Meiringspoort Once Almost On The Rail


In the 1930s, entrepreneurs planning economic development of the Karoo proposed building  a railway line through Meiringspoort to link Beaufort West and  Mossel Bay. This, they  felt, would create new markets for the south-western districts of the then Cape Province and so develop the infrastructures of settlements on both sides of the Swartberg.  A conference, attended by all public bodies, businessmen, farmers and other interested parties was held at Mossel Bay in September, 1934. Delegates heard that the plan had been proposed a few years previously, but was abandoned due to lack of finance. It  was again under consideration. Approaches were to be made to the Railway Administration and the Government to build a line from Le Roux Station in the Klein Karoo to Beaufort West in the heart of the Great Karoo.  Chambers of commerce, farmers associations and local government organisations all supported the idea.  It was reported that the route for the line had already been surveyed. Cost of construction was estimated at £400 000, or £7 000 a mile.  Experts felt this was greatly over-stated as “there were only six miles of Meiringspoort where hard rock may present problems.” Despite support and enthusiasm for the project,  which all agreed  would open up “the most picturesque part of the country,” the scheme was  again  abandoned due to shortage of money


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