THE TEST OF TIME

This beautiful stone arch bridge supporting the railway line between Grahamstown and Alicedale was designed and built 125 years ago by the South African railway engineer, Guybon Damant Atherstone.

Of local interest is that he was born in Grahamstown on 20th June 1843 and schooled at St. Andrew’s College, which is down the hill from where I live. A real local lad, he was employed by the Cape Government Railways, during which time he completed this railway line in 1896. Having garnered a fine reputation for designing and building railways across the Eastern Cape, he died in Grahamstown on 15th February 1912.

This single arch bridge supports the railway where it crosses the road that wends its way through the Highlands area before reaching Alicedale. As with the photograph above, this view is from the Grahamstown side:

The branch line, which covered 56 km of difficult terrain, closed in 2009. There are now sections where farm gates or fences cross the line which has become overgrown by grass and shrubs here and there. The arch remains firm:

It is a joy to see the workmanship evident in the dressed stone:

The underneath of the arch appears to be clad with bricks โ€“ unless these are stones cut to that size and shape:

Here is the view of the bridge from the Alicedale side:

While the railway is no longer in use, the bridge has stood the test of time and still stands proud.

Note: Mr. Tootlepedal, this post was compiled with you in mind.

31 thoughts on “THE TEST OF TIME

    • While reading about this bridge I came across interesting references to the names of families who have been here for two centuries – there is so much to discover about our past!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for illuminating the history behind this lovely old bridge. As you will know, one of the residences at Rhodes is Atherstone House. Now I know after whom it was named. Your first image is particularly appealing. Drew me right in!

        Like

    • I love stone arches, yet I too have always been struck by the height of this bridge – all to do with keeping the railway level. The latter follows the gentle curves of the hills – sometimes below the road and occasionally on the other side.

      Liked by 1 person

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