Feasibility studies have been approved for the proposed Bogota tram train commuter network, with the estimated US$1,050 million project aiming for a 2017 completion and expected to be funded through a public-private partnership (PPP).
Studies were launched on May 30 last year by the Bogota government by a consortium formed of German rolling stock provider Vossloh, Spain’s Torres Cámara infrastructure works company, and Colombian infrastructure manager Conconcreto.
The project, known as ‘Región Tram’, is in the final stages of feasibility studies, and requires the support of state owned Empresa Férrea Regional to be implemented in the coming years. The system will use light electric vehicles with dual functionality, which is reportedly cleaner, faster and more secure and conventional urban rail systems, according to the consortium.
The system will serve the suburban Bogota area towards the east and the south; reaching out to the town of Sabana Facatativá via El Dorado airport to the east, and south to Savannah station in Bosa, located in the municipality of Soacha. In total the network is expected to cover 63 kilometers and complete around 128 million passenger journeys per year.
The proposed system will have a high level of security, with automatic doors at stations to be synchronized with train arrival. The network will be controlled from a central command post with fully equipped garages and workshops for train maintenance.
The intercity sections will operate a commuter service, with speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour, while in the urban areas the vehicles will operate as a more conventional tram service in urban areas.
Supporters claim that this form of transport can lead to a 180,000 ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year, improved energy efficiency and significantly reduced travel times. The consortium claim that if all contracts can be completed by the end of 2014, the system could be operational by December 2017.
The proposal has been presented to Empresa Férrea Regional (Regional Railway Company), TransMilenio, the regional government of Cundimarca, the National Infrastructure Agency and the mayor of Bogota.
If approval is given, the consortium will be responsible for construction, commissioning, maintenance and the operations of the two sections of the electric train network. The final decision will be made by the Empresa Férrea Regional, which is co-owned by the regional government and the government of the city of Bogota.
The project has the support of Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro, although ongoing disputes in the Colombian capital mean that his position is far from secure.
“With this step forward we can confirm the start of what will become a multimodal transport system. Tram Train technology will suit Bogota and this is the beginning of the integration of mobility in the city” the Bogota mayor announced.