Vázquez loses patience
28 Mar 2008
URUGUAY: Since March 10 state railway AFE has had a new board, the previous incumbents having been suddenly removed by President Tabaré Vázquez. It appears that his administration had lost patience with the slow pace of reform at AFE, where projects to involve the private sector in restoring the national network and reviving rail freight have not moved as rapidly as the government would have liked.
Speaking on Radio El Espectador on March 13, Minister of Transport & Public Works Víctor Rossi explained that Vázquez had acted 'because unfortunately we did not manage to all agree on a common strategy, and for a team to perform we all have to be aiming for the same goal'. He may have had in mind ousted AFE Vice-President Luis Pérez Melón who had criticised the railway's dysfunctional administration.
The new team may have similar problems on its hands. Incoming Director Juan Silveira holds a top post at a railway trade union that has been highly critical of plans to involve the private sector, pointing to an internal AFE study that concluded that work to upgrade 720 km of infrastructure could be undertaken for US$60m rather than the US$170m apparently being quoted by bidders for the infrastructure PPP.
Of the five bids to upgrade the 962 km core of the AFE network, Rossi said two were 'worthy of consideration and we are going to start negotiations to see if we can fix the prices as much as possible'. The outcome would determine the precise amount of track that the government could afford to renew, he added.
Meanwhile, a data room was due to be opened last month for the four prequalified bidders for a 51% stake in a joint venture with AFE to operate freight trains on the national network. Once again, it appears that much of the detail, including the length of the concession, is to be thrashed out through negotiation, but Rossi was clear that the private sector would be expected to invest in new traction and rolling stock.
Uruguayan State Railway (AFE) will received 180 used flat wagons from Italy, which have been bought at a heavy discount. The vehicles will be adapted to transport containers or timber, but will need modification before they enter service.
Uruguay’s state railway AFE is expected to begin work on a US$30m programme to renew 377 km of track next month, using rail supplied by Russia to meet an outstanding debt and sleepers imported from Paraguay. A parallel programme by infrastructure authority CFU to return 414 km to traffic is reported to have encountered further delay, with the two bids received of around US$60m to repair 200 km exceeding the government’s budget.
The East Germans removed all trace of ownership of wagons given/sold to them by West Germany, including paint and cast numberplates.
Track renewals closer
23 Apr 2009
URUGUAY: State railway AFE was due to begin track renewals between Tacuarembó and Rivera last month, having begun to move rail for the project from a site near Peñarol using wagons supplied by Italian State Railways. Manufactured in Russia, the rail had been in storage since 1999.
Meanwhile, infrastructure authority CFU is currently considering bids to undertake track renewals on a further 414 km of the network.
With work completed on the 6 km from central Montevideo to Sayago, work is now underway to install Safetran level crossing gates on the routes from Sayago to Colón and Peñarol. The gates have been supplied by Autotrol of Argentina, which was awarded a contract to upgrade 75 crossings.
Suburban trains a priority, says AFE's new president - Uruguay
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 13:58 (GMT-0400)
Uruguay's state-owned rail firm AFE aims to introduce suburban trains connecting capital Montevideo to neighbouring areas through a bi-modal system, the firm's newly appointed president, Alejandro Orellano, told BNamericas.
"Implementing a system similar to the ones in Europe, where suburban trains connect to the local mass transport system, is a major goal for me, but it is also a very ambitious one," Orellano said.
Earlier this week, Orellano met with Juan Antonio Salgado, the president of Uruguay's main urban bus firm, Cutcsa, to discuss expanding Montevideo's bus fare system to include passenger trains.
While preliminary studies for the system's expansion have already been carried out, AFE will work with Cutcsa to carry out detailed feasibility studies to combine the payment systems.
The bi-modal system will improve connectivity between Montevideo and neighbouring districts in Canelones, San Jose and Florida departments, said Orellano, adding that it will also bring major benefits to users in terms of both time and money.
Orellano took up office on June 1 and is expected to act as AFE's president until the end of President Jose Mujica's term in 2015.
