The Great Train Hike was conceived by Dr. Colin Hudson and the first official walk was on 01 June 2003. This was the only official Train Hike that Colin did as he died in February the following year. The Great Train Hike was renamed The Colin Hudson Great Train Hike in 2004 to mark the valuable contribution Dr. Hudson made to thousands of people in Barbados and the world. In 2005 the date was moved to February and is held annually on the third Sunday in February.
The Barbados railway ran from 1883 to 1937. Unfortunately the railway was plagued with financial issues throughout its existence which led to its eventual demise in 1937.
The route of The Colin Hudson Great Train Hike follows the abandoned rail track that went from Bridgetown to Bell Plain. Along the way you pass through the St. George Valley, passing Constant, Bulkely, Windsor. Then you get to Carrington, Busy Park, Three Houses and Fortescue in St. Philip.
After you reach the coast the trail goes north along the very scenic East Coast through Bath, Martins Bay, Glenburnie, Bathsheba, Cattlewash and ends at Bell Plain. These were all train-stations where people and cargo could be taken on. At the end is the Sand Dunes Restaurant where a welcome beer and meal can be had. There is a bus route back to Bridgetown.
The distance is approximately 40Km and takes between 3 and 6 hours. The last part along the East Coast road is probably the hardest. This is 5Km of hot tarred section and by the time most get there it past midday.
It is essential that every one carry +1 litre of water and snacks. Water provided at some of the stations but this should not be relied on especially in the last 20Km. Good comfortable walking shoes are needed. A cell phone can be useful as most of the route is away from houses and pay phones. There are shops in Bath, Martins Bay and Bathsheba that sell cold drinks and food, which is welcome to the hungry walkers.
The walk officially starts at 6am but many experienced walkers start at 5am and some even earlier. This is to beat the hot sun later in the day.
The Great Train Hike is scheduled for February 15th 2015.
A selection of Barbados Railway Photos posted by Anthony Hinds in the Facebook Group: Old Time Photos Barbados. You can click on the the thumbnail images to see a full-size photo.
Links to the Barbados Railway: