INTRO: After much delay, work on the final stages of Venezuela’s suburban railway linking Tuy Medio with Caracas is in hand

LAST MONTH was due to see electrification work start on the 43 km Tuy Medio suburban railway being built between Caracas and Cúa in Venezuela.

Contracts to build the double-track standard-gauge line were originally awarded in 1992 to a consortium of Italian, Japanese and Venezuelan companies. The line is intended to provide a commuter service between the capital and the satellite city of Tuy Medio, offering an end-to-end journey time of around 20min. This will be substantially faster than the trip by road, where traffic congestion is a serious problem.

In Caracas the route terminates at La Rinconada on the south side of the city, where there will be interchange to Line 3 of the Caracas metro - contracts for the metro extension from El Valle to La Rinconada were awarded to the Frameca consortium in September 2002 (RG 11.02 p672).

Numerous delays have plagued the Tuy Medio project, and the latest construction timetable envisages that the line will open in March 2006. Just over 80% of the work has been completed, but sufficient progress had been made by mid-June for Venezuelan President Hugo Ch