Heredia - San José Train At "Toda Maquina"

Only seven people rode the first train leaving the Heredia station headed for San José Monday morning, as the long awaited commuter train service began operations. However, within minutes of the beginning of the service all four trains were in operational instead of only the two that the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer) - Costa Rican railway - had expected to run for the first month.

However, the demand on the first day was so great that the head of the Incofer, Miguel Carabaguíaz, decided to get all four trains running, at times two and three trains leaving the station at the same time instead of being spread out.

For now the train will provide service every 30 minutes during morning and afternoon weekday rush hours, with service expanding to every 15 minutes by the end of the month.

For many it was worth the ¢350 colones it costs to ride the train that takes only 21 minutes between downtown Heredia and the Estación de Atlantico, located diagonal to the Parque Nacional, in San José.

The bus ride between Heredia and San José is only a few colones less but takes up to two and three times more time as traffic congestion between Heredia and San José is at an all time high.

The Incofer says it carried some 1.500 passengers yesterday morning.

The projection is to carry up to 5.000 people daily.

For many the train is a novelty, some riding a train for the first time in their lives.

Costa Ricans have been used to seeing train tracks but very few have actually seen a train running on those tracks and that was the problem when the Pavas - San José commuter train began running a couple of years back, as accidents between trains and vehicles were frequent.

The major cause of those accidents was the result of vehicles stopping in traffic on train tracks, or drivers trying to outrun the train. In one minor fender bender, the Pavas train collided with a vehicle as it was leaving the station. In a more serious accident, a woman tried to outrun the train as it crossed La Sabana in front of McDonalds.

With the beginning of the Heredia train, talk has resumed of reviving train service to Alajuela and Cartago. Carabaguíaz explained that analysis for those services is underway, but it will be some time before those tracks will be active again, mainly due to lack of funding.

Foto: Jimmy Córdoba



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