Colombia relaunches its railway system

In 2004 the process that gave rise to the current Master Plan 2006-2020 entitled “Confidence in the future” began, given that the Metro system is the hub of structuring mobility.

The Medellin Metro system supports sustainable technologies that use cleaner fuels, using the privileged conditions of production in the country and innovating in the implementation of clean energy.

In 2004 the process that gave rise to the current Master Plan 2006-2020 entitled “Confidence in the future” began, given that the Metro system is the structural axis of mobility. Land Management Plans of the municipalities of Aburrá Valley, Metropolitan Land Use Guidelines, the BIO 2030 Master Plan, the Management Plan and Management Aburrá River Basin, the Integral Plan of Solid Waste Management, Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development and the Urban Master Plan, were studied among others. To complement this work, the challenge of building the Metropolitan Mobility Master Plan, including cargo terminals, bus and air emerged. This general scheme, which became the support for network growth of mass transit and was built under a look at prospective, allows the company Metro de Medellin visualize the future and, therefore, conduct a scenario planning to prepare and anticipate any developments, with the aim of ensuring the successful implementation of their Master Plan.

With a defined strategic direction and policies and methodologies designed consistently, the ETMVA (Mass Transit Company of Aburrá Valley) outlined in the Master Plan a road map to guide the growth and development of the Metro de Medellin in the coming years, based on six dimensions covered by their Master Plans: Administrative and Operational Infrastructure, internal organization, Business Partners, Information Technologies and Communications Technology and Operations System Expansion. Each of these Master Plans runs during periods of five years, through the strategic plan. There, specific actions for each time interval are established. Annually, it conducts an assessment of compliance with the goals and monitoring methodology. Having executed the 5 year period, and by recognizing that global trends in mobility are raised for a longer period, in 2010 the ETMVA proposed the Metropolitan Area to adjust the projections to 2030, as a result of prospective visibility regarding the development of mobility in the region. Thus, the Master Plan extended its temporal spectrum: 2006-2030. This vision for the future includes both mobility of Aburrá Valley and the Near East as the comprehensive and sustainable development of the region, without neglecting the great social benefits they generate. With its planning under prospective, the ETMVA achieved not only the growth and expansion of the mobility network, but transcends positively in the social, environmental and economic spheres of Aburrá Valley. This work is reflected not only in maintaining indicators, compared to metros in Latin America, such as Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and Spain, but the recognitions it has won, such as being eight consecutive years the best public company and admired by medellinenses by its management, according to the study of public perception “Medellin Como Vamos” (study led by Prooantioquia, El Tiempo, El Colombiano, Fundación Corona, Comfama, Comfenalco, the Trade Chamber in Medellin and Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce).

26 ideas for the future are those which are slowly approaching the population of the Valley of Aburrá, and that even include the possibility to expand beyond a network of public transport that connects the entire region, surpassing steep slopes to reach populated areas and distant populations, which place the Metro of Medellin as a leader in public transport. They are proposals for possible mass transit corridors for both medium and high capacity.

By developing profile studies, prefeasibility, feasibility and detailed design, among others, these transport corridors connecting the inhabitants of the metropolitan region, in their different origins and destinations, are connected from the city of Caldas, in the south, to Barbosa, in the north, passing by Sabaneta, Envigado, Rionegro, Barbosa, Copacabana and some districts of Medellin, among others. Overhead wires, trains, articulated buses and trams form an integrated mobility system operating at a tariff and administrative level, infrastructure, and they all reflect the same attributes to generate a sense of continuity: security, speed, accessibility, presentation, and information service.

Master Plan

Regarding the Master Plan, currently works are culminating Ayacucho’s Tramway. In the west of the city there are plans to develop Avenue 80’s Corridor, where they are conducting a review of the technology to be used. Articulated with the project “Parques del Río”, there are studies regarding the development of a railway line connecting the stations and Industriales and Caribe, which would parallel the Medellin River all the way and would be different to the line that currently exists. This section is part of the project “Multi System Railway” that connects Amagá with La Pradera, and has three objectives: transport people as a suburban rail system, freight transport and finally to transport solid wastes to the area of the Prairie (Pradera) in northern Aburrá Valley.

The long-term Master Plan had proposed several levels, although the company is conducting a review of the Expansion Rector Plan, thus extending line A to the North, Avenue 34’s Corridor, Corridor San Antonio de Prado – La Estrella, the new station between Envigado and Itagüi and the new station between Madera and Acevedo are being reviewed and will be prioritized according to the impact on mobility and territorial development.

Projects for the next five years (2016-2020)

◗ Extension of Line A to the North (Navarra). With the aim of creating a transportation solution for massively underserved areas in the north of Aburrá Valley, an extension section of the railway line has been developed from the station Niquía to the area of Copacabana.

