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Durban Station

Cnr Of Monty Naicker & Soldiers’ Way Sts, Street-Wilson & Fyfe, 1894-98, 1903-04.

The railway line, built in 1860 to connect the docks at the Point with Farewell Square, was the first in South Africa. But it was only after the establishment of Johannesburg that Durban embarked upon a terminus of architectural significance. Originally consisting of two storeys, the main commuter entrance was under the veranda on Monty Naicker (Pine) Street, with offices accessible from the corner of the obtuse-angled site. Concealed behind this Renaissance front of alternating horizontal bands of red brick and plaster, was the train shed with platforms, covered by a vaulted roof of metal construction. The building of a new railway station east of the city centre in the 1970s rendered the masterwork redundant. Following a drawn-out conservation battle, the façade of the terminus was saved and grafted to a new office building, while the train shed was severed and moved to allow for a new vehicular through-route, and recycled as a health and racquets club. In this process, the former locomotive workshops were also saved and recycled as a shopping centre.