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Argentina buys Chinese cars as part of railway overhaul

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Argentina has agreed to buy 81 train cars from China CNR Corporation Limited to renew the fleet of the Belgrano Sur line as part of a major overhaul of the railway system after a series of accidents causing public anger towards the government, due to problems in the services and low investments. Interior and transport minister Florencio Randazzo announced the acquisition of the diesel train cars in Beijing after a meeting with representatives of CNR and said they will be delivered in 2015. Randazzo added the government will open an auction between Chinese state railway companies to buy another 96 diesel train cars for its metropolitan lines Sarmiento and Mitre. Argentina also secured US$2.47bn in financing from China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for freight and passenger train cars, and infrastructure. In recent weeks, Argentina has taken over the control of cargo railway system Belgrano Cargas and passenger railway lines Roca, San Martín, Belgrano Sur, Sarmiento and Mitre, which every day transport tens of thousands of people in and out of Buenos Aires. These actions are part of a major overhaul the government is making to the railway system, which includes cancelling concessions after a series of crashes and other incidents. In June, three people died and over 150 were injured as two trains moving in the same direction collided in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Last year, 51 died and 700 ended up injured when a train crashed as it arrived to a terminal station in Buenos Aires. Argentines have blamed the government for the lack of investment in the railway system and the poor service that several of the private companies in charge of the concessions provide. The government has been trying to reestablish safe commuting conditions along the city's suburban train lines focusing on renewing the fleet, and revamping signaling equipment and procedures. In January, it announced a 4.9bn-peso (US$975mn) revamping plan for the Sarmiento and Mitre lines, including a complete renewal of the rolling stock by importing 409 train cars, which are expected to arrive in early 2014.

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