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EXOTIC RAILWAYS
Coral Coast Railway -- Fiji's Sugar Cane Tourist Train

The island country of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean creates memories of tropical Paradise that last a lifetime. In addition, Fiji has trains - not many and not fancy, but easily found by tourists. One is shown here from a vacation in 1993.
The Sugar Cane Train operated by Coral Coast Railway runs from Sigatoka up to Natadola Beach. Nearest airport is Nadi, Fiji, about an hour north of Sigatoka.

A very pink steam loco converted to diesel, with open-air excursion-style passenger cars, hauled us the 10 miles from the depot near the Shangri-La Hotel to Natadola Beach. Tracks are two-foot gauge (610 mm) hidden in the grass. A picnic BBQ buffet was laid out in the trees for lunch - very peaceful. Bring your own bottled water, as parasites abound and they are mean! There was no tourist development at the beach in 1993, but one hotel is now complete and a second is in progress.

Real sugar cane cars were hidden in the bushes and under sheds, but no one was using them that week.  The sugar cane lines cover 375 miles (600 km) of industrial rails - the largest garden railway in the world.

Today, 25 years after my trip, the train is more run-down and more of a tourist trap. Don't be guilted into buying candy for the kids -- it's not good for them and they should be in school anyway. Ditto souvenirs in the village shops.

On another day, be sure to visit a Fijian village with a Fijian guide. The cultural contrasts are worth the side trip. The villages you see from the train are too close to tourists to represent Fijian village life accurately.

   

   

   

   
All above photos taken in 1993 by the author

A real diesel, and still pink. This photo circa 2014, from the TripAdvisor website.




Another view, from Wikipedia


 

Coral Coast Railway
Tel: 011.679.652.8731
Fax: 011.679.652.0434




No direct website - see nice review at
http://www.railserve.com/jump/jump.cgi?ID=15422