The Cape Government Railway (CGR) from Cape Town was opened to Matjesfontein (192 miles 66 chains. Altitude 2966 feet) on 1 February 1878. From Matjiesfontein [today’s spelling] the alignment followed the course of the Bobbejaan River eastwards. The next passing loop was Whitehill (199 miles 27 chains. Altitude 2715 feet).
The Cape Government Railway’s [CGR] construction of a railway from Cape Town to Kimberley (1875-1885) was governed by the imperatives of rapid construction and the limitation of costs. Consequently the alignment followed contours and minimised cuttings and embankments. Sections of this alignment became inadequate as traffic increased and faster times for train operation were demanded. Consequently the re-alignment of certain sections became imperative for operating and cost efficiencies. This work was tackled piecemeal when funds were available.