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Railcar of le Ti-Train at la Grande Chaloupe
Railcar of le Ti-Train at la Grande Chaloupe, built for le Chemin de Fer de la Réunion in 1959 by Billard.
The steam locomotive is an 0-6-0T built by Schneider in 1878.

The first and only railway on the island was a 126km metre gauge line following a coastal route from Saint Benoît to Saint Pierre via Saint Denis, and serving a new port constructed near the mouth of the Rivière des Galets. A short section of the line is believed to have opened in 1878, the remainder opened throughout in 1882. Closure of uneconomic portions of the line began in 1956, and various further closures followed. The last remaining section, 15km from Saint Denis to la Possession, closed in 1976.

In 1990, a 4km stretch of this last section, from a railway museum at the station of la Grande Chaloupe, was rehabilitated to provide a tourist passenger service. This operated for a number of years and although now out of action, a group has been formed with the aim of reopening it.

In 2019, public consultation started on a new 10km tram route connecting the island’s capital, Saint Denis, with Roland Garros Airport and Sainte Marie. An opening date of 2024 has been suggested, but this appears optimistic. Long term aspirations envisage an entirely new coastal tram-train route of some 150km connecting Saint Benoît and Saint Pierre via Saint Denis.

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Photo image by Ckaid from Wikimedia Commons