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TIMELINE

Note: RO = Royal Order by which the Spanish government could offer concessions to private companies.

12 August 1865Concession for Miguel Cremades to study the possibility of a railway between Lorca and Águilas or Garrucha.
3 March 1866Contract between Robert Cheney Johnston and Miguel María José Carvajal Tellez de Giron, Duke of Abrantesy Linares, Count of Águilar to farm esparto grass on a huge estate in Cortes de Baza. This estate was only 18km (11 miles) from where Baza Station and 20km (13 miles) Caniles Station were to be built.
22 October 1868Registration of The Esparto Trading Company Limited. Directors were Lemuel Goddard and Philip Barron.
2 July 1870Law permitting the auctioning of the concession for a railway between Murcia and Granada.
22 December 1874First concession for Almendricos - Águilas, owned by Francisco de Laguardia Durante, later transferred to Robert(o) Roberts.
27 March 1875Lorca council agrees to fund a project to build a railway from Lorca to Águilas with 2 million pesetas offered as debentures. This concession was given to Francisco de Laguardia.
15 April 1875Francisco de Laguardia reports to Lorca that work has started on the Lorca - Águilas railway.
13 March 1876Concession for the Alcantarilla - Lorca section owned by Pedro Gómez Rubio, later transferred to 'The General Credit Society for Railways'.
14 May 1876Meeting of a comission of councils as to how to pay for the Murcia - Águilas section.
8 January 1877John Clark Gray and William Davidson Milvain found The Gray & Milvain Company Limited "for the purpose of shipping, brokerage and consignment of ships" in Cartagena.
16 November 1877New railway law setting concessions at 99 years as opposed to eternally and taking control of fares.
1879First registrations for the Bacares mines made.
3 February 1879Agreement in Lorca council to offer 10,000 pesetas for each of 20 years of the subscription for a Murcia - Granada railway line.
21 March 1879Luis Figuera y Silvera granted a contract to improve the port.
30 July 1879Luis Figuera y Silvera forms the company Compañía del Puerto de Águilas.
1 November 1880Formation of The Reyna Mining Company which acquired many mines in the Pulpí - Águilas area.
14 May 1882Work commences on the railway in the region of Águilas by Francisco de Laguardia after long delays.
20 February 1883Concession for the Murcia - Águilas section restored to the inheritors of Pedro Goméz Rubio's company.
14 March 1883Crédito General authorized to take over the concession for Murcia - Águilas.
1 August 1883Arrival of Gustave Gillman to the area to stay in Cuesta de Gos, being appointed by Percival Fowler as director of drilling on Socavón de La Reina.
1884Works on improvement of the port finished.
14 March 1884Contract signed between the Senator of Almería, Francisco Ramirez and Edmund Sykes Hett assigning him the studies and project for a railway from Murcia to Granada.
10 April 1884Application by Edmund Sykes Hett and Francisco Ramírez Carmona to the Dirección General de Obras Públicas to be able to build the Murcia to Granada railway.
1 May 1884King Alfonso XII opens the railway from Murcia to Alicante.
17 November 1884Royal Order approving the terms of a schedule and conditions for a concession for the construction of a railway between Murcia and Granada.
24 November 1884Royal Order announcing the auction for March of 1885 for the concession for a railway between Murcia and Granada.
26 November 1884Public auction in Madrid for the concession for the Murcia - Granada railway.
1885The start of work on the Bacares mines.
4 February 1885Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd. formed in London with a value of £250,000.
12 February 1885First loco on the Railway between Alcantarilla and Lorca San Diego Station.
1 March 1885Reports in the Spanish press that Edmund Sykes Hett is in the area.

...it is interesting that the London press reports that a company is intending to build a railway in the south of Spain, that will go from Granada to Guadix and Baza, through the rich and populous Almanzora Valley through Huércal Overa...according our information the company is called 'The Great Southern of Spain Railway', with a capital of £1,240,000. It is said that the company has accepted a contract for the construction of this railway for the sum of £2,877,000. The offices of the company are established in London, 9 New Broad Street.”. Gaceta C.H. 9/5/1886.

