JAMAICA: The University of Technology and the UK’s University of Birmingham have signed a memorandum of understanding for technical co-operation to develop engineering capabilities in support of ambitions to revive railway services.
The MoU was facilitated by Dr Kevin Brown of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, an advisory body set up to facilitate engagement between the government and its citizens abroad.
Public passenger and freight services on the Jamaica Railway Corp network ceased in 1992, but some bauxite traffic continued. Various revival proposals have been put forward over the years, and a short-lived passenger service was launched in 2011.
‘Jamaica has one of the oldest railway networks in the world, much of which is presently in disrepair’, Brown explained on May 3. ‘The signing of the MOU is part of a wider project by UK-based Friends of the Jamaica National Railway to develop a community tourism railway line between Kingston station and the Culture Yard in Trench Town.
‘Community rail has been successful in the UK and its introduction to Jamaica will help to boost the local economy and aid in the redevelopment of the rail sector. The expertise and support from the two universities will be pivotal to the success of the community rail project and the Jamaica government’s vision of bringing back passenger railway service across the country.’
Oneil Josephs, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Technology, said ‘we are excited about the prospects of combining expertise from both our institutions towards providing innovation and sustainable solutions to Jamaica’s broader thrust for railway technology development’.
Professor Clive Roberts, head of the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham, said ‘with strong industry links in both countries, we’re looking forward to delivering solutions that can be rapidly adopted by the rail sector’.