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Rail transport in Costa Rica is primarily under the stewardship of Incofer (Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles), an autonomous institution of the state. Incofer owns the national railway infrastructure and operates virtually all freight and passenger services, which consist primarily of commuter trains through the highly populated Central Valley. The whole Incofer network is 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow gauge, although there are several small tourist railways of other gauges.[ citation needed ]
Unfortunately, much of the railway system requires major repairs.An August 2016 OECD report provided this summary about the infrastructure, including the railways: "The road network is extensive but of poor quality, railways are in disrepair and only slowly being reactivated after having been shut down in the 1990s ... Internal transportation overly relies on private road vehicles as the public transport system, especially railways, is inadequate."
In 1871, construction was started on a railroad from Alajuela to Puerto Limón, via San José, on the Caribbean coast; the project was initiated by the government of General Tomás Guardia Gutiérrez and was surveyed in 1868 by the British civil engineer Edmund Wragge. The railroad from Alajuela to San José was completed by the beginning of 1873 and later continued until Cartago. Materials and equipment were brought into Alajuela from Puntarenas by oxen-powered carts. Due to a shortage of finances and natural obstacles (especially around Río Sucio), the construction of the remaining sections was delayed, and the entire line did not become operational until December 7, 1890.
A contract for the building of the Pacific Railroad was signed in 1897, but again, the enterprise faced natural, financial and political difficulties. The Pacific Railroad was officially launched on July 23, 1910, when the first Pennsylvania-built steam locomotive, María Cecilia, named after the granddaughter of former President Rafael Iglesias, departed from Puntarenas to San José with passengers and cargo.
The transcontinental railway from Limon to Puntarenas became operational in 1910 and was central for the connection of the various fertile regions of the country, as well as linking Nicaraguan and Panamanian railways.The route followed the Atlantic coast until the small port of Matina, before it passed inland to Reventazón River. From there, it bifurcated to cross the northern mountains, with one branch going north of Irazú and the other traversing the Ochomogo Pass. At San José, these lines reunited and the railway continued onto Alajuela, the small Pacific port of Tivives and Puntarenas. The railroad was jointly owned by the state and the Costa Rica railway company, with the latter behind the 1904 arrangement to build several branch lines through the banana districts of the Atlantic littoral.
In 1926, a decision was made to electrify the lines, and the first electric train ran from San José to Puntarenas on April 8, 1930.
The Costa Rican railroad network was damaged during an earthquake in 1991and its operation was suspended in 1995. Since 2000, Incofer has been working to recommence and popularize rail transport again.
Henry Meiggs Keith, an American hired by the Costa Rican government, was in charge of railroad construction to the Atlantic Ocean. Keith insisted on utilizing "black" (later known as Afro-American) workers for clearing the forest and building the railroad tracks, and in 1872 the first group of Jamaicans entered the country. These Jamaicans and their descendants would become the main inhabitants of the region, thereby establishing a culture that was unique within Costa Rica. Two large Jamaican migrations occurred; firstly, during the railroad construction era, and then in the next century, for the banana plantations owned by the United Standard Fruit Company.
Groups of Italian workers were hired to work in the construction of the Costa Rica's railways in the first years of the 20th century. Some of them remained to live in Costa Rica and a few of their descendants moved to the San Vito area in the mid 1950s. These agricultural colonists had to confront many problems, especially due to the isolation of this region. Nevertheless, from 1964 on, the production of coffee caused the outlook to change for the better: 500 Italian colonists and many Costa Ricans (someone descendants from the Italian rail workers) from different parts of the country were attracted by the economic possibilities that the area offered.
Although it once connected the Caribbean ports of Limon and Moin with the Pacific port of Caldera, traversing the Central Valley area and Costa Rica's largest cities along the route, the system fell into disrepair towards the end of the 20th century following a financial crisis that saw the President of Costa Rica, José María Figueres, order the cessation of Incofer's commercial activity, resulting in the redundancies of most of its workforce except for a select few who were charged with preserving railway assets.
