From Peter Bewers.
AS a local resident and summertime driver of Le Petit Train, I have been interested in the sudden flurry of interest in the possibility of the old rail track from St Helier to St Aubin being used again for public transport all year round by Le Petit Train to ease the overcrowding and congestion on the route into St Helier, and the return in the evening for many Islanders who commute every day.
This is possibly due to the interest of the Transport Minister, Mike Jackson, and the article in the Jersey Evening Post recently. It was this time last year that Mr Jackson held a weekend workshop for the future of St Aubin, and making better use of Le Petit Train came up in discussion in our group under ‘St Aubin, ten years from now’.
Many good schemes came forward for the easing of the parking problem without resorting to land reclamation, which would ruin St Aubin, and reducing through traffic to make the village a more pleasant place to shop and visit, with possible improvement to the harbour etc.
As far as the possibility of reviving the old rail service on the seafront from St Aubin to St Helier is concerned, there is no problem except that Pullman-type enclosed carriages would be required – and some financial support, similar to the subsidy for the Island’s bus operator, would have to be forthcoming from the States.
The current engines could haul say a couple of three- or four-carriage trains morning and evening, using the new Liberation Station at the St Helier end as the trains did many years ago.
This would benefit the Island in the following ways:
• Reduce exhaust emissions with at least 300 fewer cars going each way daily.
• Reduce and free the same number of parking spaces in St Helier daily.
• Make travelling to work in town a lot more enjoyable than it is today.
There is the possibility of extending the cycle track by a slight widening of the old track bed out to Les Quennevais and La Moye. Laying a strip of tarmacadam would again benefit everyone by separating the cyclists and walkers, which the present arrangement does not.
Many readers may not agree with me on this possibility, but re-using the old track beds could have considerable benefits, and possibilities for the west of Jersey, but I feel we are very fortunate in that the track bed of the old Jersey Western Railway is already owned by the States and has not been allowed to be built upon as the Jersey Eastern has, making use of that route impossible to restore.
Many people feel that the railway to St Brelade and La Moye would not have been closed had the large amount of residential development been foreseen. The railway would have been a very useful alternative to use of the car to commute in the Island.
47 Jasmine Place,