Medellin Metro Hails Receipt of Last of 22 New Trains; Frequency, Capacity Improve
Medellin’s “Metro” public transit agency announced May 4 that it just took delivery on its 80th train — the last of 22 new trains ordered in 2016 from Spanish manufacturer Constructores y Auxiliares de Ferrocarriles (CAF).
The COP$380 billion (US$135 million) investment in the 22 new trains enables Metro to improve reliability and cut waiting times between train departures and arrivals at stations, according to the agency.
“With this new [railcar] vehicle, Metro completes 80 train units destined to meet the demand of Lines A and B, which together transport nearly 810,000 passengers a day,” according to Metro.
The mainly electric, mostly zero-emissions Metro system now mobilizes about 1.2 million passengers daily including the Metro rail system, the Metrocable aerial tram, the “Tranvía de Ayacucho” electric streetcars and the natural-gas-fueled “Metroplus” bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, the latter of which gradually will convert to pure electric power over the next decade.
While Metro initially ordered 20 new trains, it was able to get two extra trains thanks to a special government exemption on value-added tax for zero-emissions vehicles.
The last of the 22 new trains “will start the reception and testing phase today and it is estimated that in a month or so, they will begin to provide commercial service and join the 66 trains that currently provide service during peak hours,” according to Metro. The rest of the railcar fleet is held in operational reserve or else would be undergoing routine maintenance.
Because of the expanded fleet, Metro has cut the delay between train arrivals to three minutes on “Line A” (down from three minutes and 40 seconds previously) and to three minutes 50 seconds (down from four minutes 45 seconds) on “Line B.”
In addition, total railcar capacity has risen to 41,480 passengers per hour, per direction, up from 35,650 passengers per hour, per direction previously, according to the agency.
“The acquisition of the new trains has also made it possible to react effectively to any technical difficulty since there are reserve trains prepared to attend to any contingency,” according to Metro.
“Another advantage of the increase in the fleet is that it will make it easier to advance the repowering of the first generation trains, one of the company’s major projects for this year.
“One of the most notorious differences with the first-generation trains is that the second-generation trains enable internal communication between the three cars that make up a unit, facilitating the movement of passengers inside the vehicle.
“In addition, the trains have state-of-the-art technology and an aerodynamic design for lower energy consumption,” Metro added.