Rails Through Majorca, by Giles Barnabe

Rails Through Majorca, by Giles Barnabe

Published by Plateway Press in 2003, 248 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (NCHX1)

From the inside front fly leaf: MAJORCA can be truly described as a 'narrow gauge paradise'. As in its British equivalent, the Isle of Man, the 3ft gauge predominated, this being the legacy of the British firms that supplied the builders of its first railway in the 1870s. Over the next 60 years a large and diverse system was built up. This comprised the 3ft gauge Fe de Mallorca, a conventional steam worked railway connecting the capital, Palma, with towns in the interior; a separate 'harbour tramway' within Palma; the Ferrocarril de Soller, a true 'interurbari' linking Palma with the north coast resort of Soller; and 'town' tramway systems within Palma and Soller. In addition, there were 2 autonomous railway/tramway systems - the 2 mile long Fe de Alaro relying on mule power originally, with petrol driven railcars taking over haulage of the tramcars in 1922 and the Arenal Tramway, a ghostly concern whose vintage petrol railcars ran along the bay of Palma until 1937. Finally, there were around a dozen industrial concerns, of gauges from 600mm upwards, serving chalk quarries, cement works, salt pans and a glassworks.

After the 1950s this time warp of a transport network began to contract and by the late 1970s only a small part of the Fe Mallorca (from Palma to Inca), the Palma-Soller 'interurban ' and the Soller tramways remained open. But the 1980s saw the start of a remarkable renaissance. The Fe Mallorca - renamed Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca - was re­gauged to metre, re-equipped and the first length of closed line (to Sa Pobla) reopened. More reopenings are now in progress. The Fe de Soller survives, virtually unchanged in appearance since the 1920s and the Soller tramways have acquired cars from Lisbon to supplement their vintage equipment.

The history of Majorca's railways was told in Giles Barnabe's book The Railways and Tramways of Majorca, published in 1993 (out of print). Drawing on numerous sources (including primary sources in Majorca itself) the author brings the story up to date...

The condition of the book is generally very good. The dust jacket has one or two very minor scuffs but is clean and tidy, the spine is intact, and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound.