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ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Bring back the train service, Mr Holness

Monday, April 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Jamaica is the very first in the Caribbean to join those First World countries, fortunate enough, to have a railway service. We started off with the tram car, running from downtown Kingston, on Orange Street, to uptown, Constant Spring; and from downtown, to Victoria Street, and elsewhere around Kingston.

So then, we can say, the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) is a part of our legacy and history worth fighting to maintain.

It would appear to me, that part of the whole disruption within the JRC, is mainly political. I say this because, if indeed, we believe, as Jamaicans, that the railway system is a part and parcel of our rich history, then, we must act in the best interest to maintain this part of the legacy of our history. Notwithstanding, it would appear that this is not so; as the tug-o-war that we all watched over the decades, with both major political parties trading punches as it relates to keeping the railway open. With the fast growth of our population, it is now more vitally important for the train to be up and rolling. Whenever one party is in power, the train service stops; when the other party gets into office, the train is again resurrected, even though not to full life.

Jamaica is always first in many things, and it appears that we want to join eagerly those countries that boast a train service, while providing for their people, a transport system, second to none. We, as a people, deserve to have a train service in tandem of the transportation service we offer our commuters on a daily basis. People need to travel in comfort and in style; and the train provides these comforts for weary commuters.

Even so, we need to pass on the legacy of our history to our young generation. Many young people I have spoken with never rode on a train and it would be good to have a proper and secure train service to offer our young generation. Now that the Chinese are here, wouldn't it be a fantastic time to introduce the tube system into the already over-crowded city of Kingston, as a possible solution to our transportation woes.

The train service is much easier to travel by, and it is much safer, in light of accidents; it also moves more commuters from one point to another. The train also burns less fuel while covering greater distance than a motor car or bus. Hence, we get cleaner atmosphere, as we seek to protect our environment from carbon emissions. Also, because of the scheduled time within the rail service, people can get to their destination on time. In many First World countries, people park their cars and ride on the train to and from work. As a child, I can remember travelling from Pechon Street, where the main station was, all the way to Riversdale, in St Catherine, to visit my grandmother, my aunts, and cousins. Those were fond days I can recall.

I want to implore Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister Robert Montaque, to act in the interest of the growing public to see to it that the current Administration brings back the train service which is a very pivotal part of development and in keeping with the 2030 vision.

For any country to be considered as developed, these three infrastructures must be in top shape; our roadways, the health system and our transport system. I am hopeful that we will see the train rolling again.

Alrick Davis


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