Tracking down the old Malta Railway – Part Two

In an earlier post I described a walk along the first mile or so of the Malta Railway from Valletta to Floriana. Recently I had the chance to explore the other end of the line at Mdina where it terminated. Armed with a printed copy of Don Gaunt’s guide to walking the old Malta Railway, I got off the bus in Rabat and followed Don’s directions through Mdina to the ‘hole in the wall’ and the ramp that leads down towards Museum Station. Actually I had expected the station to be right outside the city wall but in fact it was a couple of hundred meters down the road towards Mtarfa.

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On the way to the station, I came across a fantastic derelict and crumbling public washhouse. I have seen a similar building in Gozo on the road between Victoria and Xlendi and I guess that there must have been others back in the days before mains water and automatic washing machines. A sign outside warned in English and Maltese that the building was unsafe and should not be entered. Large cracks in the walls lent credibility to this assertion but, the presence of a group of small children splashing around in the stone basins inside suggested that the locals were either fearless or unable to read.

Mdina Station

 

Mdina Wash house

Continuing down the hill, I came to Museum Station, totally deserted, boarded up and bearing the scars of recent vandalism. A few years ago the station building was used as a restaurant. It has a great location – perhaps one day it will reopen.

Update: Summer 2014. Restoration works on the the station building are well advanced and it looks like a new restaurant will indeed be opened on the site.

Mdina Station3

 

Just to the east of the station building is a fenced off compound. From here you can see (just) the arch where the tunnel exits from underneath the city of Mdina.

Mdina railway tunnel

After mooching around Museum Staion for a bit longer and taking lots more photos I refered once again to Don’s notes and continued my exploration at Notabile station – only a kilometer away (as the train chuffs) but a stiff walk for me in the hot June sun.

The only remaining evidence of Notabile Station is the ticket office on Triq it Tigrija. Unfortunately I had some problems with my camera so photos will have to wait until my next visit. Behind the ticket office, a rubble strewn path leads towards the place where the railway line would have disappeared under Mdina. I followed it for 20 – 30 metres and got a tantalising glimpse of the fenced off tunnel entrance. Whilst I was trying to sort out my camera a couple of barking dogs started up and I decided to back off.

What sort of state is the 1000 metre tunnel under Mdina in today? If anybody knows, I would love to hear from them.

Check out Google maps to get to

Museum Station……

…and Notabile ticket office….

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