Kroonstad station – before and after
24 October 2012 Leave a comment
KROONSTAD RAILWAY STATION TODAY – Jan and Martie Sempels took these heartbreaking pictures
Oct 24 2012 – The historic Boer-Republican Kroonstad railway station, dating from January 1892, was ravaged by a massive fire on January 24 2012 – however contrary to newspapers’claims new photographs reveal that it was not totally “destroyed’. Actually, most of its infrastructure remained intact and probably could be restored to its previous glory — if the political will had existed to do so.
TODAY: Kroonstad railway station, dating from 1892, as it looks today. Sixty passenger trains a day stopped there in 1955 yet now– although it is located at a crucial railway junction, it has been closed down and barred to all passenger-traffic after a mysterious fire in January this year.
Kroonstad had 70 trains a day stopping at its station in 1955:
Yet Kroonstad, with its railway station now totally disfunctional, is still being described as ‘an important rail junction”. The first train steamed into Kroonstad on 20 February 1892. During 1955 the station received 70 trains every 24 hours, one train every 20 minutes.
The town lies directly on top of the N1, and bypasses the town to the east. It is the second largest urban center in the Northern Free State, and an important railway junction on the main line from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Kroonstad is historically important to Afrikaners and Boers:
During the Second Boer War, from 13 March to 11 May 1900, the town became the capital of the Orange Free State, and subsequently the site of a British concentration camp to accommodate Boer women and children.
Kroonstad was established in 1855 and was the first town founded after the independence of the independent Boer Republic of the Orange Free State. Kroonstad also is primarily Afrikaans-speaking and lies in the middle of the country’s grain-producing region.
“Before” picture of Kroonstad railway station by rural explorer Horst Muller:
Afrikaans paper: Kroonstad railway station burns down completely: