Mystery blaze destroys the beautiful Cape Dutch gables of the Potchefstroom railway station

September 30, 2020


On 19 September 2020 at 23:00, a security guard noticed flames coming out of the old station building.

Firefighters were notified immediately, but as they arrived the roof had caved in and by the time the fire was extinguished at 01:20, the building had already been destroyed, along with the ticketing office and the adjacent building.

Trains would stop at the century old building on long-haul trips between Johannesburg and Cape Town and was a popular tourist attraction.

The new Potchefstroom station was built in 1918 and came into use in 1919. It was built in the Cape Dutch style and won third place in a competition for railway stations in the British Empire for its architectural style. (Potchefstroom Museum)

This is the second historic building in Potchefstroom that was destroyed in a fire this year. The officers’ residence, which is located on Witrand’s site and was part of a British military camp in Potchefstroom almost 107 years ago, was destroyed in a fire on Friday afternoon, 17 July.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported and the railway tracks and old steam engine on site survived the fire.

A blow to the heritage of the country as well as financially, the cause of the fire remains unknown at this stage.