The Railways of Trinidad (Mainline & Maritime)

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The product of many years of research by the authors, Glen Beadon & Roger Darsley, The Railways of Trinidad is a well illustrated, in-depth book documenting the development of the industrial and passenger rail transport on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Sugarcane was the main agricultural crop on Trinidad, other crops being cotton, cocoa and coconut. In the mid 1800s tramroads were introduced on the island to improve transportation of the harvest. However, the demand for transportation of workers and other passengers meant that it was not long before they began running for passengers.

In 1871 the Trinidadian Government undertook to build a standard gauge railway between Port of Spain and Anima and operation of the full length of the line commenced on 31 August 1876. The Trinidad Government Railway (TGR) continued to expand the railway and commenced buying the tramroad systems. Other standard gauge railways on the island, known as cane railways, were constructed by companies such as the Colonial Company (later to become the New Colonial Company, then the Sainte Madeleine Sugar Co Ltd) and Caroni Ltd. These companies built large central factories for milling sugar, replacing the smaller, individual sugar mills previously used on the estates.

Oil was discovered on the island in the early 1900s and the oil companies used narrow gauge railways to move around machinery and crude oil. Narrow gauge and light railways were put to use by a number of companies such as the Constance Estate, Trinidad Clay Products and the Trinidad Lake Asphalt Company. In 1925 a narrow gauge railway, Barrackpore Railway, was constructed by the Sainte Madeleine Sugar Co Ltd using sections of the Barrackpore Oil Field railway.

The arrival of the motor vehicle signalled the beginning of the end for the railways. Closure of the Trinidad Government Railway occurred in two stages, commencing in April 1953 and finally ending in December 1968. In 1998 operation of the Barrackpore Railway ceased and it became the last standard gauge railway to operate on the island. The only railway line now remaining in use is a section of narrow gauge railway belonging to the Trinidad Lane Asphalt Railway.

Along with illustrations of tickets, timetables and the gradient profiles of the Trinidad Government Railway, tables have been included which show information on the steam locomotives, railcars and diesel locomotives run by the TGR, early industrial locomotives, and locomotives owned by Caroni Ltd in 1970.

105 colour and 198 black & white and sepia illustrations. 29 Maps and plans. Hardback. 224 pages.

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