China to Finance Jamaican Rail Overhaul

KINGSTON, Jamaica — China has agreed to finance much of a $354 million project to overhaul Jamaican railroads, officials said.

Jamaica is building 18 new stations as part of what is expected to be a three-year overhaul. Once completed, railroads will connect many of the island’s major cities, including Montego Bay and Kingston.

As part of the agreement, China will loan Jamaica 85 percent of the $354 million needed for the project.

“The passenger and freight rail service is intended to significantly impact on the rising fuel cost, with the Government focused on getting much of the island’s freight transportation done by rail,” Jamaica’s Transport Minister Mike Henry said, according to a report in The Jamaica Observer.

In recent years, Jamaica’s rail network, which dates to the 19th century, has fallen into a state of disrepair, and only an estimated 35 of the island’s nearly 170 rail miles are in operation. Railroads in Jamaica mostly carries Bauxite, an aluminum ore.

Passenger rail service on the island ceased in October 1992.

— News Wire