However, operations were never fully suspended, and there was always at least the occasional freight and maintenance traffic along certain parts of the network. Some other parts, on the other hand, were essentially abandoned until 2005 when urban passenger services were reintroduced along a corridor between the suburbs of Pavas, to the west of San José, and San Pedro, to the east. Since then, services have been greatly increased following investment in second-hand DMUs imported from Spain and the rehabilitation of dozens of kilometres of previously inoperative track. As of May 2014 [update] , the bulk of railway operations occur in the Central Valley area and consist of passenger services between the San José suburbs of Pavas, Curridabat and Belen, and between San José and the cities of Heredia and Cartago. Work is now[ when? ] under way to rehabilitate further sections beyond these main termini, such as between Heredia and Alajuela, and from Cartago to Paraiso, in order to extend the existing services.
Trains (particularly freight trains, as well as a privately operated tour train) ran between San José and the port of Caldera until 2011, when a short section of the line was compromised following the construction of Route 27. This prompted a dispute between Incofer and the highway developer, Autopistas del Sol. This dispute has not yet[ when? ] been resolved and Incofer officials have been quoted as saying that while they are technically able to run trains over the damaged section, it is dangerous to do so. Unfortunately, the resulting lack of regular traffic on this line has facilitated the theft of rails.
Visitors to Costa Rica may perceive the railway as being somewhat limited compared to other forms of transport, due to the current lack of anything except a basic commuter service.
While mainly freight lines, there were passenger services to the Pacific since 1910 and to the Caribbean since 1890from San José, but these were abandoned and under maintained. Only the remnants of the urban areas remain.
By reconditioning and restoring the railway tracks in the Greater Metropolitan Area, Incofer was able to put into work a commuter line, the Tren Interurbano, which connects the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago.
There was a railway connection in the Caribbean over the Sixaola River between Panama and Costa Rica. The bridge collapsed in 2017.In 2018, China donated to Panama a factibility plan to open a high speed train between Panama and Costa Rica, but by 2019, the plan was rejected.
As of 2020 there are no current or planned connections to Panama or Nicaragua.
There are plans and studies regarding the construction of an inter-oceanic dry canal (Spanish : Canal Seco Interoceánico) across the country, from the Caribbean sea to the Pacific ocean, through the northern plains of the country, in a similar and parallel route to the Route 4 road. The main way of merchandise transportation would be using railroad to transport container, with plans to build ten road lanes alongside the railroad tracks, two new ports on each coast terminus.
On April 2020 the National Concessions Council (Spanish : Consejo Nacional de Concesiones, CNC) rejected and archived the plans for the dry canal.
There are very few private railways, in small loops.
At the Hotel Los Héroes in Nuevo Arenal, Tilarán Canton (Guanacaste Province), a Swiss hotelier has built a mountain railway for the guests of his panorama restaurant, Pequeña Helvecia (little Switzerland). The rolling stock had been originally used by a Swiss farmer from Chéseaux, who built a 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) field railway but never got a permission to run it. The hotelier bought it in 1999 and put in operation in 2000 as a tourist attraction under the name "Tren Turistico Arenal". As of 2004 and 2017 [update] , it is 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long, with an elevation of 200 m (660 ft) and two tunnels. [ circular reference ]
Built in the 1970s, this is a small 1.2 kilometer loop railroad with a diesel engine and three passenger cars for family entertainment purposes inside the club. It was built by engineers that previously worked on the rail to the Pacific.
There are many modes of transport in Costa Rica but the country's infrastructure has suffered from a lack of maintenance and new investment. There is an extensive road system of more than 30,000 kilometers, although much of it is in disrepair; this also applies to ports, railways and water delivery systems. According to a 2016 U.S. government report, investment from China which attempted to improve the infrastructure found the "projects stalled by bureaucratic and legal concerns".
Juan Primitivo Próspero Fernández Oreamuno was President of Costa Rica from 1882 to 1885.
Alajuela is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north. It also borders the provinces of Heredia to the east, San José to the south, Puntarenas to the southwest and Guanacaste to the west. As of 2011, the province had a population of 885,571. Alajuela is composed of 16 cantons, which are divided into 111 districts. It covers an area of 9,757.53 square kilometers.
Cartago, which means Carthage in Spanish, is a province of central Costa Rica. It is one of the smallest provinces, however probably the richest of the Spanish Colonial era sites and traditions.
