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Memories of the Cyprus Railway

Cyprus may lack the will to use public transport today, but at previous times in history the railway boomed for almost half a century. You’ve may heard of it, might have seen its tracks passing through Kaimakli in Nicosia and you might have even visited the museum in Evrychou for a closer look at this means of transport that seems unimaginable to the island’s road users today.

Yet do you know the Cyprus railway’s stories? What kind of people took the journey and who worked on the railway? Set to answer these questions and more is Anastasia Charalambous Barnfather’s documentary Memories of the Cyprus Railway. A documentary featuring the memories of people who worked and travelled on the Cyprus Government Railway, it will give the public the insider tales and a glimpse of local life on the railway.

In a brief chat with Anastasia, the director and writer told the Cyprus Mail how the idea of creating the documentary came about: “I was taking a walk with my father along the seafront in Limassol. He showed me some railway tracks in the ground and he explained that they came from the old harbour railway that was used to move luggage and goods out to the jetty to be loaded on ships. He said there were other railways in Cyprus… some with steam locomotives.

“This fired my imagination and set me on a quest to find out about the history of railways in Cyprus. The more I found out, the more I was convinced a documentary should be made about it,” explained Anastasia.

With successful screenings in Nicosia, the documentary will continue its journey with a screening in Larnaca on Sunday, December 16.

Whether its reliving the railway’s glory days or simply finding out more about it, there’s a lot to take away from this husband and wife production. “When I started to interview people, I realised their memories of the railways were very important and had to be preserved for posterity. I hope when everyone sees the documentary, they will carry those memories away with them and realise the importance of railways in the history of Cyprus,” explained Anastasia.

Yet the journey the Barnfather couple has in store for Cyprus’ railways doesn’t end here. Memories of the Cyprus Railway will be part of a 10-episode documentary series called “The forgotten trains of Cyprus”, that will focus on the period 1900 to 1975, when the railway, also used mining and the harbour ran across the island.

The creative duo is also compiling a book of memories from this period and are accepting stories and photographs of the railways of Cyprus to build more tales. If you have something to share send your information through at the email below.

Memories of the Cyprus Railway
Documentary screening, produced by Anastasia and Keith Barnfather of Reeltime Pictures Ltd. December 16. Apothiki 79, Larnaca. 19.30pm and 20.45pm. €5 including refreshments. With English and Greek subtitles. Tel: 97-760047 [email protected]

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