The Cyprus Government Railway
By Chris Elliott
I have been developing a fascination for the history of Cyprus which involves so many nationalities and people that have come to rule this island over the centuries.
Recently on Facebook I spotted a posting that included a video link about the history of the Cyprus Government Railway.
The railway in Cyprus was planned when the British came to take over the responsibility for the island in 1878 and in November 1903 the British Government gave approval for the building of a railway. The start of the building of the railway commenced in Famagusta with the construction in the harbour of a jetty to receive material and following the building of the Famagusta station, the construction proceeded westward towards Nicosia with more stations and other buildings and track being built. The official opening of the railway was on 21st October 1905.
Over the ensuing years the system developed and in length was 76 miles long and strangely enough major parts of it follow the current green line so it has not been possible in recent years to trace its complete route.
During its final years with rising financial difficulties and with the increased development of the Cyprus road network and the increased road traffic, it was decided to close the system in November 1951 with the last train leaving Nicosia station for its final journey to Famagusta station on 31st September 1951 and following this event, workers started to dismantle and remove the railway system.
They say pictures tell a thousand words and if you watch this fascinating Vimeo video you will get a real feel for what it was like to travel on this railway and where it stopped and to see many of the people who worked and travelled on it. So this then is a fascinating piece of the rich Cyprus Heritage that has almost disappeared but has had its memory preserved for future generations to marvel at through this excellent video.