Port of Spain Old Railway Station (PTSC Compound)

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This site is on the Heritage Asset Register which is the official list of Trinidad and Tobago’s historic sites that are worthy of notation and preservation. The register is authorized by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago’s Council and is by no means exhaustive. The sites on the Heritage Asset Register are not owned by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. The Trust welcomes any historical information and oral histories the public wishes to share with us concerning this site via the feedback form.

Property of interest located on a portion of a larger parcel of land situated in the City of Port of Spain, bounded on the north by South Quay, on the south by the Beetham Highway, on the west by Broadway and on the east by the St. Ann’s Dry River. 60 South Quay, Port of Spain.

The Old Railway Station building otherwise known as “City Gate” is the second railway station building to exist at its current location replacing the old wooden structure before it. The building, formerly the Trinidad Government Railway (TGR) building, was the metropolitan hub for the railway lines which connected Port of Spain to various parts of the country. It was designed by German architect, David Hahn, and was completed in 1924. The TGR administration building, can be described as typical of the neoclassical Colonial designs in Trinidad.

The building is architecturally significant for its splendour, built at a time when the Colonial Government controlled the public transport system which had been so important in the development of the island. The coming of the railway served to democratise travel for all levels of society. Sadly, the new headquarters in 1924, instead of imposing continued dominance, marked the beginning of a long period of decline for the railway system in Trinidad, along with the importance and influence it once exercised across the island. Once considered the pride of the Colonial Government the TGR was officially closed on the 31st December 1968. Today, it is managed by and houses the headquarters of TGR’s successor, The Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).

The station building today, despite its early public criticism for being “quite unnecessary for the needs of a service like ours”, continues to operate as the headquarters of the centralised Public Transport system. Its construction has stood the test of time and it is not only a tribute to the architects, engineers and contractors who supervised it, but to the hundreds of workers, whose effort and sacrifice gave it a magnificence still to be enjoyed to this day. The building remains an iconic integral part of the city’s historical landscape. Now one hundred years on, since the proverbial “turning of the sod” on the 14 of February 1921, it is perhaps a fitting time in history for the structure to become a Listed heritage site in Port-of-Spain.

Other Known Name: PTSC Building

Address: 60 South Quay

Town/City: Port of Spain

Region: Port of Spain

Site Type: Cultural Heritage

Ownership: Public

Public Accessibility: Full Access

Grade: Grade 2—property in which material change may be permitted, provided that similarity is maintained in all respects as its original composition, shape and form.

Cultural Community: British

Site Features: Public Buildings, Railway Sites

Address:

60 South Quay, Port of Spain