Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba high-speed railway

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Retiro Station, Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires–Rosario–Córdoba high-speed railway is a project that will, according to its proponents, link the Argentine cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario through a high-speed rail, and Rosario to Córdoba through a fast conventional railway. The plan was announced by President Néstor Kirchner during a press conference at the Casa Rosada on 26 April 2006. [1] Both lines will be the first and only such ones in Argentina, and the Buenos Aires–Rosario high-speed rail will be the first of its kind in South America.

Contents

Overview of the main stations

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, and its metropolitan area has a population of more than 12 million, almost one third of the national total. It is the economic and political center of Argentina, and its main international entry point.

Rosario, located about 300 km north-northwest, is the third-largest city and a major port, with a metropolitan population over 1 million. It is part of the agricultural and industrial core of the littoral region.

Córdoba, with a population around 1.3 million, is located about 700 km from Buenos Aires, near the geographical center of Argentina. It is the second most populated conurbation, and a cultural, touristic and industrial center.

Currently, the main form of transportation between these three cities is by road, through National Route 9, followed far behind by air travel.

Features

The line will have two parts. A high-speed electric train (not a bullet train, as a some early journalistic reports called it) will run between Buenos Aires and Rosario at 250–300 km/h, covering the distance between the two cities in about 90 minutes, or as little as 60 minutes for maximum speed (for comparison, a passenger bus takes about four hours to go from Rosario's terminal station to Estación Retiro in Buenos Aires).

From Rosario to Córdoba there will be a conventional railway using high-yield diesel-powered trains, which will run at about 160 km/h, covering the distance in 2 to 2½ hours (a passenger bus currently takes no less than 6 hours). [2]

Stations

The new train will link the cities along the central corridor of the country. According to the current plan, each day there will be 20 train services, carrying about 7,500 passengers. Several intermediate stops are planned between the main ones, in the cities of Campana, San Pedro, San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Villa Constitución, Marcos Juárez, Leones, Bell Ville and Villa María.

Bids, costs and financing

The call to bids for the construction of the line was opened on 8 May 2006. Four European firms presented themselves as bidders: Alstom (French), Siemens (German), CAF (Spanish) and Impregilo (Italian).

The total cost of the Buenos Aires–Rosario–Córdoba line was calculated at between $1,000 and $1,200 million. Pre-contractual conditions state that the national state will pay for the whole sum, but the firm in charge of the construction will finance 50%. [3]

Schedule

The four firms bidding for the construction contract presented themselves on 25 July 2006. The technical proposals will be revealed on 21 November, and the contract will be awarded in December. The beginning of the works is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007. It is estimated that they will take about 36 months, finishing around the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010.

References

See also

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