Argentina receives WB loan for rail upgrade project

Mitre railway line The World Bank Board of Directors approved a USD 347 million loan for the modernisation of Mitre railway line which provides commuter rail service in Buenos Aires area. USD 382.77 million is the total value of the project.

“This is a very important step forward in the path set by President Alberto Fernández, and already started by Mario Meoni, to modernise our passenger rail transport. The train is one of the most used means of transport by Argentine men and women, and thanks to this financing we are going to be able to initiate an historic transformation in the Mitre line that will improve the quality of life of millions of people,” Alexis Guerrera, Argentina’s Transport Minister said.

The Buenos Aires – Mitre railway line modernisation project seeks to improve urban transport to benefit low-income users, women and people with disabilities who live in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area and who regularly use public transport to travel to work or for other activities.

“Today more than ever it is necessary to modernise transport systems so that they are safe, efficient and sustainable for all people who travel to work, study or use the train as a means of transportation,” Jordan Schwartz, the World Bank director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay said.

The WB loan will finance the expansion and renovation of the rail yard of the Retiro station, the improvement of the electrical system, as well as the renewal of the Tigre feeder line. The project also covers the remodeling of 16 stations and the construction of two stations. Facultad de Derecho will connect with the metro station, and a new elevated station in Bancalari will link different feeder lines.

Although the on-time performance of the line has improved to an average of 80.5 per cent in 2019, up from 56 per cent in 2012-2014, it is still well below the level achieved by systems considered to be “best in class”. The Mitre Line’s key infrastructure components, including track, electrification system, switches, and signalling, are well past or near the end of their useful lives, leading to excessive service delays, and disruptions. The modernisation of these key elements, together with upgrading of the outdated Retiro railyard, will significantly improve the system’s efficiency, capacity and safety.

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