Braamfontein Train Station Explosion

Braamfontein Train Station Explosion

On the 23rd of March 2020, after the hard lockdown was announced we started a series where we shared the history of Joburg, places and events for sixty consecutive days on social media. We have now compiled all of them here as part of our blog. If you missed them, you now have a chance to catch up on them!

Our Day 1 story was the Braamfontein Train Station Explosion in 1896.

1896 – Braamfontein Station Explosion

124 years ago: 19-Feb, 1896 when Jozi was just ten years old, a tragic accident happened when a stationary freight train compromising of eight locomotive carrying dynamite (56 tons) was left in the sun and exploded at Braamfontein Station killing more than 78 people.

Figure 1: Braamfontein dynamite explosion. Biggest non-nuclear explosion. 23.81 tons of dynamite exploded. 19 February 1896. This picture was taken 4 miles away.


This was one of the earliest mining disasters. It was reported in the Star newspaper of the day that an estimate of 1500 to 3000 homes were destroyed as far as Fordsburg, every window in the centre of Jozi was blown out and the explosion was heard up to 200kms away.

Figure 2: NZASM 40 Tonner locomotive being recovered after the explosion.


It was said to be one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.

Figure 3: The crater on the site of the explosion.

Image 4: Blown away houses in the affected areas such as Vrededorp, Brickfields and Braamfontein.

Figure 5: Almost 80 people were killed, 700 were wounded, and 1,500 were left homeless.


Know your Jozi!

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Written: Monday, March 23, 2020 at 19:54

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