It was the power of steam that drove the expansion of the British Empire during the Victorian Era, and the Cape Colony was no exception.

The first steam-train line in the Cape was completed in 1862, and ran from Cape Town to Eerste River. Within a year, the route had been extended to include Stellenbosch and Wellington. The first train to arrive at the new Simon’s Town Station was greeted on 1 December 1890 by the entire town.

Gradually, a network of railway lines spread throughout the province, managed by Cape Government Railways; while in the north, the Netherlands-South African Railway Company facilitated the expansion of the railway network in the-then independent South African Republic.

By the time the four provinces merged to form a nation in 1910, an expansive national railway system had effectively been established.