From a correspondent-
This news is rubbish.
AFE priority IS FREIGHT, not passengers.
There ARE suburban trains (but of course the authors have no idea of what they are writing about, as usual), they will try (as the talkings started in 1998...) to start a single ticket for both trips, that´s all.
But, on the other way, the Transport Minister said that the Montevideo Central Station won´t be used again as a train terminus and will be a cultural centre (despite the state is broken and they have no idea of how that will be done, among other things). We are doing campaign against this - the AFE vice-president in their discourse said that AFE is interested to return!
AFE, Cutcsa to launch consultancy tender for integrated fare system - Uruguay
Friday, June 4, 2010 14:04 (GMT-0400)
Uruguay's state-owned rail company AFE and urban bus firm Cutcsa will launch a consultancy tender to study the implementation of an integrated service fare system by month-end, AFE president Alejandro Orellano said.
The new payment system will allow AFE's passengers to pay fares using the same smart card that is used on capital Montevideo's bus network. The move would improve the rail firm's services by reducing the time its users spend waiting to buy train tickets, Orellano said.
AFE and Cuctsa are currently drawing up the bidding rules for the tender. The firms had initially planned to carry out the studies internally, but decided to launch a tender to benefit from the experience and innovation of both local and international firms, according to Orellano.
The integrated fare system is part of Orellano's goal to have suburban trains connecting Montevideo to bus systems in departments Canelones, Florida and San Jose.
Uruguay's state-owned railway firm AFE will need an estimated US$400mn to complete an upgrade plan across its network.
AFE aims to repair and upgrade the system's 1,650 km of operative railways during President José Mujica's term, which ends in 2014.
One of the projects included in the plan is the repair of a network connecting capital Montevideo's port to fluvial ports Fray Bentos, Paysandú and Salto.
The company is also looking to refurbish rolling stock and purchase new wagons and locomotives.
The investment plan is likely to be covered by loans obtained by AFE and the central government, and through private investment.
The planned improvements are designed to increase the average speed of cargo trains to 40km/h. Poor conditions on the rail network currently force freight trains to travel at very low speeds.
Our local correspondent, Marcelo, comments -
More or less is correct, but "one of the projects" is repair the lines from Chamberlain to Fray Bentos and from Algorta to Salto. Sections between Tres Arboles and Guichon, Algorta and Fray Bentos and between Queguay and Salto are in very bad shape, the other sections are in regular or good condition.
Inter-American Development Bank approved a new country strategy for Uruguay on August 2. IADB believes Administración de Ferrocarriles del Estado ‘does not have a suitable business model for participating in the national logistics system’, but the government is analysing a restructuring proposal to enable AFE to increase its share of the freight market and IADB will support institutional strengthening.
The reconstruction of lines for goods transport is progressing. The section Pintado - Rivera will soon be finished. The Brasilian connecting line Cacequí - Santana do Livramento shall be finished by the end of the year. Thus, the speed in this section can be raised from a minimum of 25 Kilometres per hour to a minimum of 40 Kilometres per hour. Furthermore the lines Piedra Sola - Tres Arboles - Chamberlain will be repaired. In 2012 it is planned to rebuild the lines in the Litoral between Fray Bentos and Algorta as well as from Queguay (North of Paysandú to Salto , a total of 222 Kilometres. Apart of the replacement of sleepers and track the bridges must be reinforced to increase the axle load from 14 to 18 tons. In the LItora these are first considerable line repairs since 1952.
Since mid January 2011 the steam service in Paraguay has come to an end. Not far away, in Montevideo, they’ve overhauled a similar Beyer Peacock locomotive for charter trains. At the end of our Argentina tour I’ll make a short visit to Montevideo and check the opportunities for running a
charter train there. The problem is the available stock. All coaches they’re using have the new owner written on both sides of the coaches in big letters. You’ll here about the results in one of the next newsletters.
