President Piñera presents investment plan for over US$5 billion to expand Chile’s railway network and “improve people’s quality of life and the country’s development.”
The program includes 25 projects that will triple the number of passengers transported and double cargo capacity using a network of 1,000 kilometers of railways.
On Tuesday, President Sebastián Piñera announced the “Chile sobre Rieles” (Chile on Rails) plan, which is Chile’s largest ever railway investment project. Over US$5 billion will be used to modernize and expand the train network with more and new services.
The program consists of 25 projects and over 1,000 kilometers of railways that will triple the number of users to 150 million by 2027 and double cargo capacity to 21 million tons.
“The train will not only be part of Chileans’ daily lives as passengers, but will also be part of our country’s economic life,” the President said at a ceremony in the municipality of Melipilla. The event was also attended by Transportation Minister Gloria Hutt, the President of the state-owned railway company Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), Pedro Pablo Errázuriz, Metropolitan Regional Governor Karla Rubilar, members of Congress and other officials.
Earlier that day, the President traveled by train from Estación Central to Melipilla and during the journey explained the benefits of the plan to local residents.
The program will provide eight new trains for the Nos and Rancagua Metrotrains, the construction of an Alameda-Melipilla branch that will span 61 kilometers and transport 50 million passengers each year on faster, safer, more ecological and environmentally friendly trains.
Meanwhile, the Santiago-Batuco-Tiltil Metrotren will connect six municipalities with eight new stations and will cover 48 kilometers. Eight new trains will be added and 17 million passengers are expected to use the service each year.
“We are making a major effort to allow railway transportation to improve the quality of life of our fellow Chileans and to make a major contribution to our country’s development,” the President added.
Fifty-six percent of investments will go to initiatives in regions outside of the nation’s capital.
Train service will be extended from Concepción to Lirquén in the Biobío Region, passing through Penco, and a total of 872,000 people are expected to benefit. A new branch will also be added between Coronel and Lota, decreasing travel times by nearly one hour to 45 minutes.
The current passenger service in La Araucanía will be extended from Temuco to Padre Las Casas once construction work on the Cautín Bridge is complete, and studies will be conducted so that the service will reach Gorbea during the second stage of the project, which will benefit 422,000 people.
In addition, engineering studies are being conducted in Valparaíso to extend the metro service from its current terminus in Limache to La Calera with five new stations, accommodating up to 12 million more passengers who currently spend up to 3 hours on a bus.
The new passenger service between Chillán and Alameda will also be introduced, as President Piñera announced on August 20, and is expected to benefit two million Chileans.
Finally, the Talca-Constitución branch will be updated and other projects will be implemented, including studies to evaluate the implementation of regional and interregional services between O’Higgins, Maule and Ñuble.