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Publicity Train Ride Derails Tico Style

Jun 07

The Minor Accident Highlighted Shortfalls in the New Rail Route.

The long awaited commuter train between Heredia and San Jose met with a nearly disastrous inauguration when one of the cars derailed with President Oscar Arias, members of his cabinet and various journalists aboard. The incident occurred the morning of Friday, Dec. 12 just 25 meters before the bridge over the Virilla River.

This same section of railroad has negative past after an accident back in 1926, deemed the “Virilla Tragedy”, cost the lives of 249 people. The President of the Costa Rican rail system (Incofer) explained that a wheel got stuck in a double rail at a railroad junction. No one was injured in the incident, though it did not paint a positive picture for the future of the route.

Apparently the track was tested more than 20 times before the fortuitous accident occurred on this promotional journey. However, this goes to show that Incofer has a long way to go before the route can be opened to the public, and a lot more test runs to execute.

The train promises to offer a cheap and convenient alternative to road travel for residents of Heredia that must commute to the country’s congested city capital, a commute that often lasts more than an hour each way. They had hoped to open the route in a couple of months, but it is unknown if this incident will affect that decision.

This, like other solutions to the large traffic problem in the city, will remain on hold until the logistics and security can be worked out. Until then, Heredia residents must continue to brave the bus system or take their own cars to work.

Photo courtesy of Al Dia.

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