South American trading bloc Mercosur has signed an agreement to provide US$50mn to Uruguay's state-owned rail company AFE to carry out railway restoration works.
"South American trading bloc Mercosur has signed an agreement to provide US$50mn to Uruguay's state-owned rail company AFE to carry out railway restoration works."
The second part of the works of the Pintado-Rivera section of Montevideo-Rivera line.
Uruguay's transport and public works ministry (MTOP) has received four bids for a tender to draw up a plan to relaunch the country's railway system.
Uruguay's transport and public works ministry (MTOP) has approved tender specifications for a project to rehabilitate a 422km rail line between the northern border city of Rivera and Pintado
From 01/06/2012 AFE will withdraw all passenger services between Montevideo
and Sudriers, 25 de Agosto-San José and 25 de Agosto-Florida.
Only two trains a day will remain between Montevideo and 25 de Agosto and
one will be cut to Progreso (round trip in the day). This is the worst
level of service after the reopening of the passenger services in 1993 in
Also all Brill 60 railcars and VT 795 railbuses will be stored as some person
in AFE says that they are unsafe.
Monday, May 28, 2012
URUGUAYAN State Railways (AFE) has announced that it will withdraw all passenger services this week, with the exception of two trains per day on the line from Montevideo 25 de Agosto (one of which runs only as far as Progreso).
All trains north and west of 25 de Agosto to San Jose and Florida plus all services between Montevideo and Sudriers will cease on June 1.
The lines used by passenger services were rehabilitated as recently as 2007 with automatic level crossings, and passenger services beyond 25 de Agosto only resumed in 2007/08. However the rolling stock is much older, with the Brill railbuses used on the Sudriers service dating back to the 1930s.
The decision is another blow to passenger operations in Uruguay, following the recent curtailment of cross-border services from Argentina. Buenos Aires Trains (TBA) operated one train per week between Pilar near Buenos Aires and Paso de los Toros in central Uruguay using a former Netherlands Railways (NS) Wadloper dmu. The poor state of the track on the Uruguayan section, low ridership, and the cost of subsidising operations prompted the Uruguayan government to withdraw funding for the service between Paysandu and Paso de los Toros last December. The service was further cut back to Salto, the first station in Uruguayan territory, in February.
Uruguay discontinues passenger services, ends use of Brill railcars
By Keith Fender
Published: May 30, 2012
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Uruguayan Railways will end passenger service except for two trains as of June 1, thus ending the use of Philadelphia-built Brill 60 cars.
The country reinstated passenger service between 2003 and 2008 after a 1988 decision to end it.
Uruguay was the last public railway using Brill 60 railcars, built in Philadelphia by the Brill Co. in 1936-37 for use on Uruguay’s standard gauge network. Two units remained in use, one of them rebuilt in 2009 with a new engine; the Brill cars had been the regular trains on the Sudriers branch service since it re-started in 2005 working several round trips a day. The single-ended units had to be turned using a turntable at both ends of the trip. A few Brill built cars remain in use with heritage railways in Australia.
Uruguay’s fleet of 1950s vintage West German built railbus DMUs will also be withdrawn; the few remaining passenger services will be operated by Alstom-built diesels dating from the 1960s.
Uruguay's transport and public works ministry (MTOP) plans to invest an additional US$135mn to rehabilitate the country's dilapidated railway network.
Due to a lack of serviceable locomotives, Uruguayan national operator AFE suspended passenger services between Montevideo and Sudriers on June 1. Services to San José and Florida now only operate as far as 25 de Agosto, with the number of Montevideo – 25 de Agosto services cut from five to two pairs of trains per day.
Shows the wise advange of Uruguay and Italy sharing the same 1435mm gauge.
Brakes are probably both air..
Couplings may be different.
Uruguay: AFE has bought five Fiat Y1 single–car DMUs from Sweden for the reinstatement of passenger services from Montevideo to Florida and Sudriers which were suspended in June owing to a lack of serviceable locomotives.
