Ja­maica mak­ing moves to get rail­way ser­vice rolling again

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The Ja­maica govern­ment is mov­ing to re­vive its rail­way ser­vice and Min­is­ter of Trans­port and Min­ing Mike Henry says he’s ex­plor­ing a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship.

The min­is­ter said that Ja­maica, in adopt­ing a mod­ern day in­te­grated multi-modal trans­port sys­tem, of which the rail­way is a key com­po­nent, would be em­brac­ing the re­al­ity of the chang­ing and fast-paced world.

“The rail­way is the most im­por­tant el­e­ment of trans­port any­where in the world and Ja­maica has the se­cond old­est rail­way in the world, con­nect­ing ev­ery port in Ja­maica. We ex­ist in a just-in-time world where you need to de­liver goods and ser­vices as early as pos­si­ble, in or­der to be on top of the niche mar­kets and be able to grow your econ­omy,” he said in an in­ter­view with the Ja­maica In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice.

“This means that if the econ­omy must grow, it must get its goods and ser­vices right there. We are there­fore go­ing to con­nect rail, sea and air.”

The ex­ist­ing rail­way runs from Pe­chon Street, in down­town Kingston, to Ver­nam­field in Claren­don in the south of the is­land, but not into any of the is­land’s two in­ter­na­tional air­ports.

Henry pointed out that a dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture of many mod­ern coun­tries is the build­ing of un­der­ground rail­ways to fa­cil­i­tate the nec­es­sary el­e­ments of con­nec­tiv­ity.

“You must move from rail to sea to air, so the rail­way must be re-es­tab­lished,” he stressed, adding that the nu­mer­ous hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in the south­ern town of Old Har­bour that are not linked to the high­way also present an op­por­tu­nity for pas­sen­ger trains.

“We should not be afraid of in­te­grat­ing th­ese ser­vices to the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the peo­ple and the coun­try, so I am now ex­plor­ing a rail­way de­vel­op­ment very ur­gently,” the Trans­port Min­is­ter added.

(Photo: JIS)

A re­con­di­tioned pas­sen­ger train em­barks on the

jour­ney on April 16, 2011.

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