelsrus – Arnold’s Hill – Greenhill – Durban Road – Richmond.

3. Umlaas Road – Etheldale – Mpushini – Ashburton – Mkondeni – Oribi Camp – Pentrich – Mason’s Mill – Pietermaritzburg.

(below) Eston Railway Station.

Eston Railway Station, Natal

(below) Mid Illovo Railway Station.

Mid Illovo Railway Station, Natal, 2

(below) Mid Illovo Railway Station.

Mid Illovo Railway Station, Natal

(below) Nel’s Rus Railway Station.

Nel's Rus Railway Station, Natal

(below) Kloof Railway Station. Photograph circa 1925. The station was built in 1912 and decommissioned in 1987. The original wood and iron station was built in 1890 before being replaced by the brick and mortar structure.

Kloof Railway Station

Krantzkloof Railway Station, circa 1905

Kloof Railway Station a

(above and below) Photographs of the Kloof Railway Station, now the Stokers Arms Restaurant. .

Kloof Railway Station, Stokers Arms Restaurant, 2015

The Locomotive 'Wesley' steaming into Kloof Railway Station, Umgeni Steam Railway

(above) The locomotive ‘Wesley’ that is operated by the Umgeni Steam Railway steams into Kloof Railway Station. This steam enthusiast company operates between this station and that of Inchanga Railway Station.

(below) Gillitts Railway Station.

Gillitts Railway Station

(below) Photograph of the Hillcrest Railway Station.

Hillcrest Railway Station, 1911, Durban

(below) The Durban to Pietermaritzburg Railway and Roadway leading up Botha’s Hill, 1903.

The Durban to Pietermaritzburg Railway and Roadway leading up Botha's Hill, 1903

(2 images below) The Botha’s Hill Cutting with an inset of the Botha’s Hill Railway Station, circa 1903.

Botha's Hill Railway Cutting, 1911. Durban


Botha's Hill Railway Station e

(above and below) Two contemporary photographs of the quaint Botha’s Hill Railway Station. Now sadly abandoned and neglected, but primarily still intact bar for missing ventilation turret on her roof. One can only hope that this historic building will be restored to its former charm.

Botha's Hill Railway Station

Botha's Hill Railway Station q

(above) An old photograph of Botha’s Hill Railway Station.

(below) A passenger train and locomotive alongside the Botha’s Hill Railway Station siding. This photograph appears to have been taken prior to the building of the brick and mortar structure of today.

Botha's Hill Railway Station w

From Botha’s Hill, the railway line winds and ascends the escarpment to Inchanga. In earlier days before the line was moved further inland, the approach to the station necessitated that the line cross a deep ravine over a rickety viaduct. This tall structure without sufficient lateral support, was affected by strong winds, causing the viaduct to sway noticeably. On windy days, the train would stop before bridge and the passengers would cross first on foot, followed up by the train.

(2 images below) The Inchanga Viaduct/ Bridge.

Inchanga Railway Bridge

(below) Inchanga Railway Station.

The locomotive 'Wesley' steaming into Inchanga Railway Station, 2015

(above) The locomotive ‘Wesley’ operated by the Umgeni Steam Railway, chugs into Inchanga Railway Station, 2015.

(below) A closeup of the copper and brass pulls, stops and guages of the locomotive ‘Wesley’, photographed at Inchanga.

The steam locomotive 'Wesley', Umgeni Steam Railway

(below) Rail line and sleeper fixing screws photographed at Inchanga Railway Station.

Railway line screws, Inchanga Railway Station, 2015

Inchanga Railway Station

Inchanga Railway Station v

(above) Contemporary photograph of Inchanga Railway Station. The Umgeni Steam Railway operates from this rural station and depot.

(below) Image of the old Inchanga Railway Station sign noting the the facts that in the distance of 38 miles from Durban on the Indian Ocean, that the rail line has alreaby ascended a surprising 2059 feet.

Inchanga Railway Station sign

Inchanga Railway Station Masters Cottage, 2015

(above) A contemporary photograph of the Station Master’s Cottage at Inchanga Railway Station. This structure houses a small restaurant and an interesting railway museum well-worth a visit.

