‘Railway line’ on Fish Hoek Beach turns out to be different piece of history

Date:1 February 2022 Tags:, ,

Excitement travelled through Cape Town for history-enthusiasts after it was reportedly discovered that a ‘hidden gem’ had surfaced on Fish Hoek beach. However, in killjoy news, it now turns out that the ‘old railway line’ discovered on the beach isn’t exactly what it appeared to be.

Photographer Nigel Riley was on the scene to what was thought by many to be an old railway line lying dormant for decades, possibly dating back to the early 1900s.

The City of Cape Town recently took to clear up the mist surrounding the mystery line and expressed that:

“The remnants of what was first thought to be a temporary spur line, built in 1929, but now considered to be remains of the first beach revetment built in Fish Hoek in 1930, were briefly exposed on the beach yesterday. The very low beach levels exposed this piece of history which has been buried in the sand for over 90 years.”

“The initial confusion with the rail line stems from a reading of A History of Fish Hoek, 1818 to 1968, written by Eric Rosenthal and published by the Fish Hoek Chamber of Commerce in 1968. Rosenthal mentions efforts by the then Railway Department in 1929 to remove the dunes at Fish Hoek beach and dump the sand at the Cape Town Harbour.”

Not all historical-railway hope is lost for Fish Hoek however, as The Historical Society of Cape Town expressed that there was once a railway line to Fish Hoek from Wynberg during the 1890s.

Picture: Nigel Riley


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