TREM project launched in San José
13 October 2009
COSTA RICA: At a meeting in San José on October 7 Transport and Public Works Minister Karla González launched the government’s draft TREM commuter rail concession which is to be tendered by the end of the month.
Bids for the right to operate three routes connecting San José to Heredia province, San Pedro and Sabana Sur are due for submission in February or March 2010. The winner will be responsible for construction, operation and maintenance of the commuter services for 35 years.
The project involves the construction of double track railway line and the supply of around 16 to 18 EMUs capable of transporting 340 passengers each. Prefeasibility studies carried out by Brazilian firm Engevix estimate the total cost at US$345m. The state will provide US$100m towards the reconstruction of the line from Heredia and Montes de Oca and Sabana Sur; the remainder will be financed by the successful bidder.
The initial section connecting Hospital de Heredia with Ferrocarril al Atlántico station in San José is expected to start operation in 2013, assuming concession award by mid-2010. The journey will take 22 min with stops at 8 stations, an improvement on the current diesel train service which takes 30 min and has only five stops. Phases 2 and 3 linking Atlántico — San Pedro de Montes de Oca and Atlántico — Ferrocarril al Pacífico station — Sabana Sur will follow a year later.
Eleven international companies are believed to be interested in the project, including Alstom, CAF, Siemens, Bombardier and a South Korean consortium of Daebon Engineering and Hyundai Rotem.
Costa Rica's public works and transport ministry MOPT is unlikely to go ahead with a project to build a dry canal connecting the country's Pacific and Atlantic ports due to the prohibitive costs involved, MOPT's sector planning official, Ibis San Lee, said.
"Although the initiative is included in this government's plan, the expropriation process for the land needed to carry out the project is very expensive, which is why the dry canal's construction is unlikely to go ahead during this administration," San Lee said.
The dry canal project involves building a highway and/or railway to connect the Limon and Moin ports on the Atlantic coast and the Caldera port on the Pacific coast. Currently, cargo moving between the two coasts has to pass through the congested city centre of capital San Jose.
The government of President Laura Chinchilla, who took office in May, considers this project a priority for port and transport development.
Chinchilla's administration ends in 2014.
The Spanish narrow gauge operator Feve has completed the shipment of three Apolo-type 2400 Series trains, bound for Costa Rica after the purchase agreement signed with the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer).
(25/02/2011) The three Apolo trains have been subject to comprehensive improvements in recent years, both in technology and in the vehicle interior, new diesel engines and braking systems being installed to enhance safety in travelling.
Feve has proceeded to a thorough inspection at their workshops to allow trains to run on the Incofer network. Thus, besides adaptation to the standard corporate image of this Central American company, it has been necessary to adapt the track gauge, changing from the metric gauge of the Feve network to the Costa Rican gauge of 1,067 mm.
The train supply includes spares and fleet parts for maintenance of units, files and specifications, drawings, operation manual and technical documentation.
Feve currently maintains a strong line of international cooperation, highlighting the agreements that have allowed the sale of rolling stock to Costa Rica and Argentina. Nine Apolo trains will run with this lot, specifically in Costa Rica. The first two trains arrived in 1993. Four other compositions set sail from the same port of Avilés in March 2009.
Six Apolo train compositions have been sold in the case of Argentina, which departed from the port of Santander for the southern hemisphere country in May 2009.
Costa Rica will receive three more used diesel electric two car trains of type 2400 Apolo from FEVE in Spain. Three of the six trains will be needed for the new line from San José to Belén. This line opened on the 5th April 2011.
Costa Rica's vice president Luis Liberman has signed an agreement with French firm Systra-Egis to carry out feasibility studies for a project to build a light rail system in capital San José
Costa Rica's government has confirmed its plans to build a commuter train (TREM) connecting urban areas surrounding capital San José, vice president Alfio Piva announced.
Feve sells six new Apolo trains to Costa Rica
Feve has sold six new Apolo train sets Class 2400 to Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Costa Rican Railway Institute, Incofer). At the same time and in collaboration with Renfe, agreements to carry out feasibility studies have been signed in order to enable the commissioning of old rail line layouts that could be turned into metropolitan commuter lines.
