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Riversdale: Something thrives at the old train station

Published:Sunday | March 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Station yard filled with flowering plants

Physically, Riversdale, St Catherine, is an extended community, a turn-off from the main road which leads to St Mary going back down the hill and eventually into a dead end that shows there is much more to it than at first sight.

It is on this road that many of the homes in Riversdale lie, and while the train station is off the main road, it is near the cul de sac that the train line crosses the road.

But before the steel meets asphalt, it runs up into a physical block, part of Castelle Rule's shop.

On one side, the line disappears at an upright sheet of zinc; on the other it is in plain sight in an enclosed seating area.

Rule is sitting in that area and cheerfully tells The Sunday Gleaner "me buil' pon the line, but you realise me neva go pon the iron". He points out also that what he has built is removable. "It can take up. Da part ya is jus' a likkle tenda part. Man tell me say me can buil', but me no fe move the iron."

Rule used to grow flowers, setting up his shop three years ago, long after the train service stopped. "True me have the space and the train did stop run, me put up a ting and start sell," he said.

However, if the train starts running again, he accepts that "me no haffi move? A fi dem place. A nuff a we haffi move. If every man a move me no haffi move too".

Rule may not have moved the line, but at other places in that section of Riversdale someone has. About 100 feet of one side is missing at one point, a few feet visible in the bush. The grass growing in the middle of the tracks shows that it has not been used for a long time.

Still, the line at Riversdale has been put to some use even after the trains stopped running and at the road crossing the residents remember the 'line skate', which someone used to carry buckets of water.

commercial use

The Riversdale Station, like many The Sunday Gleaner has seen, has been put to commercial use, a sign announcing the presence of Exquisite Iron Craft. A column of speaker boxes is inside the open door to the business place, but the sound coming from it is not the really harmonious thing about the Riversdale station.

That is the flowers, the well-tended greenery especially striking because of the dry conditions. The train station may not be the bustling hive of activity it would have been at arrival and departure time, but at least, at Riversdale something thrives there.

- M.C.