Prime Minister's Office of the Republic of Panama

03/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/15/2019 20:33

Study reveals that the proposal of President Varela for a Panama-David train is economically and socially profitable

President Juan Carlos Varela today received the results of the feasibility study of a railway system between Panama and David, one of the flagship projects of non-reimbursable cooperation between the Republic of Panama and the People's Republic of China.

The event took place within the framework of the International Fair of David and during the same, the Panamanian President confirmed that the studies show that the project is economically viable, based on the social profitability for the country in terms of improving efficiency in the public services, mobility of citizens, valorization of public and private properties, incentive to tourism, as well as the strengthening of the maritime route of the Panama Canal and logistics centers.

'The system would provide a much more efficient passenger mobility system and an unprecedented integration in the country, and will strengthen the country's logistics platform by strengthening our logistical, air, maritime and financial connectivity with the region', said the President, adding that the study contemplated a possible extension to Costa Rica in the future, which 'would complement the Central American economies and facilitate the commercialization of products between our countries, which have great challenges in logistics'.

The presentation of the technical aspects was in charge of the engineer Oscar Ramírez, director of the Tocumen International Airport and who presides the High Level Commission appointed by President Varela to coordinate what is related to this study.

Ramirez shared that the proposal is to build a line of passenger train and cargo of 8 wagons, with capacity for about 750 passengers, with 21 stops in a section of 391.3 kilometers in length, which would cross by land, tunnels and bridges the provinces of Panama , Coclé, Herrera Veraguas and Chiriquí.

The train would reach up to 160 kilometers per hour in the case of passengers and 80 kilometers per hour in the case of the freight train, which results in an estimated time of transfer between Panama and the city of David of 2 and a half hours.

It is estimated that the construction phase of this mega infrastructure project would last 6 years, in which up to 6 thousand direct and indirect jobs would be created, while for operation and maintenance some 2,900 people will be required.

On the investment, the study estimated would reach 4,100 million dollars, an amount lower than the projects of the Fourth Bridge over the Canal and the Line 3 of the Metro combined, and less expensive than the projects of the lines 1 and 2 of the Metro, which demonstrates the country's capacity to undertake this work.

The feasibility study of the Panama-David train is part of the initiative of the Strip and the Route, which main objective is the commercial integration of the people. It is part of the non-reimbursable cooperation agreements signed between the Republic of Panama and the People's Republic of China, signed during the first meeting between Presidents Juan Carlos Varela and Xi Jinping, in Beijing.

The project was executed by the company China Railway Design Corporation, with extensive experience in the development of railway projects at a global level, and who worked with several Panamanian companies that supported economic, geotechnical, soil and capacity analysis and demand; as well as Panamanian experts who were part of the technical tours organized with the Chinese side, including representatives of the Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects (SPIA), the Technological University of Panama, the University of Panama, the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Planning, the Electric Transmission Company and the Panama Metro.

In his speech, President Varela said that this railway system 'a dream of Belisario Porras, which we took up again a hundred years later; this work would impulse the growth of our provinces and the country, so I hope that the future leaders will take it, make it real, always thinking of Panama first'.