F Jul 2012
railwayengineering_focuson_uruguay_National_Railroad _Company

The Uruguayan railway gets a complete makeover with the incorporation of three companies

The South American countries show a growth trend and, despite the worldwide economic crisis, better than average economic development. Uruguay, but also Brazil and Argentina are countries in which foreign trade will increase significantly in the next few years. A necessary condition for this, however, is the availability of modern infrastructures: ports, airports, but above all adequate railway networks, especially for freight transport.

Several years ago, the government of Uruguay made restoration and development of the railway network, which consists of about 3,000 km of standard gauge track and diesel traction, one of the country’s top priorities. The geographical position of the South American country makes it a natural outlet toward the Atlantic for many of the Mercosur countries. The railway network built in 1869 with a short line of 17 km between Montevideo and Las Piedras has always kept the capital as its hub, and now all the lines in the country converge and radiate from there. In the latter half of the past century, the railway industry went through an extended decline, as in all of South America, and now the government of Uruguay is trying to correct the situation.
Since 2007, when it stipulated the concession to the CND (Corporacion Nacional para el Desarrollo – National Railroad Company) of a number of lines, the plan to relaunch it has been under way.
We met the Chairman of AFE, the state railway company that recently reorganized its structure. Alejandro Orellano illustrated the work currently under way and projects for the future.

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