• Fiji tourist train

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by David Benton
Well , today i rode the tourist train .
I was walking through the town on Sigitoka , looking for sugar trains , when i came across a little diesel loco ( 0-4-0 ) and a single carriage , sitting on the railway bridge , beside the main road . It didnt look as though it was going anywhere , i checked out the engine , looked like a brand new Detroit diesel , and as i walked past the carriage , i got a freindly hello .it was the conductor ( whose nametag called him "Mr Coconut "! ) I asked if there was any sugar trains running through town , and he said maybe this evening . i asked what time , and he said "fiji time" .which means it arrives when it arrives . got to talking and it turned out this was the tourist tain , it was leaving in 10 minutes , for a 1 hour trip to the huge fiji resort . He would sell me a one way ticket for around US $ 8 . I went to get some food , and we were off . About 10 people on board .The engine was pretty loud , but nothing compared to the airhorns , which the driver sounded continuosly as we crossed the road , which took awhile as none of the cars took much notice of us . we then went through the town , across a large well maintained bridge , past a open air mosque , and into the countryside . Mr Coconut asked if id like to buy some sweets , to throw to the kids in the village who would come out to say 'bula" to the train . i declined , as i didnt like the idea of teachng the kids to beg from tourists . Sure enough at each house we passed , kids ran out to greet the train . we were probably moving at around 10 mph , so plenty of time to see the sights .Track was in reasonable condition , no real problems until we rounded a bend , and their was a wagonload of sugar cane parked on the mainline . We stopped short of a turnout , and the engineer , assistant ( who had been asleep uptill now! ) , mr coconut and a few kids , pushed it into the siding . while they were doing this , our train started slowly rolling backwards , it appears the handbrake wasnt working to well ! . They used bits of wood to hold the parked wagonload of sugar cane , and we were off again . Our engineers assistant was asleep again , but the egineer seemed to have everything under control . we tootled along quite nicely , past the sand dunes , the next point of interest was the town's refuse centre , Actually its flies , which decided to hitch a ride with us . Very amusing as our Indofijian hostess and mr Coconut tried to shoo them out of the carriage . After that we were running close to the beach . annd eventually arrived at the station , where another train , with a steam engine , was waiting . Apparently this is the Barbecue train , Tourists take it from the resort , further along the beach for a barbecue , then return . Cost is around USD $ 35 , and i would say it would be an entertaining trip . But it was back to town by taxi for me , but i enjoyed the impromtu trip .
Tomorrow's my last day in fiji , and hopefully i will find the elusive running sugar train .
  by Gilbert B Norman
A great report, Mr. Benton regarding a rail operation I was unaware even existed.

  by David Benton