KINGSTON — Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon Mike Henry, says that the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) will focus on a preliminary roll-out between Spanish Town and Linstead, in terms of testing of its network and machinery, in view of the one-month closure of the Bog Walk Gorge road.
The Gorge is being closed as of today July 4, to facilitate pipe-laying work by the National Water Commission (NWC). This is part of the US$211 million (approximately J$17 billion) Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project (JWSIP), aimed at providing an additional 20 million gallons of water for NWC customers in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and other areas of Jamaica,
Mr. Henry confirmed yesterday July 3 that the railway decision followed discussions with the JRC’s top brass.
He said that in addition to the efforts by the National Works Agency (NWA) to rehabilitate the Barry Road, one of the alternative routes between Spanish Town and Linstead, the use of the trains “during the continued testing period” would be of additional assistance in minimising the inconvenience created by the closure of the gorge road. However, he warned that rail service during the road closure would “in no way, shape or form” reflect the official roll-out of the service in St. Catherine and Clarendon.
He stated that, with the passenger rail service absent for almost two decades, a lot of very detailed applications were relative to the resumption exercise. These would not be rushed, “and the actual roll-out will take place soon enough”, he added.
One critical element of the overall resumption was the recent restoration of the integrity of the old May Pen Bridge in Clarendon, to accommodate the passage of trains across the structure. A similar focus is on the long-collapsed Sandy Gully Bridge in St. Andrew, which has to be rebuilt to facilitate the return of the service to Kingston. However, the Sandy Gully project, which has a one-year time-span, has no bearing on the early phases of the May Pen to Linstead via Spanish Town resumption, he said.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor