The station at Matjiesfontein was built in 1878 as part of a grand plan to open up the interior of South Africa for trading. Originally it was a small depot but the station developed into an influential business under the leadership of James Logan, providing water for the steam engines and refreshments for the travellers, amongst other things. Travellers stopped in the station and could walk across the road to the Lord Milner Hotel.
The station looks much like many of the old stations in the UK today! In this old photograph note that there are no electric lines, and the tower in the background left would have been the water tower for the steam engines.
The railways in the Western Cape in 1895 were developing to service the mining industry in particular, but in 2017 don’t seem much further ahead. The Blue Train, the premier rail journey in South Africa, offers luxury at high cost but I wonder if the travellers have any idea or ‘feel’ for the country through which they are travelling at high speed.
The station building is used as a museum today, with fascinating memorabilia of the village and hotel, and other bits and pieces, like the cameras.
Matjiesfontein has more to offer – I hope you will keep reading!
The Blue Train