Former councilor Paras Ramoutar wants the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) to effect urgent repairs to the 125-year-old water tank to ensure safety for the community. And this is noteworthy case for the National Trust, which must not only look at structures in urban areas.
Let Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley act on this issue with the same passion as he did for the Cazabon Paintings.
Ramoutar made this call following the collapse of the Marabella Train Line Bridge some years ago.
Ramoutar said that the Caparo Water Tank has the capacity to contain 10,000 gallons of water which were used by locomotives manufactured in Leeds, England as they were coal-powered for the train which passed and knitted the rural and agricultural communities like Enterprise, Depot Hall, Todds Road, Caparo, Mamoral Crossing, Brasso Piedra, Flanagin Town, Brasso, Tabaquite, Mitchell’s Gap, TCO, Brother’s Road, San Pedro, Dades Trace and Rio Claro until 1965 when then Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams foolishly shut down the train system, which if it was operational today would have solved our critical transportation and the movement of people and services, especially to rural communities.
The train from Jerningham Junction to Rio Claro was called the “Manicou Train” because it traversed the bushes of Central Trinidad. Ramoutar pointed that over the several decades, since the abrupt closure of the Trinidad Government Railways (TGR) he wrote to several ministries and PTSC officials to give the Tank, “a genuine face lift and adore it as a tourism spot for nationals and foreigners alike, but to no avail”.
The railways system as an integral part of agricultural development and the economy of the then island of Trinidad, as the scores of French cocoa and coffee planters used the train as the only means of transport to Port-of-Spain for eventual shipment to England.
Ramoutar said that his research revealed that the trains used to stop in Caparo for an hour or so to fill its engine. Additionally, the tank was serviced by the then Central Water Distribution Authority, which was the forerunner to today’s inefficient WASA, and water was sourced from the Arena Road/Bancroft Reservoir, and because of its installation Chickland Road, Caparo had a full supply of water. And when the main line was dysfunctional at times, the Station Master would willingly open the valve for the nearby villagers to access water.
Ramoutar is calling on the PTSC to act quickly and restore the tank to its original glory, and the tank symbolizes the strength and unity of the people of Caparo. “We feel this railway artifact is Caparo’s contribution to the history and national treasure of Trinidad and Tobago, as it is the only such installation around.”
“I humbly suggest that the Ministries of Tourism, Culture, Planning and Development, and the architectural societies act swiftly to act on this issue, and not waiver like the Church of Scotland. Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain recently”, Ramoutar said.