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Jamaican Gov’t completing arrangements with China to Establish 18 New Railway Stations

KINGSTON, Jamaica – (JIS) Jamaica’s Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry, has said that the Jamaican Government is signing off on arrangements with the Chinese Government to build 18 new railway stations in Jamaica.

Mr. Henry, in his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate at Gordon House on May 28, said that the government intends to re-establish the passenger and freight rail service in Jamaica as a means of combating rising fuel costs.

“The passenger and freight rail service is intended to significantly impact on the rising fuel cost, with the government focused on getting much of the island’s freight transportation done by rail,” he stated.

He told the House that the Chinese will assist with establishing new tracks of 105-pound standard to enable greater speed and load-carrying capacity; the provision of five new engines; 45 coaches for passengers; 68 freight coaches; and the replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete ones overtime, as the concrete sleepers require less maintenance.

Four special areas are also to be realigned to enable the trains to maintain their speed levels; the Kingston to Montego Bay service will be re-opened and there will be service between Spanish Town and Ewarton in St. Catherine. Also, there are plans to train operational personnel.

According to Mr. Henry, a three-year refurbishing schedule has been set for the undertaking. He said that thousands of jobs will be created during and after the construction of the entire new railway line and supporting network.

“In this arrangement, truckers will be fully integrated in the multi-modal transportation plans, but doing mostly shorter runs within the parishes, and across the landscape, which will not be covered by the rail service. In doing more trips on better road surfaces, they will stand to benefit from lower maintenance and operating costs,” the Minister stated.

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