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TRACING TRINIDAD'S LOST RAILWAY HERITAGE

TRACING TRINIDAD'S LOST RAILWAY HERITAGE

TRACING TRINIDAD'S LOST RAILWAY HERITAGE

 

Trinidad said farewell to its passenger train service on December 28, 1968.

On that day, Engine #42 steamed into the Port of Spain Railway station (known today as City Gate / Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) headquarters) at approximately 7:05pm from San Juan for the very last time.

This event signaled the end to 92 years of passenger service provided by the Trinidad Government Railway (TGR). Most of those final passengers were saddened to see the beloved service come to an end.

 

image 1

 

The first passenger train established on 5 March 2859, occurred on the southern part of Trinidad. It was a private operation owned by a Scottish migrant named William Eccles.

 After Eccles’ success, the Island’s Government known as the Legislative Council (Trinidad was under British rule) decided to conduct a survey to assess the profitability of establishing a government run railway network. As a result, the Trinidad Government Railway (TGR) was established.

 

trains start timelin...

 

 

Trains Ending (800 x...

 

Port of Spain to Arima was the first line developed along the TGR network. This was opened on Thursday 31 August 1876 (Santa Rosa Day).

The TGR network connected the north, south, east, and west of the island passing through and developing communities along the way such as Arouca, Sangre Grande, Cumuto, Rio Claro, Tabaquite, Todds Road, Brasso Piedra, Flanagin Town, Longdenville, Chaguanas, Caroni, Couva, San Fernando, Princes Town, Sainte Madeleine, Cipero and many more.

The service lasted until 1953, when the first line on the network was closed.

While there were many attempts to save the TGR network, Government’s main reason to close the service was its inability to become profitable.  This was especially at a time when road transportation had become a competitive option.

 

 

HLD’s preservation of Trinidad’s train history

In 2017, the team at Heritage Library Division (HLD) began actively researching Trinidad’s railing history. Along the way we have explored forgotten bridges, lost relics, and met persons who would have worked, or rode the trains and those who continue to safeguard this history for future generations.

 

SOURCE RETIRED RAILW...

 

To date, we have discovered that trains played a major part in our social and economic life. 

In particular, the TGR network was responsible for developing many of the communities that are still in existence today.

You too can explore our railway history. You may live on, nearby or along old railway lines.  You may even use City Gate as your access to public transportation.  With a little 

investigation you will discover so much more about the history of your community.

The Heritage Library Division is committed to safeguarding, promoting, and providing access to the diverse history of Trinidad and Tobago in as many formats as possible. To date, our collection of resources on railway history includes government documents, maps, photographs, reports, oral history interviews, newspaper articles, and many more sources of information.   

 

 

To discover more on Trinidad and Tobago’s rich history, or you would like to share your story, follow the Heritage Library Division on Facebook @NALISHLDTT or email  asknalis@nalis.gov.tt or contact the Heritage Library Division +1(868) 623-9673 / +1(868) 624-1130 ext. 2226
 
Compiled by Ms, Jancie Regis, Librarian I, Heritage Library Division.
 
Copyright of photographs held by NALIS, reproduction and distribution without written permission is prohibited.

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