The Bluff Railway

As most Durbanites will know – the very first steam locomotive and train in South Africa steamed 155 years ago along a track between the Market Square, Durban and the Point on the 26th of June 1860. As the track lengthened to new horizons and branched-off to new locations, so new railway stations were built to service the traders and passengers who used the train for transport.

Near Rossburgh the rail line split into three. This junction was known as the ‘South Coast Junction’ or ‘Booth Junction’. The first branch running to Clairwood Railway Station where the rail line branched in 2 again, one track running down the South Coast of Natal and the other running along the edge of the Bay to the following stations, namely Jacobs Railway Station, Wentworth Railway Station, Bayhead Railway Station, King’s Rest Railway Station, Fynnlands Railway Station, Island View Railway Station and ending its commercial route at Wests Railway Station at the foot  and headland to the Bluff. At Fynnlands Railway Station the line branched with a line running to Salisbury Island Railway Station. The second branch from Rossburgh ran to Booth Railway Station and then inland, while the third line ran to Seaview Railway Station and on to the hinterland.

(below) Wests Railway Station.

Wests Railway Station, Bluff, Durban, 1903

(below) In this photograph the Station Master poses beside the Wests Railway Station. Note how the Bluff rising precipitously in the background.

Wests Railway Station aAt the end of the line, Wests Railway Station allowed Durbanites to take an excursion to the Bluff shoreline and patronise Wests Hotel and Bar.

Wests Hotel and Bar, below the bluff, Durban, 1915This line extended beyond Wests Railway Station to the breakwater at the headland of the Bluff. This line allowed port engineers to move large quantities of rock and concrete blocks via train to construct and maintain the breakwater.

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