Transport on Saint Helena

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This article deals with traffic in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, that is all forms of traffic in the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Saint Helena[edit]

Road traffic[edit]

The island of Saint Helena has a 138-kilometre-long (86 mi) road network, consisting of 118 kilometres (73 mi) of paved and 20 kilometres (12 mi) of unpaved road.[1] Most roads are single-lane, and uphill traffic has a right of way. A general speed limit of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) applies to the entire island. On Saint Helena there is a public bus network that in January 2015 served five routes,[2] but was expanded in September 2015,[3] March 2016[4] and October 2017.[5]


The M/V Helena serves the island from Cape Town on a monthly basis.[6][7] The ship was built in 1998 in China and can take 4,924 tonnes (4,846 long tons; 5,428 short tons) of cargo, or 218 TEU.

Saint Helena has a feeder and a harbour:

  • Jamestown (feeder)
  • Rupert's Wharf in the Rupert's Valley (harbour)

Air traffic[edit]

Airport Saint Helena

With the opening of Saint Helena Airport, scheduled flights have been operated since 14 October 2017. The new airport is served weekly from Johannesburg (South Africa). During the pandemic 2020-2021 this service were temporarily cancelled and instead monthly flights operated from London (UK), but from 2022 there are flights from Johannesburg again.

Rail traffic[edit]

Ladder Hill Railway

In 1829, the Saint Helena Railway Company opened a horse-drawn railway from Jamestown to Half Tree Hollow,[8] which was also known as Ladder Hill Railway, or Jacob's Ladder. The main purpose was to transport goods from the port of Jamestown to the higher houses. The service was discontinued in 1871 because it was damaged by termites.[9]

Another small rail network was built for the seawater desalination plant in Ruperts. Details of the track are not known.[10]


Road traffic[edit]

On Ascension there is a road network of 40 kilometres (25 mi), which is continuously paved.[1] The public bus transport network has four stops (as of 2014).[11]


Ascension has a feeder in the island's capital Georgetown. The port was modernized in 2011 with a new crane, among other things.[12]

Air traffic[edit]

Wideawake airfield, Ascension

With Wideawake Airfield, Ascension has had an airport since 1943. It is primarily used for military purposes, but is also served by monthly scheduled services from Saint Helena.[13][14]

Tristan da Cunha[edit]

Road traffic[edit]

Tristan da Cunha has a road network of 20 kilometres (12 mi), half of which is paved or half unpaved.[1] The island has probably the smallest public bus network in the world. The fleet of minibuses is available to pensioners free of charge.[15]


Calshot Harbour, Tristan da Cunha

The shipping traffic is of outstanding importance for Tristan da Cunha, which has no airfield. All goods and travellers can only reach the island by sea. Tristan da Cunha is approached irregularly from Cape Town by MFV Edinburgh, M/V Baltic Trader, and S. A. Agulhas II.[16]

Tristan da Cunha has with the Calshot Harbour[17] a port in Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. The port was comprehensively renovated at the beginning of 2017. It is 2 meters deep and takes only smaller boats. All larger ships have to stay offshore and both passengers and cargo have to be transferred to small boats.

Air traffic[edit]

Tristan da Cunha has no airport or airstrip of any kind.[18]

The S.A Agulhas II has a helicopter which is used for transport between the ship and land.[19] The other ships regularly visiting Tristan da Cunha don't have that, and transport ashore is done with small boats which requires waves not to be too large.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha". CIA World Factbook. 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Public Transport Timetable – from January 2015" (PDF). St Helena Government. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ "SHG Breaks Public Transport Promises Again" (PDF). The Sentinel. 21 January 2016. p. 11.
  4. ^ "Finally Here! – Bus Contract Arrives Behind Schedule" (PDF). The Sentinel. 11 February 2016. S. 11.
  5. ^ "Public Transport Timetables – Effective from 1 Oct 2017". St Helena Government. 1 October 2017.
  6. ^ "AW Ship Management Release Cargo Ship Schedule" (PDF). The Sentinel. 17 March 2016. p. 12.
  7. ^ Shipping, St Helena. "Home - St Helena Shipping and Marine Cargo Service". St Helena Shipping. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Views of St Helena". Cambridge University Library; Royal Commonwealth Society Library. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Jacob's Ladder". Saint Helena Island Info. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Our (other) Railway". Saint Helena Island Info. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Weekend Bus Service" (PDF). Ascension Island Government. January 2014.
  12. ^ "New Harbour Crane for Ascension Island" (PDF). Ascension Island Government. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Travel by Air – Ascension Island Government". Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Further St Helena Charter Flights Confirmed – Ascension Island Government". Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Tristan da Cunha Land Transport". The Tristan da Cunha Website. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Tristan da Cunha Shipping Schedule". Tristan da Cunha Government. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Tristan da Cunha's Calshot Harbour". The Tristan da Cunha Website. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  18. ^ | Tristan da Cunha Visiting Tristan. Retrieved 9 August 2020
  19. ^ "2018 SA Agulhas II Visit".

External links[edit]