Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Old Wagon Bridge

On May 21, 1892 all was ready for the first train from the south to cross to the Transvaal, or almost ready as it transpired. A report of the historical event, published in the Transvaal Advertiser two days later reads: 

"An unfortunate delay in con­nection with the opening of the railway had occurred. The engineers on the Transvaal side had made an error of about three feet in the levels between the temporary bridge and the station, and on laying the rails two days ago, this was found out, subsequently the rails had to be removed and three feet deeper excavated, and the gangs working without cessation until the last minute before the train came over ..."

The first photograph was taken during the Boer War (1899-1902) when the bridge was blown up - this is one of a series of '3D' pictures popular at the time.  Note that the 'railing' is different to what it is today possibly having been changed through the years.  

A temporary wooden bridge was hurriedly put up about 100 yards up river for the ox wagons to cross before this bridge was complete as their loads were urgently required on a daily basis.  It does not seem that this particular bridge was used for ox wagons, (due to it being too narrow), only trains, as this was fast becoming the quickest/safest way to transport anything.

The Vaal River is the boundary between the Free State and Gauteng (Transvaal).  The mining town of Vereeniging is located on the boundary, amongst many others.  The Vaal River is used for various types of water recreation and for that reason many camp sites, holiday homes and hotels are situated along it's banks.  The bridge now long disused, is draped with barbed wire discouraging any who want to venture on, or try to cross it.

Canon 5D Mk11.  Canon 100-400mm L.