Opportunities in the development of railways in Antioquia and Colombia
1. Railway Opportunities in Antioquia
The Sociedad Antioqueña de Ingenieros y Arquitectos SAI
(Antioquia Engineering and Architecture Society –ASI)
At La Dorada-Chiriguana Railway Webinar
U.S. Commercial Service
Mayo de 2023
2. The Antioquia engineering and architecture society has been working for 110 years
for the benefit of the Antioquia region and Colombia. One of its main focuses of
interest has been infrastructure and railways.
3. The Antioquia Society of Engineers and Architects is located in the
department of Antioquia in the Republic of Colombia Antioquia is an
important department of the country, the second one in importance and
contributes approximately 15% of the country's gross domestic product,
There are near 7 million inhabitants, its capital is Medellín, with a
population in its metropolitan area of more than 4 million inhabitants.
The Antioquia region is very mountainous. Most of the inhabitants live in
the high valleys of the Central Cordillera of the Andes. The Occidental
Cordillera also crosses the region.
There also three major rivers that pass through Antioquia: The Atrato river
on the western border; the Cauca river in the middle of the department and
the Magdalena river on the eastern border .
Antioquia has coasts in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Urabá being the
main geographical feature of the Antioquia coast. Antioquia is very near
the border with Panama and the Pacific Ocean.
It is clear that there are significant challenges in the construction of
transportation infrastructure in this region.
4. The society brings together engineers and architects from
all fields and from all regions of Antioquia. It maintains
continuous work and a rich activity benefiting its
professional members and disseminating knowledge and
academic advance in its filed of interest, the different
fields of engineering and architecture, holding more than
10 forums and seminars annually, attended by more than
2,000 people and producing numerous talks and
5. With its Seminars, Discussion Panels, and
Focus Groups, the society is at the forefront of
important issues for our region and the country
7. The society
maintains a rich
activity of visits to
companies and sites
made, with the aim
of being aware and
benefit the projects.
8. It has 20 commissions and chapters that allow its members to participate, develop contacts and make
significant contributions to the country and the region in the different fields of engineering and architecture.
10. The importance of positioning the society and
our professions through its presence in social
networks, in the media and in the life of the
region and the nation.
11. From the Antioquia Society of Engineers and Architects (SAI) and its Commission on Railways and
Sustainable Transport, an initiative called Constitution of a Sustainable Mobility Railway HUB was
presented at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.
This strategy that was very well received by the Chamber of Commerce of Medellín for Antioquia and its
Sustainable Energy Cluster.
The creation of the initiative began by these entities as founding institutions, giving it a national character. It
was considered necessary to establish a Railway and Sustainable Transport Hub to help the academic,
technical, industrial and commercial sectors to respond in an articulated and effective manner to the needs
of the important projects that are being conceived and developed in this area. in Colombia, including those
that are in operation.
THE NATIONAL RAILWAY HUB
Towards the integral development of companies, training and the railway industry and
sustainable transport in Colombia
12. Among the current projects associated with railways and sustainable transport, the following stand out:
➢ The Aburrá Valley Mass Transportation System, made up of the high-capacity train network, aerial
cables, tram and Bus Rapid Transit mode -BRT-, in conjunction with future projects of the Expansion
Master Plan, such as line F , the extension to the north, the Metro line in Carrera 80, among others.
➢ The Antioquia Railroad, taking into account lines that are required in the short term, such as the
multipurpose passenger, cargo and waste system of the Aburrá Valley. This includes the connection of
the solid waste collection in Caribe with the La Pradera disposal center, and the connection with the
central railway in Puerto Berrío.
➢ The railway connections to the ports of Urabá are considered of high importance.
➢ There are various projects that are beginning to consolidate at the national level, among others the
following: First line of the Bogotá Metro; Regio Tram de Occidente, Cundinamarca - Bogotá; Pacific
Railroad System, Central Railroad, especially due to the reactivation of La Dorada - Chiriguaná - Santa
Marta, Bogotá - Belencito Railroad, Train-tram or Barranquilla Light Metro, Cali Light Metro, the
mass transportation systems of the capitals.
13. INSTITUTIONS THAT MAKE UP THE STEERING
COMMITTEE OF THE RAILWAY HUB
Promotora del Ferrocarril de Antioquia
Metro de Medellín
Cámara de Comercio de Medellín
Sociedad Antioqueña de ingenieros y
Universidades (Representa Universidad EAFIT)
Finally, the HUB was formed, which had its public launch at the FISE
(International Electrical Industry Fair) fair held in Medellín in April 2022.
There was a stand where information on the initiative was displayed and a
talk was held - special launch panel.
