Would trains help to solve congestion on Malta’s roads?
The idea of building a railway or metro network is back in the news in Malta but few realise that thousands Maltese commuters used trains more than 100 years ago.
The track ran from Valletta to Mdina via Floriana, Hamrun, Msida, Santa Venera, Birkirkara, Balzan, Attard and the outskirts of Rabat.
The Malta Railway ran for less than 60 years from 1883 until 1931.
The line was opened on 28 February 1883 at 3pm, when the first train left Valletta and arrived at Mdina after about half an hour.
Things started to go wrong for railway company in 1903 when electric trams were launched, linking Valletta, Hamrun, Floriana and Birkirkara.
The intense competition had a negative effect on the railway’s finances.
It got even worse when Malta’s first buses were introduced in 1905 as more and more passengers switched from the steam trains to the more modern buses.
The railway eventually sank into deep financial trouble and was forced to close on 31 March 1931.
Here, we take a look at some glorious images of the Malta Railway from the award-winning Bay Retro archives.
On track: VIPs arrive at Notabile Station on the first-ever passenger train to run on the Malta Railway in 1883. Thanks to Paul Galea for the pic
We need one in Malta today! Proud Malta Railway staff stand next to a steam train at Museum Station near Mtarfa barracks in the 1920s
Wouldn't it be handy today? A steam train prepares to depart from Valletta railway station for Mdina more than 90 years ago
Wouldn't a railway be good today? A steam train from Valletta arrives at Museum Station near Mdina in 1918. Thanks to Jordan Gauci for the pic
If only Malta still had a railway! A man in a smart white suit waits to board the passenger train from Valletta to Mdina at Attard Station in the 1920s
All aboard! A train crew at work at Valletta Station in the 1880s during the early days of the Malta Railway. Thanks to Frank Lea-Ellis for the pic
All aboard! A steam train departs from Valletta railway station headed for Mdina in the 1920s. Thanks to Norman Schembri for the pic
All aboard for Valletta! A steam train arrives at Birkirkara station before the sad demise and closure of the Malta Railway in 1931
We need one of these today! A steam train makes its way over the bridge at Valletta station in the early days of the Malta Railway
'From my grandfather's photo album': Photographer Sally Buck shares a view from the platform at Notabile Station near Rabat in 1916