EFE Trenes de Chile, the state-owned railway company of Chile, announced that CRRC Sifang and Temoinsa won the contract for the supply of 32 commuter EMUs which will be delivered from 2026.
USD 171.36 million is the value of the contract, of which USD 117.8 million is the value of the 22 trains ordered for Alameda – Melipilla connection and USD 53.5 millionm for Quinta Normal – Batuco railway line.
The three-car trains have a capacity of 807 standing and seated passengers per train and have similar characteristics to those recently acquired for the operation of the Rancagua – Alameda service, powered by electricity through catenary. They will be able to run at a maximum speed of 140 km/h and are equipped with an air conditioning system and will be fully accessible and will have special places for wheelchairs.
The winner of the contract was announced by the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of EFE, Eric Martin, at the Estación Central de Santiago.
“We are taking a very important step by announcing that the bidding process has finished, which will allow the purchase of new trains that will be used for these two future services that will strengthen public transport in communes that currently have connectivity difficulties, significantly reducing the transfer times, improving people’s quality of life,” Minister Juan Carlos Muñoz said.
22 of the 32 ordered trains will be used for railway services on Train to Melipilla route, a planned 61 km double-track commuter railway line linking Alameda station in Santiago with Melipilla, a commune situated 70 km south-west of country’s capital. The remaining 10 electric trains will be used on the Quinta Normal Batuco new route, a 27 km railway line from Alameda station, Quinta Normal to Batuco, in the north-west of Santiago.
The acquisition of the three-car trains is important to accelerate the two rail projects that “will expand the possibilities of connectivity throughout all the regions. The contract will allow the provision of a safe and environmentally sustainable transport system to communes that today have face issues in rail connectivity located to the west and north of Santiago,” the chairman of the board of EFE Trenes de Chile said.
The acquisition of the new electric multiple units is part of a programme supported by the President of Chile Gabriel Boric, which tasked EFE Trenes de Chile to deliver modern railway services and promote sustainable public transport.
The procurement of the new commuter EMUs is the largest single rolling stock contract in the last 140 years, since 1884, when EFE Trenes de Chile was established. It is part of the investment to triple rail passenger ridership expected to reach up to 150 million passengers by 2027. In the case of Melipilla, the company estimated that 57 million passengers will use train services, while Batuco additional 35 million passengers.
In January 2022, Chile launched the construction of the stations along the Santiago – Melipilla railway line which will be served by 11 new stations and is expected to enter passenger services from 2026. The Train to Melipilla project has a value of USD 1.5 billion and when completed, the passengers will save up to two hours compared to the current journey time.
Santiago – Batuco rail project aims to create a 27 km double track for passengers and to improve the existing line, which will be dedicated to freight. Thus the line will be provided with 3 main tracks, two for passenger trains and one freight-dedicated which is not electrified. The line will be served by 7 new stations, including the underground Quinta Normal station to be integrated within the existing metro station. The project also covers the construction of a 1.5 km tunnel, five new underpasses to eliminate the existing grade level crossings and 53 new bridges, as well as a new depot and maintenance facility.
In March 2023, Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE) selected a consortium of Systra and Zañartu (50/50), a Chilean engineering firm specialising in civil engineering, to support the construction of the two suburban train lines of Santiago. The contract will runt for five years, until the new lines will enter commercial operation.
The acquisition of the new commuter EMUs as well as the construction of the two railway lines are projects implemented under Chile on Rails strategy which includes 27 projects worth more than USD 5 billion.