7 March 1885Public auction of the concession for the construction of a railway between Murcia and Granada. Edmund Sykes Hett was the only bidder and thus won the concession by depositing 601,000 pesetas. He had presented a budget of 60,164,380 pesetas. Due to the fact that the section between Murcia and Lorca was already built between Sociedad de Ferrocarril de Alcantarilla a Lorca and The Madrid-Zaragoza-Alicante Railway, the subsidy was reduced to 13,309,914 pesetas.
12 March 1885Concession by RO for implementation of planned works for the Lorca - Granada railway. The works were to be finished within three years and that during that time the company will have invested at least 15,041,095 pesetas.
28 March 1885Line between Lorca Sutullena and Alcantarilla opened by the Sociedad Crédito del Ferrocarril.
28 March 1885Edmund Sykes Hett and George Winfield Higgin move to Lorca to monitor works. They both visited Águilas where they devised the branch line from Almendricos which would thus service the mines of the sierras de Aguilón and Enmedio.
28 March 1885The first British engineers start work on Serón Station.
20 May 1885RO granting the extension to the concession of 12th June 1885 from Almendricos to Águilas Port.
24 May 1885Edmund Sykes Hett takes control of the railway.
8 June 1885Ministry of Public Works authorizes the transfer of the concession for the Lorca - Águilas Railway from Francisco de La Guardia y Durante to Roberto Roberts y Parry.
1 September 1885Edmund Sykes Hett authorizes a major land acquisition in Águilas which will become the station, marshalling yard and workshops.
3 September 1885Plot of land of 9,765m2 (2.4 acres) in Hacienda de la Noria del Bol bought on behalf of Edmund Sykes Hett.
23 September 1885Purchase of 4,500m2 (1 acre) of land in Águilas Port on behalf of The GSSR.
12 October 1885Concession for the Lorca - Baza section, owned by Edmund Sykes Hett, transferred in 1887 to The GSSR.
24 October 1885Formation of The Great Southern of Spain Railway Company Limited in London.
15 December 1885The original project for the branch line from Almendricos to Águilas shown to The Misnistry of Development by Roberto Roberts y Parry. The line will pass through Pulpí and Jaravía.
15 December 1885Incorporation of The Great Southern of Spain Railway Company Limited in Companies House, London.
15 December 1885Gerard Torrens applies for the registration of a railway company for the Granada - Lorca line.
28 January 1886Public auction for The Manila - Dagupán Railway in the Philippines. This was won by Edmund Sykes Hett who, again, was the only bidder.
14 July 1886The official Bulletin of the Province of Murcia announces provisional acceptance of the project for works on Águilas Port which was finished the following October.
1 September 1886The beginning of the mining and esparto crisis with the closing of mines in Almagrera and production of esparto.
15 October 1886Meeting in Madrid between Edmund Sykes Hett, George Higgin and Jorge Loring to resolve payment issues.
1 November 1886The first sleepers and rails laid on the section between Almendricos and Águilas.
27 April 1887Letter in Diario de Murcia by Juan Santamaria del Pozo declaring that the only concessionaire of the Lorca - Granada is Edmund Sykes Hett who has paid all current debts.
5 June 1887The branch line from Almendricos to Águilas approved by RO.
14 June 1887Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd. transfer the project to the new company The Great Southern of Spain Railway Company Limited.
21 June 1887Transfer of the concession for the Almendricos - Águilas branch from Roberto Robert to The GSSR. This was with a 99 year lease instead of perpetuity of contract, for fares to be set by the government, and without grants.
25 June 1887Approval by R.O. of the addition of the Águilas to Almendricos section to the plans for The GSSR.
26 July 1887Edmund Sykes Hett, through the British Engineer William Lockhart Stronach, sends a letter to The Ministry of Public Works requesting authorization for the construction of a mineral pier in the cove of El Hornillo.
13 August 1887Report in the Boletín Oficial de la Provincia de Murcia regarding the construction of El Hornillo pier which caused alarm amongst the shareholders of the Compañía del Puerto de Águilas.
