Cape Government Railways

Gauge: 3ft 6in (1.06m)

The Cape Government Railways (CGR) was the government-owned railway operator in the Cape Colony from 1874 until the creation of the South African Railways (SAR) in 1910. It standardised the 3ft 6in gauge for the railways of South Africa.

The government’s plan was for lines to strike northwards, from the three ports of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London, towards Kimberley and the developing hinterland. These three lines became known as the “Cape Western”, “Cape Midland” and “Cape Eastern” lines respectively. They were intended to bring the towns of southern Africa’s vast hinterland into direct railway connection with the country’s ports, thus driving the development of the interior and building an export economy.