Cartago rail line extension ready to go into service

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson Brightly colored car on the Heredia line crosses a city bridge. Soon the line will be extended.

Expanded valley train service to Cartago is almost a reality. The nation’s regulatory agency said Monday that it has approved a 495-colon fare for a one-way trip. That’s about $1.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, said that this is the same rate that buses charge and less than what the railway agency, the Instituto Costarricense Ferrocarilles, wanted.

The agency also defended its decision not to set a fractional fare for travelers who wanted to board or leave the train at Dos Ríos, which is between Curridabat, the current end point of the line, and Cartago.

The agency said that the first train would leave Cartago at 5:30 a.m. for the Estación al Atlantico near Parque Nacional in San José. The last train to Cartago will leave San José at 6:40 p.m. As with the other valley rail lines there are only trains during peak hours.

The regulatory agency is estimating that some 180 passengers will make each trip within two rail cars. That means there will be about 5,400 passenger trips a day from Cartago to San José.

The rail agency was asked to keep track of the numbers and to consider a special Dos Ríos fare within six months.

Seniors will make the trip for free, the regulatory agency noted.

The Instituto Costarricense Ferrocarilles wanted a fare of 570 colons, about $1.15 at the current rate of exchange. But the regulatory agency said that this estimate was based on more expensive cars. The rail institute had just accepted delivery of rail cars from the Spanish narrow gauge line.

The regulatory agency did not mention it, but the rail institute is sure to put on additional trains for sports events and other entertainment at the Estadio Nacional. Because there is limited parking, sports fans and others are urged to use the train.

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