A multi-purpose heritage trail which promotes recreation, wellness and cross-country transport.
Imagine a multi-purpose trail for cyclists, runners, walkers and families.
BARBADOS TRAILWAY PROJECT
A SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT
BARBADOS TRAILWAY PROJECT
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE BARBADOS RAILWAY
SEPTEMBER 30TH 2023
Many of our friends and volunteers at the Future Centre Trust follow the progress of the Barbados Trailway Project with keen interest, and this new quarterly newsletter is an ideal means to provide updates. Indeed, we have been forging eastwards from Carmichael towards Brighton with the grading and planting of fruit trees, many of them installed by civic or corporate teams, or more recently youth from the Juvenile Liaison Scheme. However, in tandem with the physical progress of the Trailway, it is important to report on any headway we make with the policy environment in which the project sits.
Anyone close to the project knows that the Barbados Trailway will play a huge role in our island’s sustainable future by providing a safe, non-polluting mode of transportation. The good news is that these benefits have now been recognized in the revisions to the Draft Physical Development Plan 2023. We want to commend the large cadre of professionals who worked on this document, which states: “There must be a change in emphasis towards mobility – shifting the focus from planning for cars into planning a network where there is transportation choice for people and goods. The PDP must set the stage to ensure that a range of transportation strategies and modes are deployed that are appropriate to the context”.
If the role of a policy document like the Physical Development Plan is mainly to ‘set the stage’, then it falls to us at the Future Centre Trust to perform on that stage, by executing a tangible, shovel-ready project like the Trailway, which can directly improve the lives of future commuters. A great performance requires great support, and ideally the document would go further to ensure active transport modes are embraced.
It is not sufficient to encourage bike trails at rural and urban hubs, or new developments as they evolve because that will produce a lack of continuity. If the goal is to encourage children to ride to school, then traffic routes need to be safe for the entirety of their journey. Where commutes are longer, supporting infrastructure like bike racks on the front of the new electric buses would complement the Traillway and provide multi-modal options. If the goal is to encourage employees to ride to work, then corporate Barbados must provide supporting infrastructure like bike storage and improved changing facilities in workplaces.
A rail-to-trail conversion is only possible today in Barbados because our planning and surveying professionals have done an excellent job over the years of preventing encroachments on the historic train line trackbed. If the Physical Development Plan 2023 can codify that level of scrutiny, then we have one of the best sustainable transport networks in the world, in our future.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, a world-respected environmental advocate, made the call for more bike trails and continuous sidewalks during a St.James Speak public forum this week. You can also do your part as a friend of the Future Centre Trust, and supporter of the Trailway. Please add your voice in private and public conversations, including this week’s discussions on the Physical Development Plan, in support of this exciting project!
Imagine a multi-purpose trail for cyclists, runners, walkers and families. Lined with trees, away from vehicular traffic, with a comfortable gradient to make it easy for anyone to use.
You’re picturing the Barbados Trailway: a project which will promote heritage, recreation and wellness, as well as offer a sustainable transport system. The Barbados Trailway will convert the old Barbados Railway reserve from Bulkeley Sugar Factory, St. George, to Consett Bay, St. John, into an accessible, picturesque rail-to-trail network for cyclists, pedestrians and runners.
Have you heard of a rail-to-trail network before? They are a popular form of adaptive reuse where disused train routes are reborn as bicycle or walking trails. They make an ideal pathway and also promote nature and heritage conservancy.
Find out more information about other rail-to-trail projects in other countries below:
Canada: https://trailway.ca/ and https://www.railpath.ca/
The Barbados Trailway offers a great opportunity to reimagine the old railway line as an exciting pathway for exercise and even transport.
Listen to our acting Chairman, Barney Gibbs as he discusses the Trailway in detail during his Wirred Interview.
Did you know that the Barbados train line was operational from 1881 to 1937? Learn more right here: