News Costa Rica
In order to cope with increasing passenger demand in the metropolitan area of San José, the state railway company Incofer requires additional railcars. Incofer was able to secure a loan of 52m USD from the Interamerican Development Bank; the first loan since re-opening of the railway network in 1998 and the re-introduction of scheduled passenger trains in 2005. 8 new railcars will be sourced with a capacity of 400 passengers each, more than double of what the currently used Spanish Apolo railcars can carry. Preparation of the tender documents and the tendering process itself will take about one year, and the supplier will be chosen at the end of 2018. The first new train is expected to go into service in December 2019. There have been expressions of interest from manufacturers in Europe, Japan, China and Brazil. Incofer emphasize that the order will include spare parts, workshop equipment as well as training of both driving and maintenance staff.
In the meantime, Incofer is analyising ways to repair six Apolo railcars which are currently stored with mechanical defects as an intermediate solution.
Incofer got the o.k. to implement also passenger services on the suburban lines on Saturdays from September 2016 on, until now trains operate Monday to Friday only. Within the next 3 months some adjustments will be carried out on the network to increase the number of trains, to meet the great demand. With construction of a new airport at Orotina Incofer will also build a regional railway from San José to Orotina within 3 years. The extension of 7 km of the San José – Cartago line to Paraíso may be put into service before 2017.
(Source: Volta o Trem 20-5)
Increase of Road User Fees
With a heavy increase of road user fees the government will earn important amounts for renewing the state railways INCOFER.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-7)
Heredia - Alajuela
Reconstruction of the Heredia – Alajuela Railway line goes ahead and 70% of the line are already complete.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-6)
Heredia - Alajuela
The state railway INCOFER is currently building a line from Heredia towards Alajuela, to the north of the capital San José. Work on the first section has widely progressed, and the introduction of passenger trains between the stations of Heredia and San Joaquín de Flores is scheduled for 15th April 2015. Services will be covered by the usaual Apolo railcars (ex-FEVE, Spain). The next stage, to be ready for 15th September of the current year, will connect to the Río Segundo station, already in the Alajuela district, thus extending the range of the Apolo railcars. Track will be laid to modern standards with concrete sleepers. Along the new line there is a total of 12 level crossings which will all be duly signalled.
As currently only a funding of CRC 4'500 mio (some € 7,6 mio) is available, it is not yet possible to extend the line to the town centre of Alajuela (about 10 km from Heredia). New rolling stock will also be required to cover services to Alajuela. New legislation is under preparation which will introduce a fuel duty of 5% in order to ensure long-term funding of railways. Once this bill is passed, it will be decided whether to build the line to Alajuela and to electrify it.
It is being criticised from various parties that the extension of the line from Heredia without any additional rolling stock will cause even more shortages as trains on the existing lines are already overcrowded during most hours of the day.
Various politicians have, however, raised the issue whether to maintain the current track gauge of 1067 mm or if it would make sense to convert the entire network of the country to standard gauge of 1435 mm. Contacts have been made with suppliers and manufacturers in Europe, Brasil and China in order to get advice.
(Source: Fahrplancenter correspondents)
Refurbishment Puerto Limón – Moin – Siquirres
At the beginning of 2015, track refurbishment started on the Puerto Limón – Moin – Siquirres line. Freight traffic is to be intensified on the renewed tracks, and the tourist train should benefit, too.
(Source: CRHOY; La Nación)
Heredia – Alajuela
Construction of the new 11 km long line from Heredia to Alajuela is going ahead and against former plans the line may be a bit longer to reach the San Rafael hospital at Alajuela.
(Source: Volta o Trem 18-9)
November 3, 2014 the 0,8 km extension of the railway at Cartago to the Los Ángeles basilica was opened to public traffic.
(Source: Volta o Trem 18-9)
Interest in the Central American countries for the Feristsa project has grown after freight traffic resumed between Ixtepec and Tapachula. Guatemala announced that it would promote the project of a rail link between Mexico and Panamá along with the Spanish state railway Renfe. A number of private Spanish firms also expressed their interest in the matter.
(Source: dif. Mexican Newspapers; La Nación (Honduras))
San José - Cartago
On 17th May 2013, the state railway Incofer resumed passenger traffic between San José and Cartago. The 20 km long line serves the San José Atlántico, Universidad de Costa Rica, Universidad Latina de San Pedro, Freses de Curridabat (2 stops), Tres Rios and Cartago stations. Travel time is about 40 minutes. The opening ceremony was attended by the state president Laura Chinchilla Miranda and the Managing Director of Incofer, Miguel Carabaguíaz.
Trains are worked by Apolo railcars (ex-FEVE Spain) and leave Cartago every 30 minutes starting at 0530 in the morning (8 departures) and from San José starting at 0620 (4 departures). Afternoon services begin from San José at 1530 (8 departures) and in the opposite direction there are 4 departures beginning at 1620. Frequency is again every 30 minutes. This timetable is operated Monday to Friday, but additional services on weekends are also offered. It is planned to add direct trains from Heredia to Cartago.
Weekday fare is 550 Colones for a single ticket, however, on weekends 2000 Colones for a return trip are charged.
The city of Cartago, who co-financed construction of the entirely new railway station, hopes that the line can be extended soon by one kilometre to the Los Angeles cathedral as traffic demand to that site is heavy, particularly on weekends. A further desired step is the extension of passenger traffic to the neighbour town of Paraíso.
(Source: La Nación)
May 17, 2013 passenger service between San José and Cartago have been reinstated. Within a few days the new service run by ex-FEVE Apolo railcars has been well received by passengers and additional services had to be introduced, trains run ever 30 min. Early morning and in the evening. Within Cartago the line should be lengthened by 1 km to the Los Angeles church.
(Source: Volta o Trem 17-3)
Incofer will commence scheduled local passenger service between San José and Cartago during the second half of February 2013.
During January and the first half of February 2013 the railway operated excursion trains on weekends from San José to Alajuela and Tres Rios near Cartago. Coaches of the tourist train “Tren a la Tica” were used. The tickets were sold at an accessible price for anyone (1000 Colones, about € 1,50) and, although travel times were only 45 to 50 minutes each way, local food was offered to the passengers.
Addenda: Opening of the San José – Cartago route has been deferred until April 2013 because works at Cartago station could not yet be completed as planned.
Train service on the suburban line between Curridabat and Cartago, east of the capital San José, will start in January 2013, thus suffering a delay of about 3 months.
San José – Cartago
Opening of the San José – Cartago passenger line may be delayed by about two months.
(Source: Volta o Trem 16-8)
On 23rd May 2012 the public railway company of Costa Rica, Incofer, signed a further contract with the spanish railway company FEVE about the purchase of 6 diesel multiple railcars of the Apolo type. The value of the transaction is 4,5 Mio Euros and includes re-gauging and overhaul of the 2-piece sets. Delivery will take place in October 2012 in order to re-open the 23 km long line from San José to Cartago before the end of the year. Infrastructure work on that stretch is nearly complete. With the latest batch, Incofer will operate 14 Apolo units.
(Source: Nación, San José)