It is hard to imagine that before Mauricio, the metro that currently connects the city of Rose-Hill to Port Louis, our elders saw the conversion of some of our roads to a railway in the early 19th century. The train departed in a Northern Line from Port-Louis to Mapou and in the Centre Line from Port-Louis to Mahebourg. Later, more lines would be opened to reach other cities.
Initially, this initiative was taken in order to convey the sugar produced on our sugar estates to the port in view of exportation to other countries. A time saver because the transport was done until then by animal traction. Sugar production was during that period, the first industry in Mauritius and rivaled the world’s largest countries including India and Brazil for the same commodity.
Many Mauritians remember using this mode of transportation to go to school or work in the capital of Mauritius. After a hundred years of operation, the ruling government had no choice but to write the final word of our railway network, as the cost of operations became more and more expensive and other less costly means of transport emerged.
The last train will see an influx of passengers including many children for their first or last train journey. Treasured memories for them. At the train station in the town of Quatre-Bornes, the farewell to the train was punctuated by speeches and firecrackers. One can still find at the Mahébourg Museum, an old wagon (waiting for restoration): a rare vestige of the time when the train was still crisscrossing Mauritius.