Investing Millions to Go to Waste 🚂 Apoera's Disregarded Railway Station

Few from my generation know about the railway station in West-Suriname and the industrial city that Apoera could've been. Don't blame them though, because the history books don't mention it (yet). I only knew about it, because my dad had mentioned it a few times and I was/am fortunate enough to have seen it with my own eyes.


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Forgotten investments.


When talking about West-Suriname we mainly mean the regions Apoera, Avanavero falls and Kabalebo resort, with the Bakhuis mountains. In the sixties through seventies Suriname's government approved the feasibility studies of the presence of mineral resources in this zone, done by consultants like Interfor, Harza, Salzgitter, World bank, Norconsult, GMD, CONS, etc. Out of the outcomes came the development project West-Suriname plan, from the hands of Dr. Ir. Frank Essed. They found an estimated 300 million tons bauxite reserve, unknown amounts of copper and iron ore. Furthermore, there was the option to built a second hydro power plant in Suriname, that could have supplied eight times (1.000 MWe potential waterpower) the amount that's being provided by the current hydro power plant.


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To realize all of those development plans the government began the investments in infrastructure, starting with opening up seven airports in the jungle, a 52 km. road from camp 52 to Apoera (intended to be the capital of West-Suriname), a road form Avanavero to Matapi, etc., the building of homes, a port to harbor sea vessels and sports and leisurely accommodations. And the most striking to me was the railway from Bakhuis to Apoera. Even the local entrepreneurs were planning to move to Apoera to open up shop(s). With the infrastructure in place agriculture, forestry, tourism, community development, etc. could have thrived. All these investments cost the state approximately 300 hundred million guilders.


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And then the military's coup d'état in the eighties happened. The military's leaders halted all the plans, because they found the plans to be unrealistic. All the investments that could've been plundered were stolen and sold. Some parts of the work sheds and bridges are even now standing in Guyana. All that's left of Apoera is an almost ghost town, with not a lot of job opportunities and no future prospects in the coming years for the locals. The railway station has almost completely been taken over again by the jungle, with bees, bats and other vermin taking up refuge.


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It broke my heart to see the remains of something that could've been beautiful and thriving. Only in Europe have I had the luxury to travel in a train, while this could've been a commodity in my own country. West-Suriname is now but a beautiful distant forgotten dream. Wondering if Suriname will ever become developed, with all its potential being used in the correct, just and honest way. Time will only tell.

Does this story of West-Suriname seem familiar to you; investing hundreds of millions into something that could've been profitable, only to be squandered by a few?


Chasse into the backstage! 💃



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15 comments
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bad thing ... Who is the current president of Suriname?

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The current president is Chandrikapersad Santokhi. He and and his party were elected amongst others last year. There's a bit of difference with how things are going now, but I'm still skeptical. As I am with most politicians, if not all hahaha
But don't think they'll be picking up this huge project anytime soon, as our country has a lot of debts and not yet a producing/exporting economy.

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I don't know about. I only know a bit about the train but not the railway.

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Yeah, most of the railway is gone or taken over by the jungle. The station is still quite "intact" and yes you can still see some skeletons of the trains/locomotives around in some areas as decor.

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It could have been a giant project... and usually with a project this big comes a lot of employment opportunities... it's sad to see it rotting... is there any plans on reviving it?

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(Edited)

That was the whole plan yeah, job opportunities, (local) businesses, tourism, etc. which would eventually lead to the settlement of a big industrial city.

Just last year another government got elected, but no one has mentioned this project. I am afraid that nobody wants to touch it, as large funds are again needed. The country has of this moment a lot of debts and I haven't seen no plans of this scale yet from no politician in all my time on this planet.

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Thanks for reply. This is an article from a few years ago, but it actually shows how the economic situation in Suriname was already difficult a few years ago. Link: https://blogs.iadb.org/caribbean-dev-trends/en/how-a-triple-commodity-crisis-stalled-surinames-economy/

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It has been for 10 - 15 years if you ask me. Suriname's economy has had surges of surges and declines, with a lot of factors taken into account. Before the civil war the economy was thriving. In the late nineties and early 2000 the economy was trying to recover and then again spiral descend and so on. So now I'll just wait and see what the current government will do about the economic status.

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ʙɪɢ ᴜᴘ ʏᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴘᴏsᴛ ɪs ғᴇᴀᴛᴜʀᴇᴅ ɪɴ ᴏᴜʀ

JAHMin' Posts Of The Week [February 8th - February 14th, 2021] Suriname History, A Dub Teaser, Reggae For Valentine's Day, & More!!

manually curated by @JustinParke on behalf of @ReggaeJAHM

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Man that is a shame! And I'm guess millions in tax payers' money. It was a grand idea but maybe they realized it wasn't feasible a little too late. It might have ended up costing more waste if continued. Or it could have created the infrastructure for economic development. My guess is the Chinese will finish the job and take all the natural resources while giving the region a face lift. I doubt the new government will touch it unless the Chinese get involved.

The waterfalls look nice at Avanavero.

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(Edited)

Hahaha indeed the Chinese government has invested in a lot op projects in Suriname. It wouldn't surprise me if they'll make it clear to be interested in the project, but haven't heard anything as of yet.

I haven't done enough research to state if the government used tax payers money, but before or during the Independence of Suriname in 1975, the Dutch government gave Suriname a sort of "trust" of I don't know how much money, that should have been used in development projects. Suriname had to use those funds before a certain time period and part of that money was planned to be used in this project and a part was used in the first hydro power plant. During the coup the military used the money for a lot of small scale projects. But a lot wasn't invested in long term plans. I don't even know if all was used though.

Yeah... Those falls are heavenly... Didn't use the pictures we made, because I could use those for another post about the falls itself 😅

Thank you for the gifts 😁

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