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Railways on

Christmas Island

Christmas Island train
Train at work on the Christmas Island Phosphate Company Railway

The Christmas Island Phosphate Company was formed in 1897 to exploit the phosphate deposits of the island. It is believed that a 2ft (610mm) gauge railway was in operation by the early 20th century.

A standard (1435mm) gauge railway opened in stages between 1914 and 1920, connecting Flying Fish cove and South Point, a distance of about 20km. Although initially carrying only phosphate, by the 1930s it was also carrying passengers (including schoolchildren on their way to school) and general merchandise.

The railway closed in 1987 with the insolvency of the owning company at the time. Although limited phosphate mining has since resumed, the railway has not reopened. The remains of the station at South Point still exist, along with at least one derelict locomotive.

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Uncredited photo image supplied by Christmas Island District High School