15 August 1887Details of the construction of El Hornillo are displayed on a council notice board until 15th September.
24 August 1887A representative of Jorge Loring pays Águilas Council for expropriated land and construction can now intensify.
25 August 1887The new Engineering Director Neil Cameron Kennedy, receives power of attorney as representative of Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd.
27 September 1887Agreement between The GSSR and Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd. to construct the line Murcia - Granada for £2,089,184 on completion.
27 September 1887Contract signed between Hett Maylor & Co. Ltd., Edmund Sykes Hett and The GSSR for HM to construct the line for £2,089,184.
8 October 1887Details of the construction of El Hornillo released in a letter by William Lockhart Stronach.
22 October 1887Arrival of the first steam locomotive in Águilas.
1 November 1887The first track and other equipment starts to be unloaded through Águilas Port.
16 November 1887Concession for Lorca - Águilas transferred again to Higgin and Winfield who were representatives of The GSSR.
27 November 1887RO approving the transfer of the Murcia - Granada railway from Edmund Sykes Hett to Anthony John Mundella (Chairman of The GSSR) via William Lockhart Stronach.
29 November 1887RO approving the transfer of the project for the railway between Lorca and Águilas Port to George Higgin as a representative of A J Mundella as representatives of The GSSR.
7 January 1888Eduardo Argentí Schülz presents new studies and plans to The Ministry of Public Works for the Águilas to Almendricos section.
1 March 1888Preparation work on Almendricos completed. 1,700 employess working in Águilas Port and on the branch line.
15 March 1888Jorge Loring states during an interview in Cuevas de Almanzora the intention to build a railway from Lorca to Almería Port showing Loring's disloyalty.
25 March 1888Transfer from Edmund Sykes Hett to George Higgin the Manila - Dagupán Railway as representative of The Manila Railway Company Ltd.
13 July 1888The Scottish civil engineer Neil Cameron Kennedy appointed by Anthony Mundella as the sole representative of The GSSR in Spain.
24 November 1888Edmund Sykes Hett buys 8,000m2 (2 acres) of land which will allow him to finish the track through to Águilas Port.
29 November 1888Transfer of the concession for the Murcia - Granada line from Edmund Sykes Hett to The Great Southern of Spain Railway Co. Ltd.

Roberto Roberts transfers the concession for the Lorca - Aguilas Port Railway to The GSSR.
1 December 1888Purchase of land in Zurgena.
1 February 1889Águilas - Pulpí line inspected by the government's Chief Engineer which he approved.
1 February 1889Start of works in Tíjola.
17 February 1889The ship Dunluce arrives from Middlesborough with 4 first class coaches, 1 third class coach and 1 security carriage. In the same month, the British steam ship Gatience arrives with two more locomotives along with various items.
1 April 1889Work starts on Águilas Station.
13 April 1889Authorization for the construction of El Hornillo published in La Gazeta de Madrid.
18 May 1889Edmund Sykes Hett invites local mining companies to the Marin Square offices in Lorca to promote The GSSR.
7 January 1890The ship Cumbrian arrives in Águilas Port from Grimsby with 1 first class carriage, 5 second class carriages and 11 third class carriages. These were exhibited along with the recently assembled locomotives.
9 February 1890Official date for the opening of the section between Águilas and Almendricos.
22 March 1890The branch from Águilas to Almendricos inaugurated by Higgin and Kennedy to be followed by an official opening in two days time.
24 March 1890The inauguration of the branch line from Águilas to Almendricos including a banquet for all participants.
1 April 1890Almendricos - Águilas section opened.
23 April 1890Crédito General had requested to be relieved of the Murcia - Águilas section and this was agreed by Royal Order.
20 July 1890Almendricos - Lorca section opened.
11 August 1890Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd. wound up (bankruptcy).
16 August 1890Due to arguments with Loring, Edmund Sykes Hett leaves the El Hornillo consortium. However, he stays head of the the railway and pier project.
