Chile's state rail administrator EFE has presented a prefeasibility study for a high-speed train that would connect capital Santiago and coastal cities in the Valparaíso region (V), which indicate that the project would be technically viable.

The study evaluated multimodal modes for passenger and freight transport, for which three alternatives were put forward, local daily El Mercurio reported.

Two alternatives emerged considering rail lines that would share passenger and freight services (mainly container traffic), which stand out as having the highest potential for profitability, as reported by the daily.

Factored into the rail line's feasibility was the possibility of port city Valparaíso housing at least part of what could be a future large-scale port, as well as an extension to the city's metro system.

The port authority in Valparaíso has drawn up designs with the aim of attracting state funding for the new port, although the port city of San Antonio in Valparaíso region is also keen to host the project.

State metro operator Merval, a unit of EFE, is preparing to extend metro services to the cities of Quillota and La Calera, for which prefeasibility studies should be presented later this year.

Alternative 1, which requires investments estimated at US$2.5bn, would first connect Santiago to Til Til municipality (north of the capital) before then leading to Viña del Mar, where the service would connect to the Merval network.

Alternative 2, costing approximately US$2.8bn, considers a rail line that would be built alongside the route 68 highway and would run from Santiago to Merval's Puerto station in central Valparaíso.

Alternative 3, priced at US$3.1bn, would also run alongside 68, but only to Casablanca municipality, where it would then deviate north to the towns of Villa Alemana and Quillpué and then to Viña del Mar.

Travel time between the two destinations could be as low as 42 minutes, while train speeds could be as high as 160km/h, depending on the layout.

In order to recoup investments in 20 years, fares would have to cost 6,000-8,000 pesos (US$9-12). The line could go into operation by 2026, where it could see an average of 30mn trips/year, the study found.

To put the line into operation by 2026, detailed engineering studies would have to be carried out between 2017 and 2018 and construction would have to begin in 2020, the daily said.

The study was carried out by a three-member consortium comprised by Spanish firms Geocontrol and Ardanuy and Chilean firm CIS Asociados Consultores en Transportes.

Earlier this month Chile formalized a new state infrastructure company that will oversee an initial budget of US$9bn, which will be used to support transportation works across the country.


Source: BNamericas