The Andean city of Huancayo, the capital of Peru’s Junin region and the commercial hub of the central Andes, plans to start operating a metropolitan railway by March 2013, Mayor Dimas Aliaga said.
In a television interview, Aliaga said the metro will first serve a seven kilometer distance in te city of Huancayo itself, and will later expand to connect to other towns in the Mantaro basin across the Tambo-Concepcion-Jauja route in Junin. Tambo is located in the northern part of Huancayo, located more than 10,000 feet above sea level with a population of about 350,000.
“Huancayo has a transportation problem, there is a lot of traffic and we need to confront this problem, and this will only be possible with a modern, large-scale transportation system,” Aliaga said on La Hora N news program.
The president of railway operator Ferrocarril Central Andino, Juan de Dios Olaechea, said the metro will be able to serve up to some 300,000 people a day. He said the trains will use some of the tracks from the Central Railway system that are now only used once a month for tourism journeys, while they will also build new rail lines.
Ferrocarril Central Andino is investing 9 million soles ($3.5 million) in the project, while the city of Huancayo is investing 2 million soles. The railcars have been imported from Europe and are at the Monserrate station in Lima before moving to Huancayo.
The metro will be the second urban rail line in Peru, after Lima’s Tren Electrico that began operating in 2011 after a long delay. Work on the Tren Electrico began during ex-President Alan Garcia’s first administration in the 1980s. The government ran out of money as Peru’s economy collapsed, causing work on the metro to be shut down for more than 20 years. It was reinitiated during Garcia’s second term and inaugurated last year.
Meanwhile, in Huancayo, “The project has taken less than a year,” Olaechea said. “Compare that with Lima’s metro, which took 25 years.”
Ferrocarril Central Andino has also made a proposal to the government to operate a similar commuter metro transport system between Chosica and Callao.
The company is the consortium —including Juan de Dios Olaechea & Cia. and Minas Buenaventura — that operates Ferrovias Central Andina, with freight trains operating between the port of Callao and the mining centers of La Oroya, Huancayo and Cerro de Pasco. One of the company’s major projects is to build a railway connecting north central Peru and into Brazil, creating less environmental damage than highways.