MONTEVIDEO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Uruguayan President Jose Mujica says he will seek to boost political, economic and social ties with Beijing "as much as possible" during his upcoming trip to China.
Mujica, who is scheduled to make his first visit China on May 25-28, will meet with President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials.
Although Uruguay and China are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, Uruguay has attached great importance to developing friendly relations with Beijing since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1988, Mujica said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Mujica, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), said China is an "extremely important" partner for both Uruguay and Mercosur.
Uruguay will make efforts to promote all-round pragmatic cooperation between the bloc and China, Mujica said.
Mujica said the bloc will decide whether to pursue trade negotiations with China this year, a proposal made last year by then Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Latin America.
"We are going to have a (Mercosur) meeting probably before the end of the year and that proposal will be on the table," he said.
Uruguay exports a great quantity of beef, wool and soybeans to China while China's advanced technology, rich experience in infrastructure and great investment capacity is what Uruguay needs for development, he said.
China's customs statistics show that bilateral trade has increased more than 30 times from 25 years ago and reached about 4.33 billion U.S. dollars last year, making China Uruguay's largest trade partner.
Mujica said the two countries are expected to reach agreements on cooperation in economy and trade, finance, education, tourism, technology and information during his visit.
Eyeing enhanced cooperation in infrastructure with China, Mujica said he expected to return from Beijing with a deal to restore Uruguay's deteriorated railway network.
"We have to transform our railway, and we have a plan to build a deep-water port at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean, among other important projects," Mujica said.
Mujica will attend the Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services to attract more investment and deliver a speech at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He also will visit northern port city of Tianjin to learn about its experiences in rail and port development.
BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The leaders of China and Uruguay have agreed to further their cooperation in various fields with an aim to step up their bilateral relations.
The agreement was reached when Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his visiting Uruguayan counterpart Jose Mujica on Monday in downtown Beijing, pledging China will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Uruguay to share opportunities as well as tackle challenges for their national development.
Highlighting the robust growth of bilateral relations in the past 25 years since the establishment of the China-Uruguay diplomatic relationship, Xi noted that the relationship between China and Uruguay has become a model for developing nations to foster their ties.
He called on the two sides to maintain their high-level exchanges among legislatures, governments and political parties, consolidate political mutual trust and step up exchanges of successful experiences on the management of their national development.
"The two sides should substantially carry out the five-year plan for the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, and implement joint projects in the fields of automobile manufacture, telecommunications, finance and chemical industry," Xi said, urging accelerated negotiation of proposed investment agreements and that key areas of importance for future bilateral cooperation be sorted out.
China will encourage its companies to participate in the construction of Uruguayan ports and railways, Xi told Mujica, proposing the two nations also cement their cooperation on agriculture and animal husbandry, boost exchanges between their young people as well as humanitarian and cultural exchanges.
"The two nations should work closer and strengthen coordination on regional and international issues in a bid to increase the representativeness of developing nations," according to China's president.
Xi said his impending visits to the three Latin American and Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico, is aimed at promoting a comprehensive China-Latin America partnership and achieving joint development and prosperity for the two peoples.
China will intensify its dialogue and cooperation with the member nations of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), he also vowed.
Agreeing with Xi's views, Mujica said Uruguay is committed to establishing a long-term, sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with China and called for joint efforts to expand bilateral trade, in which the share of products with high-added value should be further increased.
Uruguay welcomes Chinese companies to invest and establish their businesses in such fields as manufacture and assembling of auto parts, and the down-stream process of wool products, he added.
The Uruguayan president also briefed Xi on latest developments in Mercosur and Latin American integration, noting that China is an important partner of the Latin American nations and they all attach great importance to ties with China and welcome China to play an active role in pushing forward development in the region.
"Uruguay will help promote China-Latin America relations and China-Mercosur cooperation," the Uruguayan president promised.
After the talks, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral agreement documents covering areas ranging from trade, education, to information and telecommunication.
At the invitation of Xi, Mujica is paying a state visit to China from May 25 to 28.