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The Malta Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by S.A.C. Martin, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Good afternoon, everyone.

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I've been reading up on the railway system in Malta over the last year quite extensively. My partner is Maltese, and this June just gone, we spent two weeks on the island, wandering around the remnants of the railway system at Valletta and Mdina.

    I have also come across a group on facebook recently, who have a fascinating project to record and display the history of the railway, in their home country.

    Where it gets interesting is that there is a belief amongst some of the members that a single engine of the Malta Railway - long thought scrapped (and certainly, as far as research goes, long since recorded to have been scrapped), may exist in a private collection in Great Britain.

    The volunteers of the Malta Railway Group (found here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=120126928029106#!/group.php?gid=120126928029106) are building up a superb heritage project on their own.

    If a locomotive of the railway does survive (and I must emphasize, from that I understand I fear it is incredibly unlikely), the volunteers would like to repatriate it for the purposes of building a full and comprehensive museum, dedicated to their railway. There is of course a small museum, at Birkikara, with a wonderful old gentleman who looks after the exhibits, but the possibility of a larger museum, complete with rolling stock (one coach already survives there) and an engine would serve to further the group's ambitions.

    As a bystander in the UK, I wondered if there was something more I could do to help, and perhaps the first step is finding out if there is any truth to the belief that one of the Malta Railway engines survives. My first thought went to the extensive collection, the Phyllis Rampton trust, but after some quick research on the internet, it appears not.

    Thanks for reading, all comments appreciated greatly.
     
  2. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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  3. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Thank you Iain - much appreciated :)

    I've discovered that the design was also perpetuated as a 2-6-2T abroad, in both Spain and Austrailia, with examples still extant. I wonder what the implications would be, morally in a preservation sense, and financially, as to buying up a preserved example, and modifying accordingly to become a Malta Railway 2-6-4T ("No.11")?
     
  4. 48DL

    48DL New Member

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    I think you may have problems getting one out of either country (historic artefact), then you have the cost of conversion. All in all, I think you would be better off building a replica, also if it is to sit in a museum, maybe a static non working copy would be better (and cheaper) still.
     
  5. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Handsome engines, weren't they? The lineage from the Isle of Man engines seems quite pronounced. Perhaps they'd be interested in a couple of 3ft gauge versions!
     
  6. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Fair points, all. That said, perhaps going to measure one up wouldn't be a bad idea, if a replica engine is mooted? :)

    They are handsome, yes - there's one photograph in the book, The Malta Railway, that shows one of the Beyer Peacocks with full lining on the tanks, boiler, frames, bunker and cylinder covers. Sadly, as reported in that book - nobody knows what the lining colours were. Best educated guess is either white/black/white, or yellow/black/yellow, given the unusual olive green livery applied to the engines. That said, we'll probably never know now.
     
  7. Pesmo

    Pesmo New Member

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  8. amalthea01

    amalthea01 New Member

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    I am a frequent visitor to Malta, and have over several years located the numerous parts of Malta Railway artifacts.
    It seem to me that the entire Island is undergoing change, with many of the old buses about to dissapear, and a Transport museum, incorporating the buses and Railway would be a tourist attraction.

    The old station at Museum (which used to be a restaurant until recently) and which is currently lying derelict would possibly be the ideal site, as it is close to mdina (a tourist venue) and is possibly one of the two best Station buildings
    remaining. It also has one of the famous Fountains outside

    The old coach at Birkakara is in deperate need of restoration otherwise it will disspear in a pile of dust, which will be a great shame, and this would benefit being moved to somewhere undercover and less hostile until it can be restored.

    I dont know how enthusistic people are on the island about the railway, bearing in mind that it dissapeared over 70 years ago, so there wont be many people who remember it
     
  9. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    My apologies for missing this reply to my thread.

    There's a large group of people who met via facebook and started a group - I'm a member there, and they have just finished a spectacular documentary on the Malta Railway (available from the tourist board's office if anyone wants the details).
     

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