Bridge over the Dwaalheuvel Spruit - Bridge of Five Arches

Between Waterval-Onder and Waterval-Boven the difference in altitude required a rack-railway which had to cross a deep ravine through which the Dwaalheuvel Spruit flows. It was the only rack rail outside of Switzerland at the time. Warren & Royce had the contract for the rack-railway section. This feature required that the bridging be done at an incline which precluded the use of a more conventional steel bridge. A stone viaduct with five arches was constructed hence the name 'Five-Arch Bridge'. The bridge was completed in 1894. With the tunnel it made an impressive ensemble.

When the new railway line on the northern side of the Elands Valley was opened in 1908, the viaduct was abandoned. During the 1920s the old track-bed between Waterval Boven and Waterval-Onder was converted into a dirt road, and, with the tunnel, the viaduct served admirably as a main road through the Elands Valley until the completion of the new national road replaced it in the 1970s.

The Five-Arch Bridge is regarded as a masterpiece of NZASM stonework and is the only extant bridge that is entirely of NZASM making, all others having had their steel super-structures replaced in time. It was declared a National Monument in 1963, now a Provincial Heritage Resource.

NZASM: Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij

Artefacts (accessed 26 April 2016).