Rail transport in Colombia

Rail transport in Colombia
Railroads of Colombia

The Colombia railway network has a total length of 3,304 km. There are 150 km of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge connecting Cerrejón coal mines to maritime port of Puerto Bolivar at Bahia de Portete, and 3,154 km of 3 ft  (914 mm) narrow gauge of which 2,611 km are in use.[1] The state-owned railway company (National Railways of Colombia) was liquidated in the 1990s.


Railway concessions

Railway concessions were awarded on July 27, 1999 to Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia S.A. (FENOCO), as the Atlantic concession, and on November 4, 1998 to the Sociedad Concesionaria de la Red Férrea del Pacífico SA, later named Tren de Occidente SA as the Pacific concession. Since 1991 the section La Loma - Puerto Drummond, with 192 kilometers, transports coal. Also from July 2003 the section Bogota - Belencito, with 257 kilometers, is operating on the Atlantic concession transporting cement. In the Pacific concession the section between La Paila and Buenaventura has a total of 292 kilometers.

In November 2009 the Colombian Government set up a new team of consultants and specialists to oversee the estimated $440m Sistema Ferroviario Central railway concession. The project involves building a 1,050 km railway from La Dorada to Chiriguaná, linking Colombia's central area to the Santa Marta port on the Atlantic coast. The winning team will build the La Dorada stretch, renovate the stretches connecting the districts of La Dorada and Buenos Aires, Puerto Berrío, Envigado and La Dorada and Facatativa, and maintain the Chiriguaná-Buenos Aires stretch. The tender was suspended due to concerns of corruption, but restarted in February 2011.[2]

Investment programme

There is a US$600 million investment programme planned for 2008 and studies for a US$350 million new line between Puerto Berrío and Saboya.[3] Under this contract sections of the Atlantic network Neiva – Villavieja and 177 km Ibagué – La Dorada would be built. Other sections to be built include SogamosoTunja and Puerto Berrío – Cisneros.

Heritage railway Tren de la Sabana, runs between Bogotá and Zipaquirá

China is looking into constructing a 220 km (136 mi) railway between the port cities Buenaventura and Cartagena, connecting Colombia's Pacific and Caribbean coasts. This railway alternative would compete with the Panama Canal.[4][5][6] Besides linking two coasts, China aims to make the import of Colombian coal and the export of Chinese manufactured goods to the Americas easier with this railway. Colombia hopes China's growing economic presence in the region will further the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, the country's biggest trading partner. A inter-oceanic railway link will benefit Colombia's economic growth [7].


Stations served


Medellín is the only city thus far (2008) to have built a metro (rapid transit) system. Consultants are to be appointed in 2008 to develop a metro system in the capital city Bogotá.[8] (see → Bogotá Metro)



The construction of the Bogotá Savannah Railway begins in 1882.


Railways are built with English investment along the Magdalena River. Baldwin engines are used.[citation needed]


A July 5 meeting between Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador regarding a railway for freight and passengers to link the three countries, and the Pacific ocean with the Atlantic ocean was held.


  • Vale to build branches from the Atlantic railway to connect its coal mine to its new port at Puerto Córdoba
  • Build/Rebuild/Maintain concession for 1,050 km from La Dorada to Santa Marta port on the Atlantic coast.


  • Feb. 14, 2011 - The Chinese Government plans to cooperate with Colombia in building a 220km transcontinental railway which would link Colombia's Atlantic and Pacific coasts, according to a British newspaper.

Railway links with adjacent countries

See also


External links