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ue to lack of profit, the terminal

Station was moved in 1932 at Kalo
Khorio Lefka, while as of 1948 the
CGR reached only until Nicosia Airport. Its
ramshackle equipment and the uneven
competition with the improved road
network led the Government to the decision
to definitely terminate the CGR.

D

INFORMATIVE BROCHURE

The last train departed from Nicosia Station at 14:57 on 31 December 1951 and it
arrived in Famagusta at 16:38. The dismantlement lasted up until March 1952.
After an auction published in the Cyprus Gazette, 10 out of the steam engines, the
tracks and part of the rolling stock were sold to the company Meyer Newman &
Co., for the amount of £65.626. Locomotive 1 was preserved as a memento outside
Famagusta Station.
Many wagons were purchased by locals, acquiring new and interesting usages,
while the equipment was distributed in seven governmental departments. The
Stations were either demolished, or turned into Police Stations (Angastina, Kokkini
Trimithia) or Public Works Department stores (Famagusta, Nicosia); the Station in
Morphou became a grain store and a veterinary clinic, while in Evrykhou it
operated as a sanitary centre and, later on, a forest dormitory.
A large part of the Nicosia-Famagusta motorway was built on the old railway line,
while Evrykhou Station operates as a Railway Museum. In Ayios Dhometios, part of
the railway line became a linear park, as it is also planned for Kokkini Trimithia.
Most of the employees were employed by state services and semi-governmental
organisations. During the brutal Turkish invasion of 1974, most of the remaining
installations were knocked down, erasing many marks of the Railway...

Publication: May 2006
Author: Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra
Publisher: Latsia Municipality
Dimensions: 297x210 mm
Paper: Luxury art gloss paper 150 gr.
Information about the book: 36 pages, 5 chapters, 37
photographs/graphics, 2 tables, 3 maps
Price: €7

The Cyprus Government Railway (1905-1951)
Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra
katoomba@cytanet.com.cy
n 1878, the first British High
Commissioner, Sir Garnet Wolseley,
arrives in Larnaca, the man who first
conceived the idea of creating a railway in
Cyprus; in the initial plans the city of Larnaca
was included, however these plans were
suspended due to the uncertainty about the
British stay on our island.

I

In July 1903 - on behalf of the Crown Agents - Frederick Shelford submits a feasibility
study for the construction of a railway line that excluded Larnaca: it would begin
from Famagusta and, through Nicosia and Morphou, it would end up at Karavostasi,
with a total cost of £141.526.
This proposal was approved in November 1903 and the earthworks began in May
1904; the existing line in Famagusta’s harbour was extended towards Varosha [1
mile] and Section 1 [Famagusta-Nicosia, 36 miles] was inaugurated on 21 October 1905
(the 100th anniversary of the Trafalgar naval battle) by High Commissioner, Sir
Charles Anthony King-Harman.
The construction of Section 2 [Nicosia-Morphou, 24 miles] started in July 1905 and the
inauguration was held on 31 March 1907. However, three years later, the Railway
was operating on damage, thus Frank Bedford Glasier conducted an operation study
of the CGR. This study was published in January 1913 and, amongst other things, it
suggested the construction of the terminal station at Evrykhou.
Therefore, the construction of Section 3
[Morphou-Evrykhou, 15 miles] started on
November 1913 and it was inaugurated on 14
June 1915. With the completion of the 76 miles
of the CGR, the total cost rose to £199.367,
which remained almost constant throughout
the whole operation period of the CGR.
In the 46 years of its operation, the CGR became a “witness” to various interesting
facts that marked the modern history of Cyprus, such as the following:
 In October 1907, the then Undersecretary of Colonies and afterwards Prime
Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, was transported by the CGR trains, as
was the also the Undersecretary of Colonies, Drummond Shiels, in October 1930.
 During the 1931 October Enosis riots, 120 yards of railway track were torn up, as
the Railway was regarded a symbol of British colonialism. Also, as a counterblow
for the throwing of tins at the Governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, by the villagers,
Evrykhou Station was definitively closed down on 31 December 1931.

 During World Wars I and II (1914-1918 and 1939-1945), the CGR carried allied
troops from and to Famagusta, Nicosia Airport and Xeros. The Railway itself was
the target of the Central Powers and the Axis Powers, respectively.
 Between 1946-1949, the CGR was used for the transportation of large part of
the 52.384 Jewish refugees from Famagusta harbour to Karaolos concentration
camp, to the north of Famagusta.

he Cyprus Government Railway had many and various uses, which equally
served the colonial authorities and the people of Cyprus, for example the
following:

T

 It served Famagusta harbour, transporting merchandise from and to the
warehouses and the various locations of the harbour.
 It carried timber from Troödos Mountains to the valleys of Morphou and
Mesaoria, primarily before the abolishment of the Grain Tithe (1926).
 It carried freight, ores and minerals, in co-operation with the Cyprus Mines
Corporation.
 It transported allied troops, stores, ammunitions and building materials,
especially during the periods of the Two World Wars.
 The local railway Stations also functioned as places of exchanging services and
goods, while some also operated as telephone centres, telegraph offices and/or
post offices.
 There were about 40 special routes for the various excursions, the Orange
Festival and the large fairs.
 The CGR trains carried the post that arrived in Famagusta from our
neighbouring countries via the Khedivial Mail line (1912-1939).

The various Stations were designated by large trilingual white signs, while the
CGR owned in total 12 locomotives, 17 coaches and about 100 multi-purpose
wagons, 50 of which were purchased from Egypt and Palestine. The CGR usually
employed around 200 people.
The existence of a railway in Cyprus did shape the life of Cypriots; however, in
the first years of its operation, many viewed the Railway more like a spectacle
rather than a means of transportation, which is also why they crowded under the
bridges to “admire” it. Overall, the CGR carried 3.199.934 tons of paying goods
and 7.348.643 passengers, not including the long list of dignitaries with a free
pass! Indeed, it is said that the CGR transformed Famagusta from and old and
“dead” Turkish town into a modern port of the Middle East.