Inchanga Railway Station b

(above and below) Two turn of the century photographs of the Inchanga Railway Station with the station’s staff.

Inchanga Railway Station, v

Inchanga Railway Station w

(above) An informative panoramic view of Inchanga Railway Station. In this image a steam train is drawn-up at the siding. The Station Master’s cottage can be located just above and to the left of the station. The inchanga Hotel can be seen on the hillside above the station.

(below) Cato Ridge Railway Station and siding.

Cato Ridge Railway Station and Siding, 1911,  Durban

(below) Cato Ridge Railway Station.

Cato Ridge Railway Station

(below) Camperdown Railway Station and Siding.

Camperdown Railway Station

(below) Umlaas Road Railway Station where the rail line split  into three directions.

Umlaas Railway Station 1911

(below) Umlaas Railway Station (vandalised and official neglect) (courtesy Hugh Bland)

Umlaas Railway Station b

(below) Locomotive and train leaving Umlaas Road Railway Station.

Locomotive and train leaving Umlaas Road Railway Station, Natal

(below) Water Tank at Umlaas Road Railway Station.

Water Tank, Umlaas Road Railway Station

(below) Thornville Railway Station, (Courtesy Hough Bland)

Thornville Railway Station, Natal, courtesy

(below) Pentrich Railway Station.

Pentrich Railway Station, Natal

(below) Pietermaritzburg Railway Station.

Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, Natal

(below) Pietermaritzburg Railway Station.

Pietermaritzburg Station

(below) Drawing of the arrival of the first steam train from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on the 1st of December 1880.

Drawing of the arrival of the first train from durban to Pietermaritzburg on the 1st of December 1880

(below) Pietermaritzburg Railway Station.

Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, Natal, v

(below) The Signal Cabin, Pietermaritzburg North.

The Signal Cabin, Pietermaritzburg North, Natal

(below) The Engine Running Sheds, Pietermaritzburg.

The Engine Running Sheds, Pietermaritzburg, natal

In 1867 a line was opened heading north from Durban, stopping at Greyville Railway Station, Churchill Road Railway Station, Stamfordhill Railway Station to Umgeni Railway Station at the small village built on the banks of the Umgeni River. Here the line branched just before the Umgeni River, with one branch running inland to a station on the Springfield Flats.

On the 25 of May 1878 a line was opened from Umgeni Railway Station to Avoca. This line crossed the Umgeni River at the railway bridge, heading inland to stations Greenwood Park, Temple, Kenville, Effingham to Avoca. From here the line was extended to Duff’s Road, Phoenix, Mount Edgecombe, Ottawa, Verulam, Cane Lands, Nyaninga, Flamingo Heights, Tongaat, Fraser, Compensation, Umhlali, Shakaskraal, Tinley Manors, Groutville, Charlottedale, Gledhow and on to Stanger. See.

(below) Greyville Railway Station.

Greyville Railway Station, Durban, Natal

(below) A photograph of Umgeni Railway Station with the Umgeni River and Umgeni Heights in the background. This photograph was taken on the ceremonial opening of the Durban-Umgeni line on the 25th of January 1867.

Umgeni Railway Station on the day of the Durban-Umgeni line opening, 25 January 1867

(below) A train and steam locomotive crossing the Umgeni Bridge from north to south.

A train and steam locomotive crossing the Umgeni Bridge from North to South

(below) The Umgeni River Railway Bridge.

The Railway Bridge across the Umgeni River, north of Durban

(below) Greenwood Park Railway Station.

Greenwood Park Railway Station, Durban North

(below) Verulam Railway Station.

Verulam Railway Station__Natal_Govt__Railways-800

Graham Leslie McCallum

Inauguration ceremony, Natal Government Railways, durban

Inauguration Ceremony for the establishment of the Natal Government Railways, Durban,



(below) Hilton Railway Station.

Hilton Railway Station, Natal 2

(below) Hilton Railway Station.

