The first subway in Central America, the $1.8bn Panama Metro engineered by global infrastructure group FCC, is now 94% complete. Yesterday Panama President Ricardo Martinelli travelled the full 13.7km length of the Metro Line 1 during a trial run. Once completed the full journey is expected to take less than 25 minutes.
The President’s journey took him between Albrook and Los Andes stations on board the Metro Unit 006. Ricardo Martinelli, the President of the Republic, was accompanied by the Minister for Canal Affairs and the Executive Secretary of the Metro, Roberto Roy, as well as other Cabinet members and the Executives of the Consortium formed by FCC and Odebrecht.
The Panama Metro Line 1 project has been under construction for 33 months, with the first stage scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2014. Since the beginning of construction, the project has expanded to include a further 2.2 kilometres and two new stations – meaning the total will be 15.9 kilometres, covered in just 22 minutes.
Yesterday’s tour was part of the dynamic tests which have been underway since the end of August in the Yards and Workshop zone, as well as at underground and elevated sections. Tests are currently being carried out on all installed equipment and systems such as the catenary, rails and rail components. Work has also begun on the restitution of flagstones in underground stations, which will begin with landscaping in the entrance area – pavement placing on sidewalks, painting and signage.
Currently , 15 of the 19 trains which will form the fleet of Metro are being kept in the Yards and Workshops zones, over the next two months the last four will be shipped to Panama. Vehicle movement trials and the testing of static functionality protocols are underway, as well as dynamic tests that verify maximum speed, acceleration capacity, and the braking ability of trains.
The system’s “Metropolis” trains, manufactured in Santa Perpetua, Spain, each comprise of three cars with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers per car. Each car has a length of 52 meters with a height of 3.85 meters. For the convenience of passengers, each car is equipped with wide doors, level floors, corridors between carriages, information screens and natural lighting to enhance the safety of passengers. Trains have a locomotive at each end – with the cars in the centre – enabling travel in either direction.
FCC are also building a new access channel from the Pacific to the Panama Canal in a contract worth $271m.