MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague says the rail service from Montego Bay to Appleton Estate in St Elizabeth will be revived soon.
Speaking at the launch of the Ride Jamaica Taxi Service Mobile App in Montego Bay, last week, Montague said the plan is to do the work in two phases, so as to get the service up and running in quick order, “where our people can benefit”.
“We will get the Montpelier, St James to Appleton leg going first. That's the easier part, as the lines there are in good order. Following that, we will start working on the Freeport, St James, leg that will take visitors from Montego Bay to the island's southern coast and where our vendors along the way can earn,” the minister said.
He added that once the rail service is back up and running, “we want to ensure that it is properly utilised and that professionalism is the order of the day”.
He added: “The rail service is long overdue and can be a real game-changer for tourism, particularly on the south coast. Not only will it assist in diversifying our tourism offerings, but it can significantly boost the earning potential of our local vendors who ply their trade between Montego Bay and the south coast. We just want to ensure that everybody is professional and will do their business in an orderly way,” the minister said.
“When the railway was up and running, the Appleton leg of the tour, which started from Montego Bay, was very popular and was probably the number-two or -three attraction in the country,” Montague said.
The Government, through the Ministry of Transport and Mining, in 2016 signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the United States company, Herzog International, to resurrect the railway service in sections of the island.
The project, to be done in two phases, will commence with the development of the Montego Bay to Appleton, St Elizabeth, leg.
The others are Phase 2a — Spanish Town to Ewarton and Spanish Town to Clarendon Park; Phase 2b — Appleton to Clarendon Park; Phase 3 — Spanish Town to Kingston; and Phase 4 — connecting Vernamfield to the existing main line.