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President Piñera announces new passenger train service between Chillán and Alameda with 12 station stops

A total of US$115 million is being invested to purchase six new technologically-advanced trains, improve infrastructure and establish a modern train operations model, benefiting two million Chileans.

During a visit to the Ñuble Region on Tuesday, the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera announced a new passenger rail service between Chillán and Alameda, resulting in higher train frequency and better service and connectivity between the Ñuble, Biobio, Maule, O’Higgins and Metropolitan regions.

The Chillán-Alameda line will comprise 12 stations and the number of trips per day will increase from 4 to 12. It will also create new links with Los Ángeles and Concepción.

This new service will see an increase in the annual number of passengers from 230,000 to 800,000 and will benefit two million people.  Travel times will decrease in comparison to bus routes as well as existing train services.

“We are bringing Chileans’ love of trains back to life.  There has always been something magical about trains in our country,” said the President. He was speaking at a ceremony at the Chillán Train Station, accompanied by the Transport Minister, Gloria Hutt and Governor of the Ñuble Region, Martín Arrau.

With an investment of US$ 115 million, the goal is to make the railway a better alternative mode of transportation.  Six new trains will be equipped with the latest technology, boasting a maximum speed of 160 km/h, climate controlled cars, café cars, Wifi and roomier seats. 

In terms of infrastructure, 74 level crossings will become automated, a new railway boundary fence will be built and 12 bridges will be repaired.

 “Inaugurating the new Santiago-Chillán train, as part of a larger project to revitalize the railway industry in Chile, is a way of continuing what is already underway in the country, bringing Chileans together and rescuing one of our country’s most beautiful traditions,” said President Piñera.

The government is promoting the “Chile sobre rieles” (Chile on rails) program to bolster railways throughout the entire country. In addition to the Santiago – Nos and Santiago – Rancagua lines, which are currently operational, a Santiago – Melipilla line will be added.  With an estimated investment of US$1.56 billion, this line will connect 8 municipalities in the Metropolitan Region, benefiting two million Chileans.

Furthermore, plans to extend the Merval line from Limache to La Calera and the Biotrén line from Coronel to Lota and from Concepción to Penco have been announced, while the Santiago – Batuco – Til Til line is currently in the midst of an environmental impact study.  A construction project to provide passenger and cargo rail services from Santiago to Valparaíso and San Antonio is also moving forward.

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