Bermuda carriages found in Guyana – report
Two historic Bermuda train carriages could have been rediscovered at a railway workshop in Guyana more than half a century after they left the Island.
The two freight railcars along with all the rolling stock and most of the rails were sent to Guyana in 1948 after the Bermuda railway closed.
The Island’s fleet was used in Guyana for nearly 25 years until the country’s passenger service ended in 1972 and it was feared that all the Bermuda carriages had been scrapped.
But two old freight vans appear to have surfaced again earlier this summer being used by the Guyana Government Transport and Harbour Department for repairs to parts of the ferry fleet.
The discovery has prompted hopes of bringing the old carriages back to Bermuda to exhibit.
“It is a possibility that one of the carriages could be brought back to Bermuda,” said Edward Harris, executive director of the National Museum.
“But at present the National Museum needs a new building that could house that and other large artefacts, such as the steam winch from the old St George’s Boatyard. Such a Bermuda Railway artefact would have to be on exhibition inside, given the climate at Bermuda.”
The discovery of the Bermuda carriages was reported in the UK-based publication; The Railway Magazine.
The article stated: “Upon closure the railway — all the rolling stock and most of the rails — was sold to the authorities in Guyana.
“After overhaul, the rolling stock was used on the only standard gauge line in Guyana from the capital Georgetown south-east along the Atlantic coast to Rosignol, until this line along with the rest of Guyana’s passenger services ended in 1972.
“Following closure of the Guyana railway system in 1972 it had always been assumed that all the rolling stock brought from Bermuda had been scrapped — however it has now been discovered that there is at least one survivor.
“Two former rail vehicles, without power bogies, remain at the old Georgetown railway workshops, which are still used by the Guyana Government Transport and Harbour Department for repairs to components for the ferry fleet.”
The Bermuda Railway opened on October 31, 1931. In 1931 the Bermuda Railway had ordered eight 20-ton 120hp petrol-engine-powered bogie coaches, plus six 14-ton bogie first class coaches and two 14-ton bogie freight vans from Drewry Car Co Ltd in the UK.
Additional vehicles were supplied in 1932 and two ex-US Army Brill railcars were added to the fleet during the Second World War.
In 1946 the private Bermuda Railway company sold the entire operation to the Government that then decided to close it two years later.
The railway closed down on May 1, 1948 after extensive use during the Second World War.
Simon Horn, who runs the website The Bermuda Railway Pages, told The Royal Gazette: “I have suggested to the Bermuda National Museum that is it would be wonderful if one or both of the freight motors could be repatriated to Bermuda.
“It would make a perfect setting for a display of the Museum’s Bermuda Railway material.
“Of course it would probably be prohibitively expensive and require some major fundraising, even if the freight motors are in restorable condition.”
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