CHILE’s transport and telecommunications minister, Ms Gloria Hutt, and Chilean State Railways (EFE) president, Mr Pedro Pablo Errázuriz, officiated at a ceremony on January 12 to mark the start of work on a new station at Tres Poniente and the renovation of Vespucio and Ciudad Satélite stations for the $US 1.55bn project to upgrade the 61km Santiago Alameda - Melipilla line for commuter rail services.

Civil works started on the project in April 2021. The line will have 11 stations in total, two of which will connect with Santiago Metro lines 1 and 6. The project involves upgrading the single-track line between Santiago and Malloco to provide two tracks for passenger trains and a third track for freight and adding a second track between Malloca and Melipilla with one track for passenger trains and the other for freight. The line will be electrified and equipped with new signalling and telecommunications systems. In addition, 15 road under/overpasses will be constructed along with 49 pedestrian under/overpasses, 12 automated level crossings, and a depot.

The line will be operated by a fleet of 22 EMUs for which bidding is already underway.

The new service is expected to start operating in 2026 with an end-to-end journey time of 46 minutes

“It is a dream to recover the railways,” Hutt said at the event. “By 2027, we will triple the number of passengers, reaching 150 million, and 50 million of them will use this Alameda - Melipilla service.”

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