14. Three work commissions were formed following the strategic lines, and participation
was opened to various companies and entities with proven interest in the subject of
railways and sustainable transport. To date, more than 30 public entities, companies,
universities and consultants have participated. Following is the current list of entities,
companies and experts that are part of the Hub, a list that is continuously growing
Sociedad Antioqueña de Ingenieros y Arquitectos SAI - Cámara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia y su
Cluster Energía Sostenible –Alion -CCECC Sucursal Colombia, Civil Engineering Construction Corporation –
CELSIA – CIDET –COLIMPEX -DB Engineering & Consulting – DINPRO – Empresas Públicas de Medellín EPM
–FISE -Gamma Corona - Grupo Unión - Grupo Unión Eléctrica – HATCH –HMV –IEB -Inmel SA – Integral S.A. –
ISA -Instituto Tecnológico de Medellín ITM - Metro de Medellín -MINISTERIO DE TRANSPORTE –ANI -Parts
and Solutions -Instituto Tecnológico Pascual Bravo – PiEpsilon – PROCOLOMBIA - Promotora Ferrocarril de
Antioquia -Regiotram de Occidente – SENA – Siemens -Universidad de Antioquia -Universidad EAFIT -Politécnico
Colombiano JIC - Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana - Universidad Nacional Sede Medellín - VG MOBILITY - SIM
IMPEX – GmbH - CARSTEN PULS
Juliana Pineda Muñoz - Ramiro Márquez - Fernando Rey - Juan Esteban Martínez – Ramiro Márquez
15. It is intended, through the strategic lines, to generate synergies and
actions to enhance capacities through the integration of the entire value
chain: educational institutions, technology centers, the industrial
sector, the commercial sector and other entities of the railway
ecosystem and of sustainable transport. In this sense, there is the rich
experience of the Medellín Metro, in the development of suppliers for
the modernization programs of its trains.
16. MODERNIZACIONES DE TRENES EN EL METRO DE MEDELLÍN: LA
MATERIALIZACIÓN DE UNA SUMA DE CAPACIDADES.
Esquema con los principales sistemas del tren; de estos, el de bogies por
su robustez, y los de información al usuario, señalización CCTV, por ser
objeto de otros contratos, no serán intervenidos. Los sistemas restantes se
intervendrán en esta modernización.
17. BENEFITS OF TRANSPORT BY RAIL IN COLOMBIA AND ESPECIALLY OF THE
SYSTEMS MOVED BY ELECTRICITY
The use of railway systems is of vital importance for mass and cargo transportation in the country. There
is abundant international experience that shows how important rail transport is in the world. In fact, they
were very important in the country for many years, before circumstances of various kinds led to the
practical abandonment and the dismantling and progressive deterioration of many of the existing
systems, although some developments of new systems dedicated to transportation have been made. of
coal on the coast and mass transportation by metro and tram systems in the Aburrá Valley, in addition to
the fact that part of the old Atlantic railway along the Magdalena River remains in operation.
There is a great national yearning to recover the importance of the railway and this is going to happen, as
indicated by the numerous projects under development and planning and the very intentions of the new
That is why the directors and promoters of the Railway Hub want to present this initiative to the
country's transport authorities, being sure that it will be supported, taken into account and encouraged by
such authorities and national leaders. Undoubtedly, it is time for railways and sustainable transport
systems, especially if the goal is to make them as electric in nature as possible..
18. • By replacing the use of fossil fuels with electricity, significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG)
are avoided, of polluting gases such as Carbon Monoxide CO, Nitrogen Oxides NOx, Sulfur Oxides
SOx and volatile organic compounds, Hydrocarbons HC, PM2.5 particulate matter and the generation
of tropospheric ozone is mitigated.
• Due to the nature of the electric motor, the costs and complexity of vehicle and engine maintenance are
• Likewise, due to this nature, it is much easier to establish good driving and sustainable mobility
practices, since driving is friendlier and easier to implement and automate.
• In addition, due to this nature, gears and braking operations can be softened, as well as energy waste,
reducing tire and pavement wear, which are a very important source of emissions.
• The problems of low efficiencies and high generation of pollutants during braking, idling and waiting
operations are avoided.
• Noise generation associated with mobility is radically reduced.
• This is probably the only way that exists in major Colombian cities to lower PM2.5 concentrations to
levels close to 10 micrograms per m3 recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
19. But in addition, there is an important opportunity to promote technological
development in the region, to the extent that there is the wisdom and vision to
promote the broad components of the value and production chain associated with
railways and electric mobility.
This will give rise to employment, wealth generation, technological development,
knowledge, export possibilities and the generation of knowledge and intellectual
21. THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME PRINCIPLES THAT FORM THE BASIS OF THE HUB AND
THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO FACILITATE THE CHANGE TOWARDS RAILWAYS AND
ELECTRIC MOBILITY IN THE SHORT AND MEDIUM TERM, ACHIEVING THE DESIRED
➢Maintain the strength of electricity generation from renewable
resources in the region.
