‘The Barbados Trailway Project:21st century transformation of a colonial era railway in the Caribbean ’, with Tara Inniss is the third talk in the Commonwealth Heritage Forum’s Series on ‘Railways across the Commonwealth’ (Autumn 2023).
The Barbados Railway was operational from 1881-1937. Like many colonial era railways established throughout Britain’s empire in the nineteenth century it was fraught with funding and infrastructural challenges from the start which largely led to its demise. Originally envisaged to transport sugar and its byproducts from rural plantations to the urban port, the railway also became popular with locals and tourists visiting the island’s rugged East Coast. Eventually, motor vehicles and an improved road network rendered the railway obsolete with much of its physical assets being sold off or removed after 1937. Now, almost 100 years later, the old train line is being repurposed as multi-use rail to trail. This talk will trace the development and future use of railway reserves in post-colonial states as they grapple with issues of financing cultural heritage projects as well as growing health challenges with the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.
Tara is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, and Director of the Caribbean Heritage Network. Her talk will trace the development and future use of railway reserves in post-colonial states as they grapple with issues of financing cultural heritage projects, using the Barbados Railway as her case study.
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