On 8 July 1895 the Delagoa Bay railway line was officially opened by Paul Kruger. Its link to Pretoria was completed on 20 October 1894.The railway line was completed a few years after the end of the first South African War (Anglo-Boer War) and the restoration of the Transvaal Republic after it was occupied by Britain in 1877.
This link between the land-locked Transvaal Republic and Delagoa Bay, situated on the southeast coast of Mozambique, was significant to both Presidents Burger and Kruger as it would give the Republic access to the port in Delagoa Bay, thereby making it independent of the harbours of the British Colonies located in Natal and the Cape. Subsequent to discovery of the main gold reef on the Rand in 1886 the matter gained even greater urgency.
After the line was finished transport became safer, quicker and more profitable. Initially, transport-riders used ox wagons to transport goods to Delagoa Bay; this meant they ran the risk of contracting malaria or encountering lions.
Since the outbreak of the second South African War (Anglo-Boer War) the British had attempted to control the flow of supplies through the port in Delgoa Bay with varying degrees of success.
Anon, (n.d.), ‘The Delagoa Bay Railway and the origin of Steinaecker's Horse’from The South African Military History Society, June 1996 [online] Available at http://samilitaryhistory.org[Accessed: 06 June 2011]
Anon, (n.d.), ‘Building of Delagoa Bay railway line is completed’from South African History Online [online] Available at www.sahistory.org.za[Accessed: 06 June 2011]
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