Crisis and neglect in the Argentine railway system
The Once tragedy is part of a “critical scene railway,” both by the state it is in the infrastructure, such as operating conditions in which services are delivered.
Beyond the causes that provoked the accident and the proper role of the private concessionaire TBA, primarily responsible for the deficient state of the railways are national officials of the Government who are responsible for implementing transport policy.
Despite the “story” that highlights a millionaire official, and unverifiable, investment made since 2003, the reality is that the train line Sarmiento holds a strong technological backwardness and a long list of unfulfilled promises and works.
Because of the lack of investment and delays are the major works, today Sarmiento, continues to operate routes of the 50’s, with trains that are over 50 years of life and signaling systems and that border security obsolescence.
Of all the works scheduled for Sarmiento, the most emblematic and late, is that of the Underground. Was tendered in 2006. Bids will be opened in 2007. And the concession of the work was produced in 2008. According to the original schedule, the first stage between Caballito and Ciudadela should have been opened in 2011. Last September, after the tragedy of Flores, Planning Minister Julio De Vido and Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi had announced the commencement of work by year’s end. In December, De Vido’s announcement moved to February.
But so far the main work of excavation of the tunnel is only on paper
Other investment paralyzed, is the production of the 25 formations Double Deck, with which it would increase the transport capacity. Was awarded in 2006 with a deadline of five years. But bureaucratic delays and nondetermination of prices of the contract, only four trains have been built and there is no entry dates for the remaining 21.
On the side of the tracks, the renovation of the section Once-Castelar which began in 2008 is hampered by lack of payment and updating prices. It is also paralyzed “vandal perimeter fence” that was adjudicated in 2007 and should be ready in a year.
Only 60% took place, the rest was suspended due to budgetary problems.
A lack of resources for investment, government expenditures for subsidies tariff did not stop growing during the Kirchner administration. In 2011, subsidies to maintain frozen tickets on all trains in the metropolitan area exceeded $ 3,000 million (U$S 715M).
For TBA, the numbers exposed the strong economic distortion and extreme dependency of subsidies that have private operators of trains. In the past month, TBA raised from the sale of tickets at the Mitre and Sarmiento lines only $ 12.7 million (U$S 3 M). Instead, subsidies in that period came to a record 76.7 million pesos (U$S 18.2 million).
The train crash in Once in pictures
Photo Source: Puntal.com.ar
Video Source : C5N