Stenlake Publishing - The Jersey Eastern Railway

The Jersey Eastern Railway

Author : Peter Paye
ISBN : 9780853616641
Cover : paperback
Price : £14.95

The Jersey Eastern Railway was proposed essentially for passenger traffic. The railway was opened from a temporary terminus at St Helier, Green Street to Grouville on 6th August 1873. A few weeks later the line was extended to Gorey, and in May 1874 to the permanent St Helier terminus at Snow Hill, a location much nearer the centre of the town. The half mile extension beyond Gorey Village, to Gorey Pier was not completed until 1891, whilst the proposed extension to St Catherine’s was never built.

The new railway was an immediate success and passenger traffic grew considerably, especially at weekends and bank holidays, often taxing the company resources to the limits on the 6? miles of single line. While freight traffic failed to materialise, passenger growth continued, enhanced by the introduction of regular sailings from Gorey Pier to Carteret on the French mainland, with through bookings available from St Helier to various destinations in France.

Standing in the deep chasm of Snow Hill terminus, the JER train with its diminutive engine and four-wheel coaches was as smart as any found on a mainland branch line. At its head, a highly polished, bright green 0-4-2 tank locomotive, resplendent with brass fittings and nameplate, was coupled to an assortment of coaches in teak livery with usually a brake van at each end. The names of the stations were almost melodic to the ear, for after St Luke’s came Grève d’ Azette, then Samarès followed be Le Hocq. Next came Pontac, and as the journey progressed, La Rocque, Les Marais (later renamed Fauvic), followed by Grouville and Gorey Village, and finally Gorey Pier Station, overlooking the picturesque harbour under the shadow of Mont Orgueil Castle.

The watershed for the JER came after the First World War, with increasing competition from motor buses. The purchase of two steam railcars and opening of two new halts did little to arrest the flow. Losses continued to mount and the railway was voluntarily wound up and closed after the running of the last service on 21st June 1929. From regular travellers, to those who lived within sight and sound of the line, and the generations of Jersey folk or visiting holidaymakers who enjoyed summer trips to Pontac and Gorey, the JER was held in great affection.

The author has attempted to trace the history of the railway from conception to closure and portray the flavour of those bygone days which will never return.

A5 format, 208 pages, 180 illustrations.

The Jersey Eastern Railway

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