The First Railway System in South America

Demerara-Berbice Railway

The Demerara-Berbice Railway, built in then British Guiana (now Guyana), was the first railway system on the South American continent. It was first operated by the Demerara Railway Company, a private concern, but sold to the Colonial Transport Department of the Government, which assumed control from 1 January 1922.




The building of this railway sy by the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society.  In July 1846 a bill proposing the construction of the railway was passed. The line was first constructed from Georgetown to Plaisance and was opened on 3 November 1848.   The second section of the railway which ended at Mahaica was constructed in 1864. 


The railway ran for 97.4 kilometres (60.5 mi) along the coast from the capital and main port Georgetown in Demerara to Rosignol in Berbice,[2] whence it was connected by ferry steamer across the Berbice River to New Amsterdam.


Guyana's second railway was the Demerara-Essequibo Railway which ran from Vreed en Hoop on the left bank of the Demerara River to Parika on the Essequibo River.


Its first section was laid to Greenwich Park c1899 and it was extended to Parika in 1914. The Demerara-Essequibo railway service ended in 1974.


Read more about the railways and other interesting events and sites in Guyana by clicking here

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