Saturday, October 14, 2006

"All aboard!"– for the first time since 1937 

Chavez is inaugurating massive new public works so fast I can’t keep up. But the one that is now just hours away deserves special attention. On October 15th Venezuela will inaugurate its inter-city passenger rail service since 1937. Yes, you read right – since 1937!!

The new train is between Caracas and the satellite city of Valles del Tuy. It is the first step of what will be a large interconnected rail network criss-crossing Venezuela. In the map below it is the pinkish line going from Cua to Caracas.

Other parts of the rail network, such as the line from Barquisimeto to Puetro Cabello are already well under construction.

Here is some more detailed information on the new train line:

Now, the first thing to note is that Venezuela isn’t just going to be inaugurating a new rail line, Caracas will also be getting a significant addition to its subway system. The reason is that the governments prior to Chavez ran out of money and never finished the number 3 metro line which runs south from the center of Caracas. It was left to the Chavez government to complete it and it is now doing so.

Where the extended subway line ends, in a station called La Rinconada, is where the train will begin in a station called Simon Bolivar. From there the rain will travel 25 miles through very uneven train necessitating an amazing 24 tunnels and 27 bridges to its final destination of Tuy.

The subway extension is almost 4 miles long and will eventually have 4 new stations. However the 3 intermediate stations are not finished and so for the first subway will go from the old final station of El Valle to La Rinconada only. Here are some pictures of the new metro line:

As for the new train, hopefully tomorrow we should have lots of pictures of the spiffy system. But here is a sneak pre-view showing some of the pictures from when it was under construction to up to the past few days when it was just having final touches:

First we see the station Simon Bolivar

Under construction

Almost done

Waiting to be inaugurated.

Next are some of the intermediate stations:

Charallava Sur

Charallava Norte

Two of the many bridges and tunnels:

And lastly the trains themselves:

Only hours from now some lucky folks will be getting to ride these trains into Caracas and into history.


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