➢Decidedly, promote research, innovation and development of
technologies that support the change towards railways and electric
➢Identify the components of the electric and rail mobility value chain
and promote and coordinate efforts
➢Invite the international leaders of the transition towards railways and
electric mobility to the country to install a plant and bring technology
V international seminar and Expo
Given the level of development
reached during recent years, railway
projects both in contracts as in the
structuring of the new lines that will
connect the different cities and
departments in Colombia, SAI and
FISE have organized this iconic event
Professionals from different areas,
companies, stakeholders related to the
railway sector will meet here. This
will generate synergies and actions to
enhance the capabilities through the
integration of the entire chain of
value: educational institutions,
technology centers, government
entities, industrial sector, commercial
sector and other entities of the
railway ecosystem and sustainable
Medellín is a captivating city, not only for its
climate, but also for the friendliness of its
people, its gastronomic offer and its
innovations. In recent years, the city has
positioned itself as a major event center in
Latin America thanks to its hotel offers,
transportation and infrastructure. Medellin is a
true epicenter of business and a center for
industrial and commercial activities.
THE SITE FOR THE SEMINAR AND THE
It is the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.
This university has been, since 1936, a center
for excellence in education, specially in the
engineering and architecture fields. It has it’s a
modern events center, The Forum, a space
with a capacity for 800 people and modular
auditoriums equipped with the latest
technology for large-scale and high impact
events. It has an area of 2,220 m2 and it is
equipped with the means, the capacity and the
logistics to host city events with international
There are many technical, economical, social, environmental, logistic, engineering
and innovation challenges as can see in the many projects being considered
➢ The layout of the country's railway network, with low slopes (max 1.0%) and
wide radii of curvature (> 600 m)
➢ In the Metro systems there are needs for passenger control system.
➢ Software to avoid railway accidents.
➢ The severe challenges of crossing forest, reserves, wetlands, floodplains,
mountainous and unstable terrain prone to landslides, landslides.
➢ The culture of invasion of the reserve zones of the road corridors by neighboring
36. Persistently and deliberately define an Railway Master Plan
➢ Focused on opening opportunities in the territories
➢ Reach the borders of Antioquia and develop the border territories
➢ Contribute to the development of the Urabá - Medellín -
Magdalena River - Center of the Country axis
➢ Reach the Pacific of Chocó, Urabá and Panama.
37. FROM A CENTRALIST MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS A NEW MODEL
OPEN TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD WITH SUB-
Railway connections between
Medellín and Urabá
High speed train Medellin Bogota
Connections between railways and
38. Complete the projects of the
PROMOTORA DEL FERROCARRIL
Recovering connections with
Magdalena and Caldas, (Tren Verde
de Antioquia, Tren del Café) and the
Establishing the connection to Urabá.
Connections with the Pacific and
High speed train to Bogota
39. UNION WITH URABÁ AND CHOCÓ
SAI wants to reaffirm its already proposed proposal to reach the Pacific at Bahía Cupica
from Bolombolo and join it to Urabá from Murrí. There are studies on this that were carried
out with the IDEA.
41. It is a challenging challenge, but necessary and convenient,
the connection with Panama, overcoming, in a sustainable
and respectful way with the environment and with the
modern technologies of tunnels and viaducts, the obstacles
of the terrain and of the Darién and overcoming and
negotiating the fears and rejections of social and
This must be a great national and international purpose.
Promoted from Antioquia, working together with Chocó.
42. SAI has raised as another challenge to
unite Medellín with Caucasia, Montería
and the coast following the Porce.
This route has the best conditions and
slopes and opens up rich territories for
43. Develop mass rail transport in Urabá and in the San Nicolás Valley,
articulated with trains from neighboring areas.
Efficiently integrate the other means of transport with the railway
systems thinking about multimodality.
By 2040, the railway mode should be fully electrified.E
Insure that there is a connection with the ports of the Atlantic, the
Pacific and the Atrato, Cauca, Nechí and Magdalena rivers.
44. Manage to associate the proposed and ongoing railway developments with regional
productive, tourist, agro-industrial and population developments, generating passenger
and cargo flows that contribute to making the systems sustainable.
Propose new, attractive and innovative financing mechanisms for the systems, including
the participation of the inhabitants of Antioquia and the country through bonds, shares,
municipal contributions, the solidarity sector, pension and union funds and NGOs and
international and national funds , seeking greater support and a sense of belonging from
the community in the projects.
Call international and national capital, companies and technologies in an attractive,
planned and organized manner through permanent financing and technology
45. Create a culture of the railway mode in corridors, beneficiary areas and in
users, clients and institutions so that there is care, respect and good practices
Ensure that there is a broad sense of environmental conservation and forestry,
tourism and productive development in the railway corridors and their adjacent
areas, having sufficient breadth in the properties and associating landowners
and residents with the projects.
46. Manage the conservation and heritage management of the old stations and
Reach agreements with the inhabitants who have invaded the corridors to
recover them, establishing some sections with tourist service as has been done
in many parts of the world.
Having a Railway Museum, some of the cellars of the old Bello workshops can
work as and alternatively for this.