The government purchased eight trains from the Chinese company Quingdao Sifang Co. Ltd. for $32,659,122.
/ A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo.

-Friday, October 18, 2019-

Government promotes electric train virtual tours

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The government, through the Costa Rican Railways Institute, announced Thursday, the development of the advertising campaign entitled Virtual Reality Tour of the Electric Train so that people could know more about the operation of an electric train. The campaign will bring the train experience to malls and other public places.

According to the institute, the campaign consists of presenting virtual tours so that "people experience what the train will be like . . . .”

In the announcement of the campaign, the first lady, Claudia Dobles, also participated in the program of the first electric train for public transport in the country.

"We invite all families and people to approach the shopping centers and experience the virtual reality, spend a moment of entertainment and also know what the electric train will be like and see how the future stations will be," said Dobles.

The tour be presented on seven weekends, starting Saturday until Sunday, Dec. 1, in seven shopping centers: City Mall, Multicentro Desamparados, Multiplaza Curridabat, Multiplaza Escazú, Lincoln Plaza, Mall San Pedro and Paseo de las Flores.

At the same time the installation of free internet in 14 train stations was announced.

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Technology, in the last six months free internet service has been installed in 175 places such as parks, plazas, and avenues.

As A.M. Costa Rica has been reporting, the president of the railways institute, Elizabeth Briceño, traveled to China in May, to be part of the design group for eight trains purchased from the Chinese company Quingdao Sifang Co. Ltd. for $32,659,122, with money from the institute.
According to the institute in these meetings, several important aspects of the design of the trains were agreed to including paint, the number of seats per passenger car and the technology in the engines.
"We are very excited because in these new trains the exterior design will be blue color, which is representing the railway equipment of the institution over time," said Briceño. "Also, the white and red colors represent the flag of Costa Rica."
According to the institute, each one of the eight cars has a length of 38 meters, a capacity of 372 passengers, air conditioning, preferential seats and space for two wheelchairs per wagon, high technology radio system and a display system with LED screens. They are made from stainless steel and are meant to last up to 30 years. The engines will be less polluting than the current ones.
In addition to the purchase of the trains, specialized machinery and a stock of spare parts were purchased for the workshops that will maintain the new trains. The equipment includes lathes, bearing pits, precision special forklift equipment, train washing machine, traveling crane gantry, milling machine, hydraulic jacks, gas measurement equipment and a gas test bench.
The railway institute says the extra materials will be delivered in this month and the first two trains will be delivered in April. The rest of the trains will be delivered on June.
Right now, the institute has 11 Apollo trains, four locomotives with 24 passenger cars to provide transportation between San José and the provinces of Heredia, Cartago, and Alajuela.
Last December the government announced a $750,000 loan for the feasibility study of the electric cargo train.
A contract for $750,000 was signed between the railway Institute and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to finance a feasibility study for the installation of an electric cargo train in Limón.
A feasibility study aims to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture, including opportunities and threats presented in the natural environment, the resources required to carry through with the project and the prospects for success. In its simplest terms, the two criteria to judge feasibility are a cost required and value to be attained.

The Institute says the electric train will travel from Valle de la Estrella to Limón, to Río Frío and Chilamate.
The estimated of the study is $750,000 of a budgeted total of $450 million.

The plans of the institute include the total cost of the electric train that will transport cargo. Among the benefits of this freight train service are the modernization of rail freight transport with clean and renewable energy and decongestion of the traffic on Route 32, from San Jose to the Atlantic area.
The train should be ready in the last quarter of this year, said the institute. Work on the train is scheduled to start in the second half of 2020. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute will build the wiring that transmits electrical power to the locomotives.

Have you traveled by train in Costa Rica? If so, what did you think of that experience?
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to:

Facebook110217.jpg twitter110217.jpg