17 January 1891A special train arrives from Lorca in Huércal-Overa at 4pm with Nicolás Salmerón.
7 April 1891Project for the construction of El Hornillo approved by the Civil Governor of Murcia.
10 April 1891Almendricos - Huércal-Overa section opened.
7 March 1892Lorca Sutullena - Lorca San Diego section opened.
24 May 1892Letter from Enrique Borrell to the Minister of Development (Ministro de Fomento) saying that in 1890 the Governor of Murcia had approved provisionally the construction of the Águilas Port line asking for the concession to be made permanent.
30 June 1892Inauguration of Zurgena Station.
30 July 1892Huércal-Overa - Zurgena section opened.
14 September 1892Temporary concession for the construction of the line between Águilas Station and the Port made permanent.
12 November 1892Royal Order giving permission for the construction of two aerial cableways in Serón called Manzano and Cortijuelo.
1893Roberto Roberts becomes president of The Águilas Port Company.
10 November 1893Zurgena - Albox (Almanzora) section opened.
11 June 1894Albox - Purchena section opened.
27 July 1894The Spanish Railway Trust and Investment Company Limited formally takes over the section between Baza and Guadix from The GSSR.
15 August 1894Concession to The GSSR for the line between Águilas to the port.
17 September 1894Purchena - Serón section opened.
13 December 1894The Granada Railway Company Limited recognized by Royal Order as the owner of the Baza - Guadix concession.
16 December 1894Serón - Baza section opened.
2 April 1895Agreement between The Spanish Railways Trust & Investment Co. Ltd. and The Granada Railway Co. Ltd. for The Granada Railway to finish the section between Baza and Granada.
1896Report by Gustave Gillman about re-opening the Bacares mines.
4 May 1896Inauguration of the section between Águilas Station and Águilas Port.
14 January 1897Death of Effie Gerturde Mary Purdon, the wife of Henry Attwell Purdon probably resulting in his resignation from The GSSR.
24 May 1899Registration of The Bacares Iron Ore Mines Limited in Glasgow as a result of the purchase of the Belgian company Bacares Almería & Estensions, Compagnie des Mines. Gustave Gillman becomes involved with the company.
27 May 1899Branch from Águilas Station to the port opened.
28 July 1899Registration of The Hornillo Company Ltd. in London.
5 December 1899RO declaring that The Hornillo Company is the new concessionaire of the El Hornillo project.
16 March 1900Agreement between The GSSR and The Bacares Iron Ore Mines Limited on the cost of transport of iron ore at 3s 2d per ton.
1 August 1900Memorandum to The Ministry for Development (Ministro de Fomento) requesting permission for the construction of El Hornillo Pier.
3 August 1900Permission by RO to start work on El Hornillo.
11 February 1901Death of Jorge Loring Oyarzabal.
15 March 1901Death of Edmund Sykes Hett.
2 July 1901The engineering inspector is informed that The Hormillo Company intends to take on a large amount of the transport of iron ore from the Seron Mines. This will require large storage areas for the mineral. As well as a bridge over Rambla Culebra, there would need to be changes to the layout of Águilas Station.
4 November 1901RO approving the El Hornillo project.
13 November 1901List of specific conditions agreed through an RO for the El Hornillo project..
1902The Bacares mines start to transfer mineral to Serón Station.
30 January 1902Concession by RO for El Hornillo to Edmund Sykes Hett who transfers it to The GSSR.
4 May 1902The head of the railway's 3rd Division confirms completion of the works for the El Hornillo concession.
1903The Bacares Iron Ore Mines Limited starts production with ore going to El Hornillo.
30 January 1903Work on El Hornillo finished but it doesn't open until 15th May 1903 when it is authorized by The Governor of Murcia.
3 May 1903Agreement signed by The Governor of Murcia for the construction of El Hornillo to be finished before 30th January 1904.
15 May 1903The Governor of Murcia authorises the opening of El Hornillo.
12 August 1903Branch between Águilas Station and El Hornillo opens as well as the pier. The first load of 4,000 tons of iron ore is sent to Britain on SS Gwentland which sails 8 days later for Glasgow.