Hilton Railway Station, Natal, courtesy Tim Makin, httpwww.mapability.comblogstravel200706south-african-rail.html

(2 images below) Hilton Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Hilton Railway Station, Natal, courtesy Tim Makin, httpwww.mapability.comblogstravel200706south-african-rail.html

Hilton Railway Station, Natal 2

(below) Richmond Railway Station

Richmond Railway Station, Natal

(below Howick Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Howick Railway Station, Natal

(below) Nottingham Railway Station.

Nottingham Road Railway Station, Natal

(below) Nottingham Railway Station.

Nottingham Road Railway Station

(below) Lions River Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Lions River Railway Station, Natal

(below) Lion’s River Railway Station and siding photographed from the national road.




Nottingham Road Railway Station, Nov-Dec 2015 087

(above and below) Nottingham Road Railway Station.

Nottingham Road Railway Station,

Nottingham Road Railway Station, Nov-Dec 2015 084

(above and belowNottingham Railway Station,(below) Nottingham Road Railway Station.

Nottingham Road Railway Station, Natal

(below) Izingolweni Railway Station.

Izingolweni Railway Station

(below) Merrivale Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Merrivale Railway Station, Natal

(below) The vandalised Merrivale Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Merrivale Railway Station, Natal, v

(below) Sweetwaters Railway Station.

Sweetwaters Railway Station, Natal

(below Donnybrook Railway Station.

Donnybrook Railway Station

(below) Mooi River Railway Station.

Mooi River Railway Station, Natal

(below) Mooi River Railway Station.

Mooi River Railway Station

(below) Donnybrook Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Donnybrook Railway Station Natal q

(below) Creighton Railway Station (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Creighton Railway Station, natal

(below) Greytown Railway Station.

Greytown Railway Station, Natal

(below) Railway Bridge and Steam locomotive near Weenen, Natal.

Railway Bridge and Steam locomotive near Weenen, Natal

(below) Estcourt Railway Station.

Estcourt Railway Station Natal

(below) Estcourt Railway Station.

Estcourt Railway Station

(below) Port Shepstone Railway Station.

Port Shepstone Railway Station

(below) Highlands Railway Station.

Highlands Railway Station

(below) New Hanover Railway Station.

New Hanover Railway Station

(below) New Hanover Railway Station.

New Hanover Railway Station, Natal

(below) Franklin Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Franklin Railway Station

(below) Cedarville Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Cedarville Railway Station

(below) Swartberg Railway Station. (courtesy Hugh Bland)

Swartberg Railway Station, Natal

(below) Colenso Railway Station.

Railway Station, Colenso, Natal

(below) Wartburg Railway Station (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Wartburg Railway Station, Natal

(below) Underberg Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Underberg Railway Station

(below) Van Reenen Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Van Reenen Railway Station, Natal

(below) Ladysmith Railway Station.

Ladysmith Railway Station, Anglo-Boer War

(below) Ladysmith Railway Station.

Ladysmith Railway Station, Natal

(below) Ladysmith Railway Station.

Ladysmith Railway Station

(below) Waschbank (Wasbank) Railway Station. (Courtesy Hugh Bland)

Waschbank Railway Station, Natal

(below) Glencoe Railway Station (Glencoe Junction) previously known as the Biggarsberg Junction.

Glencoe Railway Station, Glencoe Junction, Natal

(below) Newcastle Railway Station.

Newcastle Railway Station 1900

(below) Newcastle Railway Station. (Sadly demolished).

Newcastle Railway Station, Natal, 1890

(below) A Boer Flatbed railway car with wagon and searchlight at Newcastle Railway Station, Natal. In 1899 the Boer burgher forces captured the town of Newcastle, renaming this frontier town Viljoen’s Dorp. The following year they were driven out by advancing British and Colonial Forces.

Boer searchlight at Newcastle

(below) South African Republic President Paul Kruger addressing Boers and local sympathisers at Newcastle Railway Station after the Relief of Ladysmith, Natal, 1900.

