March 06, 2012

Chilean passenger traffic reaches record high

Written by  Ian Thomson Newman, Regional editor
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CHILEAN State Railways (EFE) claims to have carried more passengers in 2011 than in any previous year in its 127-year history, according to the latest figures released by the railway. The total came in at almost 27 million, more than 90% of which were carried on just two suburban lines, MetroTren in Santiago, and Merval in Valparaíso.
However, in terms of the distance travelled, passenger-km last year was still lower than in certain years during the 1960s, when EFE operated many more branch and long-distance services than it does today.

The average journey of just under 100km in the mid-1960s has more than halved in the intervening decades.
This year EFE expects ridership to reach 30 million. The railway plans to strengthen services between Santiago and the city´s southerly suburbs and integrate MetroTren operations with Santiago Metro's planned Line 6.
EFE does not operate freight trains, although it provides track access for concessionaires Pacific Railways (FdP) and Transap. These two companies carried 11 million tonnes of freight last year, a substantial increase over the levels seen in 2010 when services were seriously disrupted by earthquake damage. EFE is optimistic freight traffic will continue to increase and expects volumes to reach 27 million tonnes by 2020.

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