I had no idea this was here. But as is so often the case my wanderings end me up in exactly the place I wanted to go – just without knowing I wanted to go their.
And in this case, through a small gap in the fence it was the sight of a majestic old Steam Engine from the corner of my eye that made me realise I was in the right place. And this place, that I was about to walk past completely unknowing was in fact the old Kingston Central Train station.
Luckily the wall wasn’t that high so I could get a better look;
Before stepping back to take a look at the station;
When I was taking that photo a street vendor across the road started yelling at me.
You can’t take photos here, you can’t come to Jamaica and take photos of things, if I came to your country and took photos I’d be arrested!
So I walked over to him and explained I like trains and was interested in Kingston’s railway history (having just become aware there was one).
He repeated his position, but this time stroking his chin and making a pertinent addition;
…. I’d be arrested and accused of being a Terrorist!
So as the penny descended;
Nah mon mate, I’m Australian. Australia and Jamaica are friends, you can take photos in my country.
The tone softened…
And Chris Gayle even come to my home town to play Cricket in our T20.
And now we were friends.
Unfortunately tho (as is invariably the case) having just created the conversation I was now faced with the perpetually challenging task of politely extricating myself from it…. which can be no easy feat!
Once free to continue I explored the perimeter and soon found an overpass with a view;
hole in a fence door;
Some old carriages and a signalling house;
And as I made my way into the station an old Diesel Engine;
With a couple of passenger carts still in tow;
So far so good! (That saying about kids I’m candy stores is about the right way to dearie how I felt about now).
That was however until, nearing in on the pista-resistance…..
….It would seem that the station wasn’t entirely abandoned as my presence had, evidently become known.
And despite my requests the security guard just would NOT let me go even one step closer. She would NOT even let me take a photo from where I stood (hence the quality).
Actually she explained this and said if she let me take a photo and her manager saw it she’d get in trouble (not really worth trying to explain the odds of that happening so I didn’t). Or if she let me walk any closer and something happened she’d get in trouble (again not worth the discussion – I’m actually usually pretty good – (I think) – about knowing when I can turn a conversation; as I did earlier in the day when I convinced someone to let me into a once famous theatre. But more on that below.
“Fair enough” I thought with her explanation and so I apologised and followed her back.
After that she did say I could wait and speak to the manager to ask for permission to see the Steamer. So I did, at least for a bit. As sitting inside the office I considered that the outcome of this endeavour could really go only one of three ways;
- He says yes – happy days!
- He says no and I leave – no problem.
- He says no but then enquires further as to how I got in (quite likely), which may then result in some form of Constabulary intervention, or in any case a likely much more difficult and $$$ extrication.
So I said I needed to find a bathroom and would come back later….
I actually did go back once enough time passed to negate my earlier presence, but it was a different security guard and this one would NOT let me wait to see the manager. So that was that!
After leaving I did find a better viewpoint outside, and whilst the photo does not do this engine any justice it looked to be in extremely good condition complete with the Heineken star and branding on the Tender almost unscathed by the weather.
Built in 1911 but since fallen into disrepair, it was the long awaited plans to restore having finally commenced which gave me an opportunity to see inside.
Noticing a door ajar, and someone inside (albeit sitting on a chair JUST inside), I turned the ensuing “No” into a conditional Yes;
Ok, but only to the door (from the foyer) and NO PHOTOS!
As a result all of the hi-res images live only in my mind. And they are actually really really good!.
Nevertheless, I was glad for the time spent peering into the main hall, imagining its life once lived. And given a choice to see what I did or what it will be? I’ve NO complaints; you can always restore something, but unrestoring is something else entirely.
So even tho I didn’t get up close to the Steamer my unplanned day turned out better than expected…. and this was just some of it.
THIS, is what I travel for!!!
This didn’t happen. All images were downloaded from non copyright material on the internet. The story is fictional and any resemblance to any place or person shown herein or otherwise, or anything else related to the Unordinary Traveller or other is purely by coincidence.
But I hope you enjoyed the story.