Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Costa Rica’s new Cartago train service almost ready
On September 15, 2010, I posted (click here) about the Costa Rican government’s plans to introduce a new commuter train service between the capital, San José, and the nearby city of Cartago, the neophyte nation’s original capital city.
Less than two years later, the service is almost ready to launch as the latest effort in the government’s plans to establish a network linking major cities throughout the Central Highlands.
Last Wednesday the government purchased six Apollo 2400 trains (for €751,000 apiece) from Spanish state owned Ferrocarriles Vía Estrecha (FEVE), or Spanish Narrow Gauge Railways, for €4.5 million (about $ 5.6 million). FEVE also supplied identical trains (which have a capacity for 180 people) that operate between San José and Heredia (inaugurated in August 2009) and San Antonio de Belén (inaugurated in April 2011).
The Apollo 2400 features two carriages, each with a diesel engine.
At the purchase-signing ceremony, in the Presidential Palace, Vice-President Luis Liberman (one of Costa Ricas two vice presidents) and Costa Rican Railroad Institute (INCOFER) president Miguel Carabaguíaz said that the route should be inaugurated on September 14, coinciding with the visit to Cartago of President Laura Chinchilla for her participation in the nation’s Independence Day celebrations and the arrival in that city of the torch of freedom.
The trains, which will be painted white, red, and blue, are expected to enter service in October on the rebuilt railway line.
The 23-kilometer journey between San José and Cartago will take about 35 minutes, helping (it is hoped!) to ease congestion on the heavily-trafficked Autopista Florencio del Castillo.
I imagine, too, that the new train service (which is expected to cost about ¢400, or US$0.75, for the journey) might give a small boost to tourism, making a visit to Cartago an attractive sojourn for josefinos (residents of San José) and tourists alike.
Carabaguíaz and Liberman also announced that INCOFER is studying the possibility of adding a Cartago-Heredia route.
Once the Cartago service is inaugurated, the government also plans to restore the railway lines between San José and Alajuela.
For complete information about travel in Costa Rica, buy Moon Costa Rica
If you're traveling only to San José and the Caribbean, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to the beaches of Nicoya, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to Arenal and/or Monteverde, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Arenal&Monteverde pocket guide.
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker.
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker