Students and members of the public gathered at the Corozal Junior College conference room this morning for the second part of the Corozal House of Culture’s lecture series titled “Perspectives of the Past”. Today’s presentation featured well-known British-born researcher Alan Baker who spoke on the railway system in Corozal. Unless you were born in the 1930s, it is likely you are scratching your head, wondering what we’re talking about. But arduous research has discovered and recorded evidence of this transportation phenomenon in our midst. We asked the research expert, where the railways were located.
Alan Baker, Researcher
“From my research I’ve found that the line was about a mile and a half from the House of Culture or the customs House as it used to be in those days and there were three lines in total; one went up to the hill by towards Santa Rita Hill there the other used to run along the coast along Tony’s Inn and the third line used to pass Finca Solana passing down the Methodist School along the coast road. The one from Tony’s Inn was mainly coconuts and the husk which would then ship to the UK, the one on top of the Hill by the Santa Rita ruin was a sugar mill I think it was owned by Mr. Romero and that was used for sugar and they used to put 200 pounds bags sugar on the wagon and pushing the down the hills and that was gravity feed and the other one was towards Finca Solana was also used for spices and coconuts.”
“Is there any physical evidence anywhere in the district to know that these things still existed?”
Alan Baker, Researcher
“As far as I know I think that there is still semblance around Finca Solana three or four years ago I was told there were some there and I went to look for it but I couldn’t find it.”
We also asked Baker why he is so fascinated with trains and railways. He shared the story of his family surviving war, and the trains helped their escape.
Allan Baker, Researcher
“Well at the age of three and a half I was evacuated from London to Whales which is approximately 220 odd miles away from London because they were being bomb and I was only three years old and that was the first time I ever been on a train and in those days during the war that train journey took approximately six hours just to do 200 miles today that same journey would take an hour to an hour and a half on a train and so I’ve had a fascination to trains as a child basically all my life; I’ve been on trains in China, Germany, Holland Belgium Uk and so forth.”
Baker served in Belize with the Royal Armed Forces from February 1976 to June 1979 as a welder by civil trade. Here is where he met his wife Michelle and in 1988 much later in life he retired and returned to Corozal to live.