Central government officials again promised Thursday that passenger train service will reach Cartago on a regular basis by October.
The goal is to have the extension of the line completed so that President Laura Chinchilla can travel to independence day ceremonies in Cartago Sept. 14.
Vice President Luis Liberman toured the work in progress between Curridabat and Tres Ríos Thursday with Miguel Carabaguíaz, executive president of Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles.
Liberman said that new rail cars are already on order in Spain where the country’s new, narrow-gauge cars originate However, the plans are for much more than extending the current service. Liberman noted that the country is awaiting a
feasibility study by a Spanish firm that will outline the requirements for a high-speed train between Alajuela and Cartago.
Liberman said that such a train would be much more comfortable.
However, to set up such a system would involve routing the lines out of the center of San José where commuter trains mix with buses and cars on a daily basis.
The rail lines from San José to Heredia and from San José to the east have been or are being reconstructed with concrete cross ties that would accommodate a rapid train. The rail system still does not have gates at vehicle crossings, and train engineers continue to blow their whistles before they reach a crossing. That would seem to hamper the speed of train service.
There has been little talk of installing such safety devices.