Dynamite explosion in Braamfontein

Braamfontei explosion.

Wednesday, 19 February 1896

One of the worst explosions in the history of South Africa occurred at Braamfontein station, Johannesburg, when an explosives train, carrying between 56 and 60 tons of dynamite, which had been standing for 3½ days in searing heat, was struck by a shunting train. The explosion left a crater, sixty meters long, fifty meters wide and eight meters deep and was heard 200 km away. The exact number of casualties was never ascertained, but at least sixty-two people were killed and more than 200 seriously injured. Some sources give the numbers as much higher. Surrounding suburbs as far as Fordsburg were partially destroyed. Some 3 000 people lost their homes and almost every window in the town was shattered.

References:
• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.

Last updated : 19-Feb-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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