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Railways in

Nouvelle Calédonie

New Caledonia

Train at Nouméa station
Train at Nouméa station, circa 1905

Nickel mining began on the mainland of Nouvelle Calédonie in the late 19th century and has remained an important part of the island economy ever since. At its height, all the working mines had their own rail systems, and a number of relics remain, including several steam locomotives restored to display condition.

In 1904, a public railway was opened between Nouméa and Dumbéa (17km), later extended to Païta (29km from Nouméa). The line was taken over for operational purposes by US forces during World War II but subsequently closed. The gauge is reported as 3ft (914mm), but it seems likely that it was originally metre gauge, and regauged by the Americans. Some remains exist at Païta, including a locomotive in a very deteriorated condition. The Tchou Tchou Train, a widely advertised tourist attraction in Nouméa, is, in fact, a road train.

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