Friends of Latin American Railways

News Colombia


Again freight traffic after 20 years

On 17 October 2016, after a lull of almost exactly 20 years, a freight train arrived at La Dorada station, 769 km inland from the port of Santa Marta. It was a trial train over the full length of the line. Some 522 km of it – between Chiriguaná and La Dorada – have been rehabilitated by the national infrastructure authority ANI through a contract of public works. Major intervention was required at 44 spots along the line. Operated by Holdtrade Atlántico, a joint venture of Holdtrade (UK) Ltd. of London and Iowa Pacific Holdings of Chicago, the train carried a load of containers to the centre of the country, while for the return journey 10 wagons with containers and a further 19 wagons with cement, steel and coils were ready to make their way to the port.
Along with the lines to the northeast of Bogotá, ANI have rehabilitated some 1000 km of railway lines within a relatively short period of time and brought them to operational condition.
(Source: El Tiempo and other local newspapers)


Testtrain Santa Marta - La Dorada

After a successful run of the first freight train between Santa Marta and La Dorada (767 km) through the Magdalena River Valley, the National Infrastructure Administration ANI has found that there are still some sections of the line which need more technical attention and repairs will now be carried out. But freight services may already start now. After a long strike of truck drivers all over Colombia the government realized the value of functioning railways and waterways.
(Source: Volta o Trem 20-7)


Bogotá - Belencito

After 4 years of rehabilitation of railway infrastructure Fenoco ran the first freight train between Bogotá and Belencito on July 22, 2016.
(Source: Volta o Trem 20-5)


Bogotá Centro Comercial Gran Estación - Multiparque

Since 30 April 2016 Tren de la Sabana operates a second weekend train named MultiExpreso on weekends between Bogotá Centro Comercial Gran Estación (at Avenida El Dorado) and the Multiparque entertainment park.
(Source: Volta o Trem 20-4)



At the end of August 2015, the first test runs took place on the new Translohr line in Medellín. The 4,3 km long line with 9 stops connects the San Antonio Metro station, where lines A and B meet, with 2 also newly-built “Metrocable” (aerial cableway) lines M and H. The Translohr system is similar to a tramway, but the vehicles run on rubber tyres and follow a guiding rail embedded in the road surface. Revenue service started in October 2015.
(Source: Tramways and Urban Transit)


La Tebaída - Buenaventura

The train operator Ferrocarril del Pacífico plans to resume freight traffic between La Tebaida (near the city of Armenia) and the port of Buenaventura in mid-May 2015. The railway company has invested US$ 32 Mio during 2014 and 2015, of which some $20 Mio were used for infrastructure repair and upgrades and the rest for rolling stock. Four brand-new diesel locomotives of the R22 class were purchased from Grindrod in South Africa. It is expected to increase the monthly traffic volume from 25'000 tonnes to 80'000 tonnes by operating freight trains over the entire line.
(Source: Crónica del Quindio)


New FARC attacks

The El Cerrejón coal railway in the northeastern province La Guajira suffered two bomb attacks from FARC rebels in October 2013. On the 13th October, 43 wagons were distroyed near Uribia at km 92 of this 150 km long line. The second incident happened ten days later on 23rd October only 15 km outside of Puerto Bolívar. At that occasion, 7 wagons of a 123 wagons long train were distroyed. On both occasions, laden trains running to the port of exportation Puerto Bolívar were targeted.
(Source: Fahrplancenter)



In September 2013, the national infrastructure agency ANI will announce those firms which will participate in the repair of the central railway network, in which 16 firms expressed their interest. This network includes the lines along the Río Magdalena, from Bogotá and La Dorada to the south and from Bogotá to the northeast. 126 sections totalling 875 km of track should be repaired on the lines La Dorada – Chiriguaná and Facatativá – Bogotá – Belencito. At Belencito, a loading terminal for coal from the area will be built and this will be carried over 1322 km via Bogotá and Barrancabermeja to Santa Marta. It was said that this route is the most sensible way as the planned Carare line won't be built for a long time. The Ibagué region will be re-connected to the line to Chiriguaná – Santa Marta, and the subject of constructing the 177 km long line Buenos Aires – Ibagué – Armenia – La Tebaida has been brought up again. This project is nearly 100 years old and would include a tunnel underneath the western Cordillera. Several attempts to build that tunnel failed in the past due to lack of funding.


Freight traffic

Ferrocarril del Pacífico S.A.S., the third train operating company for the Pacific network since 1998, has resumed freight traffic to the port of Buenaventura on 1st August 2012 after an interruption of about 10 months. It is expected to carry some 5000 tonnes of freight in the first month; and until the end of the current year a volume of 25\'000 tonnes should be reached. The operator is to spend US$ 16 Mio for the repair of track and structures, supported by the national infrastructure authority ANI.
(Source: La República)


The national infrastructure authority ANI has advertised in August 2012 for tenders in order to refurbish the main line in the Rio Magdalena valley between Chiriguaná and La Dorada. Work is expected to take 12 months. Within the same timeframe, the line La Dorada – Bogotá – Belencito should also be refurbished. This should attract new operators for freight traffic by rail.
(Source: La República)