Freight rail has an important place in Colombia given its wealth of mineral to transport. There are currently four major corridors planned or recently completed: Pacific Railway Corridor, Cerrejón Railway, La Dorada-Chiriguaná-Santa Marta Railway Corridor, and Facatativá-La Caro-Belencito Railway Corridor.
Freight rail is considered the second mode of transport in Colombia and in the case of coal, the first. However, freight has not interconnected networks for operation although there are different lines which allow communication throughout the country.
Currently, the stretch Chiriguaná-Santa Marta de FENOCO (Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia) is operating with a length of 245 kilometres and transporting 38 million tons of coal a year. A total of $ 400 million were invested for its rehabilitation.
The stretch Puerto de Buenaventura-Cali- La Tebaida del FDP-Ferrocarril del Pacifico is also operating. It is a line of 498 kilometres long and had an investment of $300 million. Annually, 450,000 tons of container and non-perishable elements are transported in such tracks.
Finally, CERREJÓN-Ferrocarril de Mina al Puerto, carries 42 M ton/year of coal along its 250 km. The section: La Mina La Guajira a Puerto Bolívar has already been launched and $600 M were invested for its renewal.
Projects that have not yet enter operation
Today, there are 3 freight railways that have been rehabilitated but have not yet entered into service.
The ferrous corridor La Dorada-Chiriguaná, which has a length of 700 kilometres. The company Tren Colombia has asked the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) the beginning of an early operation in this corridor to be used also for passenger transport.
Corridor El Caro-Belencito, also called Northeast railroad, has a length of 228 kilometres. A total of $208 M were invested for its renewal. The company SOFCA presented the ANI an APP offer whose response is expected in the second half of 2016. This is a railroad that will serve freight industries in the region: cement, steel, mining and drinks of approx . 7,000 tons/day and operation with 4 trains/day.
The Spanish industry is very present on the improvements being carried out in the Colombian railroad. The UT Ferroviaria Central, with a budget of $50 M, was in charge of the civil works in the Railway Corridor Chiriguaná-La Dorada and the branch Puerto Capulco, which carried out the repair of critical points to give transition to a next operation for both freight and passengers
Moreover, in the Corridor Facatativá-La Caro-Belencito the civil works have been awarded to the Consortium Dracol-Vias for $50 M.
Touristic train of the Sabana
Turistren, as it is known, is a train that runs 70 kilometres from La Sabana de Colombia. This is a pioneer project in Colombia for tourism and recreational passenger transport between Bogota and Zipaquira-Nemocon, whose appeal is a visit to the salt mines of the region. It uses very old steam locomotives that arouse memories of the oldest and fantasies and illusion of the smallest.