9th June 1934

Guernsey Railway company ceased operations

Guernsey once had a railway – of sorts. It started operating on 20 February 1892, and continued running until 9 June 1934. Work started on lifting its tracks two days later. It had been unable to compete with the far lower running costs of motor-powered buses, which had been running on the island since 1909.

Over the course of its operation, the Guernsey railway company invested in nineteen carriages. These were painted maroon and cream, and many looked not unlike a double-decker bus. They ran on a line between St Peter Port and St Sampson.

As reported in the Coventry Evening Telegraph of 9 June 1934,

The States of Guernsey decided this week, according to ‘Motor Transport’, to take over the permanent tramway and fixtures, and to cancel the concession granted in 1877 to the Guernsey Railway Company.

The cost of taking away the track and returning the road to usable condition would initially be borne by the States, but recouped from the company over the next two decades. From then on, the “railway” company would concentrate on running buses instead.

Channel Island railways today

Alderney now has the only traditional railway in the Channel Islands, with three stations on its small network. The rolling stock is a former London Underground train.

The only “train” to operate in Guernsey now is a small sightseeing service for visitors. However, in the early 2000s, proposals were made to lay a short stretch of track and return one of the original trams to operation close to Belle Greve Bay. To date, nothing has come of this proposal.

Guernsey Railway Co Ltd itself continued to exist until December 1980 when it was taken over by Guernseybus.


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