The first railways in Guadeloupe were built in the 1870s to serve the developing sugarcane industry. By the mid-20th century a large number of independent lines of various gauges totalling over 300km in length existed on the island. With the decline of the sugar cane industry, all had closed by the 1970s.
in 1997, a society was formed with the object of rebuilding a section of line from the Rum Museum in Saint-James to the Banana Museum in Fourniols, using as far as possible original equipment from disused sugar cane railways. The line opened to tourist traffic from Saint-James in stages from 2002 to 2008, although finishing a few hundred metres short of its intended terminus at the Banana Museum. The unusual gauge of 1168mm (3ft 10ins) was chosen to suit the available equipment. Haulage is by diesel locomotives originally supplied to the sugar cane industry. A steam locomotive is on static display at the Rum Museum.
In the late 19th century, a mule hauled tram system operated in the city of Saint-Pierre. It was completely destroyed, along with the city, by the eruption of the volcano Mont Pelée in 1902.
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