Norval's Pont Historic Rail Bridge in Norvalspont, Northern Cape
Norval's Pont was established in 1848 when a Scot named Norval built a ferry at this point.
On 17 December 1890 the ferry was replaced by an impressive rail bridge when the railway line from Colesberg Junction to Bloemfontein was opened. It was considered to be the best bridge in all of South Africa, about 500m long, with 11 huge columns of solid concrete. The bridge sections were all made in “kit form” in Britain and shipped out much like meccano.
Norval's Pont was an important railway stop for passengers travelling to Bloemfontein and the Witwatersrand goldfields. On 1 November Boer forces from the Orange Free State captured the town and held it until 3 March 1900 when they began to retreat. In the process they dynamited the bridge over the Orange River.
The dynamiting of the first higher railway bridge by the Burgher Forces of Gen. De Villiers, was largely ineffective as the British forces merely had to hoist the blown out sections back into place, pop in a few new bolts and the railway was once again operational in fairly short order.
The present railway bridge was erected in 1904 and the upstream bridge strengthened and revamped for road vehicles that no longer had the use of the last Glasgow Pont.
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