Monitoring the Construction of the Panama Subway

The construction of Panama City’s metropolitan subway system is working full speed ahead on a 24/7 basis in a race to cut the inauguration ribbon during the first half of 2014.  Enormous efforts are being done to reorganize basic services like water, electricity, cable television and communications.  The entire city is upside down and driving is a nightmare.  The “tranques” or traffic jams is a daily torture thousands of motorists must endure.  You will find them round the clock, anywhere in the metropolitan area.

As a prelude to the inauguration of the new mass transit system, bus routes are being rearranged in the city and the implementation of electronic prepaid cards for both the buses and the future subway.  We are already paying our bus fares with prepaid electronic cards.  Panama Metro wants to go further and apply NFC technology (short-range wireless communication) which will allow the subway passengers to pay with their mobile phones.

Line 1 (which follows a north-south route) consists of 8.7 miles and will start at Albrook, next to the National Transportation Terminal, the arrival hub for all provincial bus routes to Panama City.

The first seven subway stations of the route Albrook-Los Andes will be underground. The remaining five are elevated approximately 59 feet above ground.

The trains are being built by the Alstom company in Barcelona, ​​Spain. The track’s width is 4.7 feet, which is the standard size for subway systems around the world.

Panama transit authorities have said that the subway transportation service will begin operations with 19 trains with three cars each; then they will add two more cars for a total of five cars.

Initially, the new subway will move approximately 30,000 people per hour, between 5:30 a. m. and 11 p. m., with trips every three or four and a half minutes during peak hours.  Pretty impressive if you ask me, considering that now all massive transportation is done with buses in over-crowded highways, thus the pesky  “tranques“.

Below are several pictures which I shot yesterday, December 16, 2012, at approximately 08:00 a.m.  This is how the construction looks like on this date.  Will include progress of the subway system right here on Lingua Franca until its official inauguration date in 2014.

Snapshot of a sign where a subway station is being built. The sign reads, “The station of October 12 is being built here. Line One of the Panama Metro. Administration of Ricardo Martinelli.” Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Snapshot of the elevated tracks of the Panama Metro in Panama City, Panama. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Take notice at the end of the cement structure, a tiny picture of a Metro Bus moving in the direction my position in the Transisthmian Highway. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
In this picture you can easily distinguish the elegant buses of Panama City. They are relatively new in the metropolitan area. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Snapshot of the massive construction of the metro station of October 12 on the Transisthmian Highway. This place is about one mile from our house. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

2 thoughts on “Monitoring the Construction of the Panama Subway”

  1. Hi Omar,

    It looks exactly like the ones we already have here in my country. We call it Metro Rail Transit, Light Railway Transit or MRT, LRT for short respectively. They are quite convenient and get you to your destination pretty quick. The problem is; the trains are heavily crowded all the time. 🙂
    Same here. We have to endure round-the-clock traffic jams everyday of our lives. *sigh*

    My dear blogger, please pardon me for my delayed replies. My circumstances have not been favorable for the past couple of days. I am waiting for a better time and mood to be able to write back.
    I sent you a brief message on both FB and email.

    I wish you well.


  2. Hi Marj:

    We are quite excited with the new Metro which will be in full operation sometime in 2014. Out current bus system can not handle the almost 800,000 people who travel to and from work every day. We need those trains badly.

    I’m sorry you are having a rough time. Hope all works okay for you and soon you will be happy as a bird in a very short time. I’ve been reading your blog posts, and let me tell you, they are terrific. You are a natural-born writer. Believe me.

    Thank you for remembering this blogger from a tiny country called Panama.


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