Railway restart gets on track
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
At least three local private sector companies seem set to partner with the Government as it seeks to resuscitate the local passenger and cargo rail service.
Minister of Transport and Mining Lester 'Mike' Henry is to take part in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Herzog Trans Services Incorporated out of the United States and the Jamaica Railway Corporation at the Ministry of Transport and Mining, in St Andrew, this morning.
Also slated to participate are Adam Stewart, chairman of Island Routes; Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chairman of J. Wray and Nephew Limited; and Paul Hanworth,chairman of Chukka Cove.
Negotiations with Herzog began shortly after the Jamaica Labour Party took office in February and The Gleaner understands that the parties have now agreed on a number of matters in respect of resuscitating the rail service.
The resuscitation will take place on a phased basis, with a trial run set for Thursday, December 22.
There is speculation that the tourism industry is the primary target for the passenger component of the railway.
It coincides with last month’s groundbreaking ceremony for a significant upgrade of the Apple Rum Tour.
The company has projected to spend US$7.2 million to build the Appleton Estate Visitor’s Centre which will house a state-of-the-art restaurant surrounded by cane fields to create what Jimmy Lawrence then described as a "unique visitor experience".
Herzog Transit Services provides train crews, train dispatchers and support personnel for the operation of passenger trains throughout the United States.
It also provides ticketing, concessions and other customer service functions.