Fourteen Streams

>Railway Bridge at Fourteen Streams Image source

Fourteen Streams is located in Frances Baard District Municipality, Northern Cape, South Africa. The estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 1226 metres.

The railway line from Kimberley reached Fourteen Streams on 1 December 1890. Although this work had originally been commissioned by the Cape Government, powers of construction were transferred to the British South Africa Company, who undertook to build the line from Kimberley to Fourteen Streams and thereafter to Vryburg, in British Bechuanaland.  Eventually the railway stretched through Mafeking and the Bechuanaland Protectorate to Bulawayo and Salisbury in Rhodesia. On 16 October 1899 a local force of 270 men under Police Inspector Snow withdrew from Fourteen Streams to Kimberley, and the following day a Boer force under field-cornet Bosman marched into the village. Following skirmishes at the Fourteen Streams bridge on 28 March 1900, the village was returned to the Cape on 6 May 1900 when Boer troops under Gen SP du Toit retreated before a British force led by Maj-Gen Sir Archibald Hunter.

The bridge was dismantled in 1946 and moved all the way down to the Eastern Cape where it now bridges the Great Kei river. The original piers can still be seen crossing the Vaal river.
 
The village of Fourteen Streams, is a junction of the C.G.R. line to Klerksdorp for Johannesburg, is 695 miles from Cape Town, and has a post-office, telegraph office and an hotel. The Cape Government Railway crosses the Vaal River a little to the South of Fourteen Streams by a bridge 1,330 feet (405.4 metre) long. Probably no name in South African, has excited the public imagination more than the name of this station. How many thousands of travellers have expected to behold fourteen magnificent streams of water running through the thirsty land and have wondered about the width, depth, source, course and outlet of these wonderful streams. Never a train of new passengers ever crosses the bridge without a craning of new necks looking for fourteen streams, often, in droughty times, without seeing any at all!
The bridge was dismantled in 1946 and moved all the way down to the Eastern Cape where it now bridges the Great Kei river. The original piers can still be seen crossing the Vaal river.

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Last updated : 18-Sep-2017

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

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