Estimated travel projected by 2020: 88,713 passengers/day

– Length: 4.2 km Stations: 1

– Planned Technology: Metro

◗ Avenue 80’s Corridor is waiting for co financing by the Nation while it is also in a review process to determine the most appropriate technology to develop (tram or monorail). If developed with tram technology, it is estimated at 1.8 billion pesos in 2012 (600 million dollars). This project aims to implement a broker tram transport along Avenue 80, one of the main longitudinal road corridors in the city of Medellin, forming a perimeter ring that will give structure to the main road grid of the western part of the city and will generate urban and metropolitan connections.

The scope of the project will be:

• Construction of a tram corridor 13.5 km long, four connection stations and fifteen stops integrating the western part of the city with the metro transport network connecting the stations of Caribe (north) and Aguacatala (south) .

• Supply 26 trams to improve mobility in the area and generate environmental balance.

• Urban improvement of the influence areas in the proyect.

◗ Avenue 34’s Corridor between the stations of Aguacatala and Palos Verdes

To the east of Aburrá Valley, there are plans for implementing a 10,5 kilometres corridor from the station of Aguacatala, in Metro line A, to the station Palos Verdes, line 1 of the Bus network. According to the analysis that are available to the company in its profile stage, it is anticipated that the technology implemented could be BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit). This line aims to achieve by 2020 an average of 56,769 users a day, although this demand tends to increase due to the planned housing development in the sector and the adequate physical spatial integration scheme, which will include areas of easy access to shopping and parking areas close to the system.

– Length: 10.5 km

– Area of ​​influence: south-eastern, north-eastern and east-central Aburrá Valley

– Planned Technology: guided tram or trolley bus

◗ Corridor San Antonio de Prado – La Estrella

Approximately 29,269 passengers/day are estimated for this corridor to transport in 2020. A guided tram or trolley bus system are the technologies planned for this project, which has a budgeted investment of 950,000 million pesos.

– Estimated travel projected by 2020: 29,629 passengers/day

– Length: 7.2 km

– Investment: 950.000 (million COP)

– Planned Technology: guided tram or trolley bus.

◗ New station between Envigado and Itagüi. Recognizing the productive, commercial and complementary services in the territory located between Avenida Las Vegas and the South Highway, the construction of a new station between Envigado and Itagui is projected, and will transport more than 1,800 passengers per day.

– Estimated travel: 1,870 passengers/day.

– Distance between Envigado and Itagüi Station:2.6 k

– Investment: 20.000 (million COP)

– Planned Technology: Metro.

◗ New station between Madera and Acevedo. The project is in its review stage. This area is an opportunity to plan a productive corridor, something that will be reinforced by the development of the metropolitan strategic project East Logistics Centre. To serve a demand of approximately 5,010 passengers daily, the construction of a new station between Madera and Acevedo, which will contribute in a relevant way to the mobility of this populated area

– Distance between Madera station – Acevedo: 1.98 km

– Estimated travels projected: 5,010 passengers / day

– Investment: 20.000 (million COP)

– Planned Technology: Metro

Proyectos 2021-2030

◗ Multipurpose Rail Corridor System stages I, II and III. It aims to become a solution for the mobility of the extreme areas northern and southern of Aburrá Valley, as an alternative to cargo and solid waste transport for the region. The network has a total length (stages I, II and III) of about 84 km from the station of Botero (municipality of Santo Domingo, in the north) to Primavera station (municipality of Caldas, in the south). The line involves, from north to south, the municipalities of Barbosa, Barbosa, Copacabana, Bello, Medellin, Envigado, La Estrella, Itagüí and Caldas.

– Stage I involves the rehabilitation of a first tranche of 51 km of existing railway corridor.

– Estimated travel: 56,437 passengers/day

– Length: 40 km

– Stations: 6

– Investment: 200,000 (million COP)

Phase I Phase II: Pre-design between a future transfer station for solid waste in the sector of Caribe (municipality of Medellin) and the station of Botero (municipality of Santo Domingo). It includes the construction of sidings and crossings at major stations in the existing rail system. The aim at this stage I is to enable the corridor mentioned for the transport of solid waste in Aburrá Valley for disposal in the area of La Pradera, located about 1 km before the station of Botero.

Stage II consists of building 32 km of double track north of Aburrá Valley, between the station Niquía (municipality of Bello) and Barbosa station. The purpose of this stage would be to allow passenger transport in the north of the Valley of Aburrá with a suburban or commuter train system.

Stage III involves the construction of approximately 36 km of double railway south of the Aburrá Valley, between Niquía (municipality of Bello) and Spring Station (municipality of Caldas) station. The purpose of this stage is to enable multiple use of the complete system (84 km in total), facilitating the transport of solid waste, passengers and goods along the entire Aburrá Valley.

 Corridor El Salado-Ayurá.

It is projected for the long term. With a length of 5 km, this corridor starts from the station Ayurá to the ecological park El Salado, at the top of Envigado. This initiative still has not defined the technology that will be implemented as it is currently at the stage of identification and profile.