Puntarenas is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the western part of the country, covering most of Costa Rica's Pacific Ocean coast, and it is the largest province in Costa Rica. Clockwise from the northwest it borders on the provinces Guanacaste, Alajuela, San José and Limón, and the neighbouring country of Panama.
San José is a province of Costa Rica. It is located in the central part of the country, and borders the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, Limón, Cartago and Puntarenas. The provincial and national capital is San José. The province covers an area of 4,965.9 km². and has a population of 1,404,242.
Juan Santamaría International Airport is the primary airport serving San José, the capital of Costa Rica. The airport is located in the city of Alajuela, 20 km west of downtown San José. It is named after Costa Rica's national hero, Juan Santamaría, a courageous drummer boy who died in 1856 defending his country against forces led by US-American filibuster William Walker.
The Costa Rica Institute of Technology,, also known as "ITCR" or "TEC", is a university in Costa Rica specializing in engineering and advance science and research, its main campus is located in Cartago, Costa Rica.
The Catholic Church in Costa Rica is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are approximately 3.2 million Catholics in Costa Rica - 76% of the total population. The country is divided into eight dioceses and one archdiocese:
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San José de Costa Rica is a Metropolitan Archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses are Alajuela, Cartago, Ciudad Quesada, Limón, Puntarenas, San Isidro de El General and Tilarán. The see was elevated to an archdiocese on 16 February 1921.
Rail transport in Central America consists of several isolated railroad lines with freight or passenger service. The most famous one is the Panama Canal Railway, the oldest transcontinental railroad in the world, connecting Panama City with Colón since 1855. Other railroads in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama were built by private and public investors mainly to facilitate the transport of local agricultural produce to export markets and harbors. Their market share and profitability went into decline in the second half of the twentieth century and most lines have been decommissioned by the end of the 1990s. As of 2018, railroads operate locally in Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama only; all rail transport has been suspended in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The railways still operating do not cross national borders.
San Ramón is a district in the canton of San Ramón in Alajuela Province in Costa Rica. The central municipality (distrito) of San Ramón covers an area of 1.29 km2, and has a population of 10,710. Together with adjoining distritos conforms what colloquially is known as Ciudad de San Ramón, however cities are no longer a valid administrative division in Costa Rica, by municipal codex law 7794 of April 30, 1998.
Tourism in Costa Rica has been one of the fastest growing economic sectors of the country and by 1995 became the largest foreign exchange earner. Since 1999, tourism has earned more foreign exchange than bananas, pineapples and coffee exports combined. The tourism boom began in 1987, with the number of visitors up from 329,000 in 1988, through 1.03 million in 1999, over 2 million in 2008, to a historical record of 2.66 million foreign visitors in 2015. In 2012, tourism contributed with 12.5% of the country's GDP and it was responsible for 11.7% of direct and indirect employment. In 2009, tourism attracted 17% of foreign direct investment inflows, and 13% in average between 2000 and 2009. In 2010, the tourism industry was responsible for 21.2% of foreign exchange generated by all exports. According to a 2007 report by ECLAC, tourism contributed to a reduction in poverty of 3% in the country.
Afro-Costa Ricans are Costa Ricans of African ancestry.
The Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica, consisting of the Bishops of Costa Rica, is a permanent institution, with the approval of the Holy See, to signify the collegial spirit and live, study and solve problems together ecclesial interest collaboration, and promote the greater good which the Church seeks to humanity, through the various means and modes of ministry approved by the Church. Its history dates back to the Bull Praedecessorum, Benedict XV, February 16, 1921, erected the ecclesiastical province of Costa Rica. The bishops of the Episcopal Conference members are in charge of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of San José and the Diocese of Cartago, Alajuela, San Isidro del General, Ciudad Quesada, Tilarán, Puntarenas and Limón.
Caldera Port, in Spanish Puerto Caldera, is the main freight port in the Pacific side of Costa Rica, located in the Esparza canton of the Puntarenas province.
Atlántico railway station is a railway station and historic building located in San José, Costa Rica, declared as Architectural Patrimony of Costa Rica by decree 11664-C of 29 July 1980.
Interurbano Line, is a commuter railway line in Costa Rica, operated by the national public railway operator Incofer. The line connects the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia, San José and Cartago.
Heredia railway station is a staffed train station, managed by Incofer, located in the Heredia province of Costa Rica
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