Jamaica has one of the oldest rail systems in the Western Hemisphere, although the network had been in slow decline since World War II, culminating in the end of passenger rail services in 1992. On Friday, however, the government announced that it was partnering with China to revitalize the railways and build 18 new stations.
According to Henry, arrangements have already been made with the Chinese government to facilitate the construction of 18 new railway stations across the country. These will accommodate new tracks of 105-pound standard to enable greater speed and load-carrying capacity.
He said the reintroduction of the passenger and freight railway service is intended to significantly impact on rising fuel costs. The Government is focused on getting much of the island’s freight transportation done by rail and increasing mass transit to ease traffic gridlocks in urban centres.
While it’s easy for us to focus our concern about fuel prisis and automobile dependency on the first world, it’s also important for developing countries to have an alternative to car travel (though I realize Jamaica is more developed than most “developing” nations). They shouldn’t have to make the same transportation mistakes we did. Considering Jamaica’s small size, reinvigorating the national rail system seems like a good choice.