Bolivia Inaugurates Construction of its First Electric Railroad

Cochabamba is the fourth largest city in Bolivia, with a population of 630,587 according to the 2012 Bolivian census.

The beginning of construction for Bolivia’s first electric train was inaugurated by President Evo Morales on Thursday in a public ceremony that brought together various supporters of the major transportation project, including government representatives, academics, and business owners.

“Work on the metropolitan train has already started. Imagine it: the first electric train in Bolivia will be in Cochabamba,” Morales said before the crowd.

Evo Morales holding a model of the electric train. (Twitter)

The President emphasized the collaboration between various sectors to construct the highly modern and technologically advanced transportation project. A substantial part of it will be contracted through Spanish and Swiss-based construction companies.

“We are very happy, because today we inaugurated the beginning of work on the Ecological Metropolitan Train in Cochabamba, the first electric train in Bolivia.”

The railroad will cost an estimated US$448 million, which will be financed through Bolivia’s General Treasury.

“We are saving U.S.$183 million. It is our obligation to manage, seek credit, but when we have the possibility to guarantee this kind of investment we can safely decide to finance this with our own money,” Morales said.

The train lines will operate 12 electric trains with a capacity to carry between 200 and 300 people, travelling at around 80 kilometers per hour.

It will connect the five municipalities of Cochabamba, with Sipe Sipe, Vinto, Quillacollo, Colcaprihua, and Sacaba along a line that runs for 42 kilometers and contains 43 stations.

Morales spoke about the sharp growth in transportation demand in Cochabamba resulting from a continuously growing population. The project was initiated to meet the demands of the growing region.

He went on to say that the reason Bolivia is able to carry out projects on such a scale is possible due to the economic stability achieved in recent years through the nationalization of certain key resources, particularly of hydrocarbons in 2006.

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