18 August 1903The inauguration of El Hornillo loading pier.
26 May 1905Gerard Torrens dies.
12 August 1905RO for the expansion of El Hornillo to increase the capacity of the hoppers and a third line.
28 March 1906Dissolution of Hett, Maylor & Co. Ltd. in the High Court.
1907Cabarga San Miguel Ltd. takes over Gran Coloso mine from Exploradora de Minas.
5 August 1907George Lee Boag employed by The GSSR/El Hornillo as assistant manager under Gustave Gillman in Águilas to help relieve the pressure on him.
14 September 1907Explosion of the boiler of No 2 killing the driver and fireman.
23 December 1907Inauguration of a night service for goods.
1909Cuevas Negras mines closed.
1909El Tesorero mine starts production.
1910Old cableway transferred from Cuevas Negras to Gran Coloso. Amézola Hermanos of Bilbao lease the Santa Catalina mine.
1910Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes sugar factory in Caniles opens.
1913George Lee Boag promoted to General Manager of The GSSR.
10 June 1913Death of Neil Kennedy.
1914Amézola Hermanos and Coloso passed to Compañía Bacares.
1915Tesorero mine stopped production.
1916Gran Coloso mine exhausted.
1 January 1917First edition of El Boletín.
1918Serón Ropeway Co. Ltd. formed.
26 November 1918Boiler explosion of No 1 near Cantoria. Minor injuries.
1 December 1918Creation of Bacares-Serón Ropeways Limited.
1919New cableway to Los Canos.
1 June 1920Atrocity by unknown people causing a mineral train to derail, fortunately with no injuries. Some days later, more obstructions were placed.
2 May 1927George Boag receives award which was pinned onto his lapel by his niece, Mary.
25 May 1927Accident in Pulpí. This was the worst event in the history of The GSSR and resulted in ten fatalities and twelve injuries. A mixed mail/passenger train was just leaving Pulpí Station at about 2pm when a following mineral train from Almendricos lost its brakes and smashed into the back of the mail train. Fortunately, the driver of the mineral train had the foresight to release the pressure in the boiler which ameliorated the disaster somewhat. Additionally, the staff at Almendricos called ahead to Pulpí to warn the people there.
1929Stock market crash.
8 October 1929Accident at Km 43.100. A problem during shunting of a train in Huércal-Overa results in 13 wagons careering towards Almajalejo. A mineral train that is being pulled by Engines 21 'Lumbreras' and 53 is progressing towards Huércal Overa. The wagons crash into the front engine, 53, derail and their loads of esparto catch fire. The brakeman is killed. Engine 53, eight wagons, a 1st/3rd coach and eight hopper wagons are severely damaged.
28 January 1930End of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.
25 April 1932Closure of The Bacares-Serón Ropeway Co. Ltd.
17 July 1936Wire sent throughout The GSSR stating that there had been a revolt effectively being the first day of the civil war.
5 September 1936Report by The GSSR directors that the company had been taken over by the Spanish 'Railway Workers Council'.
26 December 1936Decree stating that the Spanish State should take over the running of all railways not already under the umbrella of the state.
27 October 1937Decree in Valencia incorporating all of the railways in Spain into one nationalized railway that would become RENFE on 24th January 1941.
1 April 1939End of The Spanish Civil War.
24 January 1941Inauguration of RENFE.
10 December 1941The Bacares Iron Ore Mines Ltd. closed.
1947Manzano mine cable dismantled.
22 October 1947George Boag dies in his home in Southport, UK.
16 February 1951Notice of the last GSSR AGM to be held on 22nd March 1951.
1953Cortijuelo cable dismantled.
1958Construction of new houses built in Las Menas.
1968The last load of iron ore taken from El Hornillo by the ship Juan Nespral.
1968Cessation of mining in the Las Filabres mountains closing cables to Serón and Los Canos.
15 July 1973Hornillo oficially closed.
1 January 1985The first day in 90 years that there is no train on the Guadix - Lorca section of The GSSR. A sad day.


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