The Train Lines That Lead To Nowhere
As I write this article, my thoughts return to when I was a child, the fond memories of the steam train bellowing smoke with its distinct sound. I also recall until this day the driver of that train was a Canadian called Joe Waugh. As children we knew exactly the hour the train from Kingston to Montego Bay would pass through the various small stations collecting goods. We would get to the Station nearest to us just to marvel at the sight and sound of this glorious monster heading at full speed towards the Station, and Joe Waugh would be expecting us, he would blow the horn as he passed us with a cheery wave, and like children all over we all wanted to be a Train Driver when we grew up.
That all happened a long time ago. These tracks can still be found today, if the Train was needed then when the population of Jamaica was just three quarter of a million, it is needed even more today. The Train should be running at full speed on the tracks to cater for a population of around 3.5 million. The tracks still remain to this day, and can be seen everywhere, in Kingston, Spanish Town, Porus, Katadupa, Balaclava, Cambridge, with branch lines leading to the interior, where Bananas and other commodities were collected, for British companies such as Tate & Lyle, The Roxborough Company, the Jamaican Fruit Company, Grace Kennedy, and other producers, where the goods were prepared to be shipped to the Mother Country.
Yes our island was being bled dry to build Bristol, London, Liverpool, and other English Towns, at the same time feeding the Industrial Revolution.
Not long after the British left Jamaica the Steam Train made its last journey across the island. Nothing left to be exploited, the productive land which once produced such great wealth for Britain, has now turned into jungle and waste land, some parts are almost unpenetratable because of neglect and decay.
Today we have narrow roads like tracks, with potholes, as deep as craters, so bad are the roads, that ordinary cars find it difficult to drive on them. Jamaica has these large American monster trucks which were built to travel on the first world motor ways which are expected to negotiate narrow roads, bends and corners, where sometimes its difficult for one truck to pass another, and instead of passengers on the train, the country is filled with motor cars of all description, some so expensive, that a stranger coming to Jamaica for the first time, seeing the sight before them, of all these cars, are baffled to be told they are in a third world country.
The madness of the people on the roads causes hundreds of deaths each year, while the Train could carry all the goods, which the Juggernauts carry, and most of the drivers and passengers, which the car carries, and Jamaica would be a more sober and tolerant society.
I have made many enquiries to find out why the Trains no longer run in a time of great necessity, many answers have been given, namely, the criminals used to hold up the train and rob the passengers. This did not happen when the British were here, what is the root cause why it happened after the British had left? Is it because our Government is incapable of governing, that the Police are incapable of Policing, or is it because the masses of the people have been so neglected by the Government who took over the running of their country, and did not possess the knowledge, or the wisdom, or the understanding of leadership, and control.
It is indeed a disgrace that all the other countries of the world still have their train, even India still has its mountain train, all we possess in Jamaica are miles and miles of steel train lines, still embedded in the ground, which Lead to Nowhere.
by Enrico A Stennett