PANAMA: Line 1 of the Panamá City metro was officially opened at 17.00 on April 5, with public service operating between 09.00 and 15.00 the following day. The opening comes 38 months after the start of construction. During the ‘adaptation period’ travel will be free, with passengers receiving guidance on how to use the metro.

The north-south Line 1 runs between Albrook near the airport to Los Andes, serving seven underground and five elevated stations. The 7·2 km between Albrook and Fernández de Córdoba is in 9·77 m diameter twin tunnels bored using two earth pressure balance tunnel boring machines supplied by Herrenknecht. The remaining 6·5 km of the route is on an elevated alignment.

Construction cost US$1·4bn and was carried out by the Línea Uno consortium of FCC and Odebrecht, with Barcelona metro operator TMB, Ayesa and Inelectra providing project management and technical assistance. Alstom supplied Urbalis communications-based train control and 19 three-car Metropolis trainsets built at its Santa Perpètua de Mogoda factory in Spain.

Services run from 05.00 to 22.00 daily. Line 1 is expected to carry 15 000 passengers/h in 2014, rising to 40 000 by 2035. Tendering for Line 2 began in 2011.