In 1873, the first railway in Galicia was inaugurated, built to connect Santiago to the port of Carril in the Ría de Arousa. Although the route was only 43 kilometers long, it had taken 13 years to build, given the difficulties in finding the money needed in such a poor and isolated region. The line, which had been designed by the English engineer Thomas Rumball and built by his fellow countryman John Stephenson Mould, was completed thanks to the Credit Company Limited, which became the main shareholder and sent the young Londoner, John Trulock, to Santiago to take charge as manager.
The West Galicia Railway Company, Ltd. was thus born, a company that remained active under British control until 1928, when it was absorbed by a Spanish company and, later that year, seized by the Government.
The West Galicia Railway Company was Galician by birth and British by adoption. In addition to capital and management, the English contributed their technology and materials, from the locomotives to the tracks and even the coal that was imported from Cork. John Trulock moved the offices of the Company to Vilagarcía de Arousa, where there was an important British presence since the Home Fleet used to dock there for long periods from 1874 to 1936.
During his term as a manager, Trulock doubled the length of the line all the way to Pontevedra connecting it to the national rail network. At his home in Iria Flavia, located on the edge of the railway and on whose balcony the Union Jack would fly on holidays, his grandson, the writer Camilo José Cela Trulock, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1989, was born. Proud of his family origins, CJC created in 1996 a small museum, which he named after his grandfather and with which he tried to recover the historical memory of that first Galician railway.
The John Trulock Railway Museum, now integrated into the Camilo José Cela Museum and with the collaboration of the Spanish Railway Foundation, is a unique space in which you may find all kinds of historic pieces, among which the lantern collection, the tapestry of the company “The West” that used to hang in the manager’s office in Vilagarcía de Arousa (ca. 1890) and a Ford-T of 1917 equal to the one that John Trulock owned, which was the first car ever to be driven in and around Padrón