JIS News

After some setback, the Government is closer to reactivating the island’s rail service, Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry told the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Sept. 15).
“We are now undertaking a socio-economic impact assessment, while also looking to re-scope the initial phase of the project to US$100 million, in keeping with a loan proposal to the China Ex-Im Bank,” he disclosed.
At the same time, a number of proposals are being assessed from local and overseas interests to operate rail services in Jamaica, and for the Jamaica Railway Corporation to transport aggregate.
The overall plans for the rail service include freight services, initially between Williamsfield and Spanish Town, and between Linstead and Spanish Town. The freight haulage would initially involve the movement of aggregate, mostly destined for export, from Williamsfield to Port Esquivel in St. Catherine, Mr. Henry said.
There are also plans for the hauling of sugarcane from St. Catherine to the Monymusk Sugar Factory in Clarendon.
“There is also a proposed rum tour by train from Montego Bay. This is being planned to complement the development of the new Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier. Also in the mix is the Clarendon Express heritage and industrial tourism project,” Mr. Henry informed the House.
He said that the Ministry is now increasing the capacity of the Jamaica Railway Corporation to effectively manage the re-vitalisation process, to ensure that the country benefits fully from the overall initiative. “This includes generating alternative revenue sources from the railway’s rich heritage, its vast intellectual asset base, and its uninterrupted right of way corridor,” he stated.
“It took really steady hands to get us this close, and I look forward to the employment which the rail service will generate,” the Transport Minister told the House.

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