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Panama To Develop New Metro Subway System

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Travel

  • Sumo

People from three outlying areas all try to enter Panama city center every weekday morning between 6 and 8 o’clock in the morning. Rapid population growth, high emissions from bus pollution and a lack of alternatives to private automobiles all point to an urgent need for an efficient public transportation system in Panama. Construction has begun on Metro Line One of Panama, the first subway to be built in Central America. It is due for completion in 2013 and it is planned to be open in 2014. Feasibility studies are under way for a second line.

Metro Line One will be open from early in the morning until midnight, seven days a week. It will be able to carry 40,000 passengers an hour. It will be roughly 14 km in length. Five of its eleven stations will be elevated. These will run between the southern terminus at Los Andes and a station at 12 de Octobre. Five other stations will be located underground and the eleventh will be a combination of the two.

The company that will manufacture the rolling stock is based in France. The first line will run from Allbrook at the northern end to the commercial of Panama City, Los Andes, in the south. Line One will divide the city into two halves. The journey time is expected to be 23 minutes from one end of the line to the other. There are proposals to build a ‘government city’ on the line around the stop planned at Curundu.

The actual railway line from which the track will be constructed has been successfully employed in Barcelona, Santo Domingo and other parts of the world. Stations will be unique in style and are planned to make extensive use of natural light. The trains will operate efficiently and make the most use of energy. The insides of the carriages are being designed to provide the passenger with a ride that is both safe and comfortable. Facilities are being planned for passengers with limited mobility.

The Metro subway will complement the Metrobus project which is already underway. It is hoped that the new buses will replace the iconic but overcrowded, dingy and aging private Red Devil bus line. The Red Devils appear to have been American school buses in a previous incarnation. They are iconic because of their cheeky graffitti style livery.

The Metro Line subway will be of direct benefit to long-suffering commuters who have been putting up with long journey times to work as a result of oppressive traffic congestion. Everyone in the urban area will benefit indirectly as a result of improved traffic flow. In parallel with the construction of the subway, there will be a realignment of the roads.

Temporary road closures were announced in June 2011 for road 12 di Diciembre and Via Simon Bolivar. This is to allow new water pipes to be installed. Throughout the closures, only residents, local shopkeepers and pedestrians will be allowed access. Work also began in May 2011 on the northern section of the subway.

The former Allbrook Air Force Base, now an international airport named after Marcos A Gelabert, is located near the northern terminus of the subway about one and a half kilometers west of the center of Panama City. Gelabert founded the first pilot training school here. Tragically, he perished in a plane accident and the airport is named in his honor.

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