◗ Sabaneta Corridor. It is projected for the long term. This is an initiative that provides an internal route in the town of Sabaneta, integrated with the station Itagüí, near the station La Estrella and Sabaneta. It is a corridor whose planned technology is that of a tram, but due to the stage where it is now, the particular characteristics have not yet been defined.

 The Eastern Transport System is under study. Many inhabitants of the Valley of Aburrá have started their march towards the east of the region. This situation is being considered to have a mean of clean transport, connecting several municipalities. The technology contemplated for this project is the tram.

 New station between El Poblado and Aguacatala is being reviewed. This area has undergone a transformation in land use, from productive activities to multiple areas, acting as a metropolitan corridor with the possibility of high population densities. Therefore, there are plans to build a new railway between El Poblado and Aguacatala, which has an estimated demand of 1,260 passengers per day.



The tram of Ayacucho, with two complementary wires, will enter commercial service in 2016. The tram of Ayacucho had an investment of approximately 670 billion pesos (224 million dollars).

A total of 4.3 kilometres of tram over 2459 meters of overhead cable, delimit the path of what will be the tram of Ayacucho and two integrated Metro cables, a project which is located in the municipalities 8, 9 and 10 in Medellin. The coordination and integration of the tram system with various transport systems and the environment responds to the situation of segments of the population which are deficient in providing this service, which in many cases is necessary and a priority. Similarly, it aims to contribute to the reduction of motorized vehicular congestion and encourage and promote new travel patterns by the developments proposed in the Integral Urban Project (IUP) in the central-eastern area of the city of Medellin, where the integration of parks and green areas is contemplated.

This proposal for urban transformation and to generate new dynamic sectors, whose route begins at the San Antonio station, provides an initial demand of 81,700 passengers a day, which translates into a better and greater mobility for the inhabitants of the areas of influence.

This is the project for the integral intervention to Ayacucho. An initiative of the company Metro, supported by the Mayor of Medellin, which seeks to unite efforts of the community and various institutions to achieve not only painting the walls surrounding the project, but filling them with urban and conceptual art that stimulate a cultural and touristic proposal, as well as the renewal of the area.

With the arrival of the Tram of Ayacucho and the two connections to communes 8, 9 and 10 of Medellin, the community shall have the following environmental benefits:

• About 1400 trees will be planted along the Tram and two cables.

• The three new lines are powered and therefore avoid the emission of pollutants.

• Near 7,356 tons of CO2 will be reduced annually.

• 113,174 m2 of new public spaces and green areas will be created.

This project of the Mayor of Medellin, managed by the Metro, will benefit 350,000 people in the Eastern Central area of ​​Medellin. The work involves the implementation of three new subway lines fully integrated: a Tram 4.3 km from the station San Antonio on Line A to the district of Alejandro Echavarria.

The tram corridor will consist of 3 connection stations (San Antonio, Miraflores and Oriente) and 6 stations: San Jose, CEFA, Bicentenario, Buenos Aires, Loyola and Alejandro Echavarria. Along its route, it will provide the ability to transfer to two aerial cable car transport systems.

The first Metrocable corresponds to Line M, which begins its journey in the sector Unidad Deportiva in Miraflores and arrives to the district of Trece de Noviembre, with an intermediate station in the El Pinal. The second Metrocable, Line H, is deployed from the terminus of the tram heading towards the districts of Villa Turbay and La Sierra, which also includes an intermediate station in the neighbourhood of San Antonio, in the sector of Las Torres.

Connection Stations

San Antonio station: located in the street of Maturin with Bolivar -in the basement of the subway station of the same name, hence this is the starting point of the tram. The station will be open and will be connected with the subway to complete integration.

• San Jose Station: Located strategically between Avenida Oriental and Ayacucho.

• Pabellón del Agua EPM Station: before it was known as the station Mon y Velarde, now it will connect with the Cooperative University of Colombia, the Training Centre of Antioquia CEFA and Fine Arts. In addition, there is the Museo del Agua will be here.

• Bicentenario Station: close to park Bicentenario, the museum Museo Casa de la Memoria and the district of Boston, Las Palmas and El Salvador. La Placita de Flórez will be within walking distance.

• Buenos Aires Station: it will reach the heart of the neighbourhood of Buenos Aires and will be close to the hospital Unidad Hospitalaria of Buenos Aires.

Miraflores Station: the second integration station and the tram will be located here. This will be the starting point of Metrocable Line M.

• Loyola Station: this station will be serving the traditional residential unit that bears its name.

• Alejandro Echavarria Station: located in the district of the same name, originally built for the workers of the company Coltejer, that was located where today is the urbanization Villas del Telar.

Oriente Station: the last station of the Tram, and will be the transfer station to the second Metrocable, Line H.