A freight train project in Costa Rica aims to connect the communities of La Cruz in Guanacaste with the port city of Limon in the Caribbean.
According to national newspaper La Nacion, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (Spanish initials: MOPT) recently put this ambitious plan on paper and hopes to begin construction in 2018. This project is part of Costa Rica’s National Transportation Plan: 2011 – 2035.
Costa Rica’s railways suffered a paralyzing reform during the administration of former President Jose Figueres Olsen from 1994 to 1998. By the time his presidential term was over, President Figueres had essentially dismantled the train system.
The only freight train service in operation these days starts in Limon and ends in Valle de la Estrella (Star Valley). The cargo mostly consists of bananas, paper, cardboard, and steel. Since President Figueres took apart Costa Rica’s Railway Institute (Spanish acronym: INCOFER), the country has seen a massive growth of long-haul freight trucks clogging its already crowded traffic arteries. This situation is no longer sustainable; for this reason, MOPT is proposing this 427 kilometer freight train revival between Limon and Guanacaste.
The proposed route will begin in La Cruz, with possible stops at Upala, San Carlos and Rio Frio in Sarapiqui. From here, the train can follow the Star Valley railway all the way to Limon.
This project aims to help the export industry of Costa Rica to ensure that trading partners have plenty of products that are currently being transported in noisy and cumbersome tractor trailers.
INCOFER estimates that converting this freight train to a passenger route will not be complicated and would greatly increase tourism as well as real estate values in Playas del Coco and other communities across Guanacaste.