ARGENTINA: On July 6 the Ministry of Transport announced the start of work on a new elevated alignment for the 1 000 mm gauge Belgrano Sur commuter route in Buenos Aires. Running for 5∙6 km, it will enable Belgrano services to run into the Plaza Constitución terminus of the 1 676 mm gauge Roca network, rather than terminate at Buenos Aires as at present.

Due for completion in 2019 at a cost of 1∙425bn pesos, including a new elevated intermediate station at Dr A Sáenz, the project will see the elimination of eight level crossings, notably that over the busy Avenida Sáenz where road traffic can be delayed by up to 20 min, according to the ministry. The new alignment will therefore benefit the 370 000 bus passengers and 20 000 car drivers using these level crossings each day, as well as the 50 000 passengers carried on Belgrano Sur commuter services.

Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich said that following a programme of track renewals and electrification, the Belgrano Sur route would form part of the RER network now being developed in Buenos Aires. According to Dietrich, the RER programme represented ‘the largest investment in history to upgrade the rail network in the metropolitan area.’

‘We have over 100 km of railways which are very little used’, said Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, head of the Buenos Aires city government. ‘We have to ensure that more and more people benefit from them and this project clearly shows the way.’