The first railway line in South Africa, between Durban and the Point, is officially opened

Tuesday, 26 June 1860

On 26 June 1860, the first steam train in South Africa made its first official journey between Durban and the Point.

The distance of the railway line was only 3, 2 km, and the journey is said to have taken only five minutes. However, this short journey was the beginning of a widespread South African railway service.

The next railway developed that followed was between Cape Town and Eerste River, which was opened on 13 February 1862.

The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 led to increased railway construction throughout the country, notably the Cape main line between De Aar and Kimberley.

The Durban Station that was built to accommodate travellers on the Durban-Point line still stands today, the main building of which has been declared a national monument.


  1. Kemm, K. (1997) "South Africa features prominently in history of rail transport" [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 June 2009]
  2. Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds) (1970) Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa. Cape Town: NASOU, v. 9, p. 218-19.
  3. Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.

Last updated : 16-Mar-2011

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

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