Hiking The Bermuda Railway Trail

Perhaps the most exciting and diverse hiking experience here is the Bermuda Railway Trail, where some of the loveliest sightseeing can be enjoyed from any number of natural vantage points. The old passenger railway offers stunning seascapes, breathtaking scenery, exotic plant and wildlife, apart from the busy roads and streets that have become the Bermuda of today.

railway trail

The Bermuda Railway was established in 1931 and the track stretched 21 miles around the island, crossing water and gorges via a series of 33 trestles and bridges. It was designed to transport people around Bermuda with ease and in relative comfort. For many years it served its purpose well. The first-class section was furnished in old Colonial style, with wicker chairs, while the second class had
wooden benches.

The advent of the Second World War saw the beginning of the end for the old “Rattle and Shake.” By the end of the war the train was in poor shape. Faced with a repair bill in excess of a million dollars – quite a sum in those days – the Government of Bermuda decided to cut its losses and get rid of the old institution. They sold the system, lock stock and barrel, to British Guiana and, with the motor car receiving approval on the island in 1946, it was hardly missed at all.

During its 17 years of operation, the Bermuda Railway suffered not a single fatal accident and carried more than four million passengers.
When the railway left Bermuda, all that remained was 21 miles of scenic right of way and a deep feeling of nostalgia among the islanders. For 30 years the old railway track remained unused. Now it’s been turned into an unofficial national park where locals and visitors alike can enjoy the rails from one end of the islands to the other.

More than 20 miles of the route are accessible to hikers, joggers, bicyclists and walkers through 35 different access points. The trail has been divided into seven geographical areas from east to west and, depending upon your location, you can walk from one end to the other or take it section by section. These vary in length from two to four miles, and each will take from two to four hours to complete.

Note: Serious hikers should first visit the Visitors Information Centre on the ferry dock at Front Street in Hamilton and pick up a copy of The
Bermuda Railway Trail Guide. This free pocket-size booklet offers an interesting account of the railway’s history and a detailed breakdown of the trail, section by section, with all the interesting sights along the way.

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