Kruger addressing Boers at Newcastle after the Relief of Ladysmith, Natal, 1900

(below) Newcastle Railway Station photographed during the Anglo-Boer War, showing British troops, 1899 – 1902.

Newcastle Railway Station, Anglo-Boer War

(below) British troops photographed offloading a car during the Anglo-Boer War, Newcastle Railway Station.

British troops offloading a railway car at Newcastle, Natal, Anglo-Boer War

(below) Turn of the century postcard of Ingogo Railway Station. The Battles of Ingogo, Lang’s Nek and Majuba are in the vicinity of this station. The poster has marked Mount Majuba with a penned-in X.

Ingogo Railway Station with Majuba in the background, 1907

(below) The last station on the Natal line was at Charlestown just before the Transvaal border. Photographed below at Charlestown, are the official delegates to the ceremonial opening to the railway line between Newcastle and Volksrust. Governor Sir Charles B. Mitchell (seated middle right) and reluctant Paul Kruger (seated middle left) present.

Opening Ceremony of the Railway between Durban and Charlestown


  1. Jon
    July 18, 2015

    Does anyone have any photos, pics of any kind of the Stationmaster”s house in Kloof that they could send to me?
    My wife lived there as a little girl in the 1960’s and would love to see any old pics of the house. Her father Ryk de Waal was the stationmaster there at the time.
    Many thanks

  2. Nick Grobler
    September 24, 2016

    Good day I just want to say that the last passenger train from Portshepstone was driver Mr Jan Terblanche and fireman Mr Nicolaas Grobler and the engine was a
    1927 GCA Garrett Number 2199 date 6 September 1971

  3. Ian Hart
    December 27, 2017

    Can anyone send me details/images of the railway that served the whaling stations located at The Bluff Durban. I am particularly interested in the period 1912-1915 when there was a station operated by The Shepstone Whaling & Fishing Company.

    Ian Hart
    Herefordshire, England

  4. Vannessa
    December 7, 2018

    Good day, is there anyone that could assist with maps, photos info on the Manors railway station – the 3 iron and wood homes.. please

  5. jeanbarker
    December 31, 2018

    Does anyone know whether the British Royal Visit of 1947 passed through any of these stations?

    • Julie Jansen van Rensburg
      February 22, 2021

      Sorry for the late reply, Jean, as I’ve only JUST latched on to this very interesting website. As for the Royal family – years ago I worked for the old Parks Board and our boss and I were chatting one day when the subject turned to railways. Said he that as a young man, he was a fireman back in ’47, and he and his driver were on a spur line on the DBN-PMB road, as they hauled what was known as the “FLOWER EXPRESS” – a single wagon containing decorations for the various stations where the Royal Train would occasionally be stopping. Early morning they waited at this particular station for the White Train, then once it left, Ted and his fellow-trainmen would collect the decorations off the platform, out them in the wagon and proceed to the next scheduled stop… The royal train stopped where they were waiting early morning, when – right opposite their locomotive – a blind opened in a coach right opposite them and there stood Princess Margaret (still a young girl at the time) – TOPLESS. She spotted the loco crew grinning from ear to ear, and screamed as she quickly drew the blind down again… Ted’s final remark about this little incident was: “We must have been the only railwaymen to have ever seen the Royal Tits…”

  6. Vanessa
    August 8, 2019

    Please can someone help me I need to locate staff from 1978 at the mount edgecombe railway station, I was told that my father worked there as a ticket officer.He was known as Vadi

  7. Nomadic Adventures
    October 21, 2020

    Great article. Would anyone have any knowledge of a train accident that killed the station master at Umgababa around 1934? His surname was Coetzee

  8. Ruth Swirsky
    January 6, 2021

    Does anyone know where I can locate a photo of Escombe station? I have seen one possibly taken in the 1980s somewhere

    During the inter-war years Escombe had the largest rail traffic in Natal after Durban, because of Morrisons Mail Order House. (which could be seen in the background of that photo)

    I have a photo in poor condition of the opening of the station in the early 1920s, when it was upgraded from being a halt. May and Moses Morrison (my grandparents) are both in the photo.

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