(15/06/2012) The first Feve agreement in Costa Rica was signed in 1993, when the first two Apolo trains were shipped to America. In 2008 and 2010 new agreements were signed and with this new contract involving six diesel motor units of Class 2400 Costa Rica becomes Feve’s best client in its international branch.
With this sale agreement, which amounts to 4.5 million euros plus the cost of sea freight, trains are expected to be transferred during 2012, including their corresponding spare parts. Trains will operate the line between San José de Costa Rica and Cartago, to be opened in the next few months.
Commuter line studies
In addition, Feve, together with Renfe, has entered into agreements to collaborate in the design of the future metropolitan commuter transport service in the capital city, for which trains are already prepared and tracks are now being refurbished.
By virtue of these agreements, the concession and approval of the Feasibility Studies Fund has been submitted in order to fund the feasibility study of the above-mentioned route, which is currently in the awarding phase, for the amount of 445,570 euros. This agreement anticipates collaboration with regard to strategic development, organization, operations management, training and technical assistance, all of which is aimed at reactivating the operation of rail services on the line that links Cartago with Ciruelas, in the province of Alajuela. This line runs through the cities of San José, Heredia, Alajuela, Pavas, San Antonio Belén and the international airport along a route of over 76 km.
GUATEMALA: Railway authority FEGUA has signed an agreement for Spanish metre-gauge operator FEVE to undertake studies for passenger services including a new route from Guatemala City to La Aurora international airport and Antigua. FEVE will also provide assistance for projects to introduce 'urban and suburban' services on the currently disused FEGUA network in Guatemala City and other locations including Puerto Barrios, Zacapa and Mazatenango. The agreement makes provision for FEVE to supply DMUs and other passenger rolling stock for the new services, as has been the case with a similar project in Costa Rica where more services are planned.
Commuter co-operation in Costa Rica
03 December 2012
COSTA RICA: President Laura Chinchilla ratified an agreement with Spanish Development Minister Ana Pastor in Madrid on November 15, which will see the two countries working together to develop the rail network serving the Costa Rican capital San José.
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Spanish companies would be involved in the rehabilitation of railway infrastructure, supply of rolling stock and operations and maintenance, as well as providing training. The Ministry of Development has also agreed to help seek finance for the project.
A framework agreement to relaunch commuter services has already been signed by RENFE, FEVE and Costa Rican railway administration Incofer. FEVE has signed three contracts to supply rolling stock and technical assistance to Incofer.
COSTA RICA last week restored suburban services on the 21km line between the capital San Jose, and the city of Cartago, following a modest investment of Colon 3.5bn ($US 6.9m).
Restoration of the metre-gauge line, which runs mostly at grade in urban areas, involved the removal of asphalt and redundant track at several locations, together with the construction of a completely new trackbed, with clean ballast and new concrete sleepers.
The line has five intermediate stations and services are operated by a fleet of six dmus acquired from erstwhile Spanish metre-gauge operator Feve (now merged with Renfe). Trains take around 40 minutes to cover the full distance between Cartago and Atlantico station in San Jose, where passengers can transfer to the two other lines now serving the San Jose metropolitan area.
The reopening of the railway is expected to relieve the Panamerican Highway, which is used by tens of thousands of commuters daily.
The Feve series 2400 dmus have a maximum speed of 100km/h and accommodate up to 216 passengers. The Spanish operator sold two three-car sets to Costa Rica in 1993, just two years before the complete closure of the country's metre-gauge rail network. Since its partial reopening in 2005, Feve has sold 13 more dmus, including those now operating on the San Jose – Cartago line.
Government officials stated that the strategy of reopening the single-track lines, which date back to the 19th century, constitutes only a "temporary solution." The Costa Rican and Spanish governments agreed last year to work together on the design of a new high-capacity rail link between Alajuela, San Jose and Cartago, forming a rail backbone for the metropolitan area of San Jose, which with a population of 2.6 million is home to 60% of Costa Ricans.
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