Photographers Index

Cape Government Railways

Active Dates: circa 1873 - circa 1910
Active Area: Africa (continent)
South Africa (nation)
Cape of Good Hope (region (general))
Likenesses: None
Photographs: See list of photographs
Publications: None found.
Related Entries: None found.
Cape Government Railways was established by the Cape Government around 1873 to operate lines previously administered by the Cape Town Dock and Railway Company, with the commissioners of crown lands and public works in charge. The first general manager, Charles Bletterman Elliott was appointed in 1880 and he was responsible for a significant improvement in the efficiency of the administration. He remained in the post for nearly 25 years.

Between 1875 and 1880 the total distance of lines in the Colony rose from 154 to 913 miles. By 1899 this had reached 2001 miles. From 1889 to 1895 Cape Government Railways also operated the Orange Free State Railways. With the establishment of the Union of South Africa on 31 May 1910, the railway companies of the four separate territories (Cape of Good Hope, Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State) merged to form South African Railways and Harbours with Cape Government Railways contributing almost a half of the total mileage of 7577 miles (Lingen 1960, pp.1-27).
Sources: Lingen, A. van (1960), 'A century of transport', Johannesburg: Da Gama Publications Limited.

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