Jump to content
Moderator_02

On The Subject of China Building a Rail Link From Panama City to Chiriquí

Recommended Posts

Keith, Two sailors,

Education and Health surely are more important, let’s hope someone figures that out soon.  As far as the bus route cost, I took it to mean the cost of the permit plus the cost of a new bus to fulfil the obligation.  But, there again, I have been tricked once or twice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. I’m beginning to think this train thing may actually happen, but if so would it be in my lifetime?

I like trains. The longest trip I’ve ever done by train was 3.5 days all the way across Australia — Perth to Sydney. What a pleasure it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I  don't see how this is anything more than a fantasy. California has been unable to make any significant progress on their high speed rail connecting the huge populations of San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

How on earth would it make any  economic sense to build one to a city of 150,000?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Uncle Doug said:

How on earth would it make any  economic sense to build one to a city of 150,000?

There are plenty of people enamoured with anything China claims to be behind. Sound economics don’t matter to them  

Lots of them would also “like to see a high speed train to Panama City” much like I would like to fly/drive a “helicopter/motorcyle” over the mountains to Bocas. 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Uncle Doug said:

How on earth would it make any  economic sense to build one to a city of 150,000?

It doesn’t have to. The Chinese are the world’s latest Economic Hitmen buying support as required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Uncle Doug said:

 

How on earth would it make any  economic sense to build one to a city of 150,000?

I'd take it once every year or so.  If others are like me, they will get 20 people a day on the train.   Are there people dying to get to PC faster than the bus? Lower than the plane fare? Those two choices, available now, have empty seats on both buses and airplanes currently. They both carry a lot less people than a train of any length, don't they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Judging by the video, I suspect they also envision cargo shipping to facilitate the movement of goods from China through Panama to points further north..

Certainly having less bus and tractor trailers on the highway would be a positive.

The commuter flights to Panama City in Air Panama’s old Fokkers in the mornings and late afternoons are almost always full.

 

Edited by Keith Woolford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Uncle Doug said:

I  don't see how this is anything more than a fantasy. California has been unable to make any significant progress on their high speed rail connecting the huge populations of San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

How on earth would it make any  economic sense to build one to a city of 150,000?

I agree with you that this just doesn't seem to be able to pass a typical short-term ROI test. However, I lived in Hong Kong for three years while on assignment, and also spent a lot of time inside China during those three years. I learned that the Chinese are long-term thinkers and planners, rather than short-term ROI people to the same degree as the USA. By "long-term" I refer not to 5 or 10 years, but maybe several decades into the future.

It will be interesting to see if this project comes to fruition, and if so, what the real intentions/goals of such a large investment by China may be. My current think is:

  • increased trade in Central and South America,
  • sources of food and natural resources for the Chinese,
  • outlets for Chinese products (and services?) of all kinds, and
  • increasing influence in the Americas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have the history of the Chiriqui railroad that linked Puerto Armuelles with Boquete. It had a good 30-year run based on moving agricultural produce to port, plus a couple of passenger trains per day. When the road was built allowing buses and trucks to offer greater speed, frequency, and flexibility, the railroad died. This is a microcosm of what has also happened in the USA.

Railroads are required to build and maintain their rights-of-way, including crossings. Taxpayers pay for roads and airport runways. Unless that difference were to change, rail would seem to face an unsurmountable handicap.

Passenger rail in Europe works only because of taxpayer subsidies or direct government ownership. Huge "unit trains" move coal, iron ore, grain in the US, and crude oil in Kazakhstan only because rail has an advantage for moving those volume/weight extremes.

I find it difficult to imagine either of large commodity movements in Central America, or local taxpayer funding of railroads. I believe the feasibility study will come to a negative conclusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the "New Silk Road" initiative by China. It's a long-term strategy to project power globally. It is almost certainly inevitable that China will surpass the US as a global power this century.  With four times the population and the most rapid modernization program in world history, the demographics dictate that outcome.

Controlling transportation networks all around the Pacific Rim would obviously benefit China in the long run. China achieved  a huge diplomatic victory by convincing President Varela to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Perhaps this railway was Varela's price.

This train makes no economic sense today. It might make a lot of sense by 2080 if it connects Chile to Mexico. 

Bud is absolutely right that the Chinese play the long game and are patient enough to achieve their goals slowly so long as it makes achieving them inevitable. 

The Chinese will have to subsidize the railway for years, just like the US spends on Amtrak. But if the Chinese view this as a strategic global power investment rather than a normal economic investment a private company would consider, I suppose it could make sense from their perspective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Panama-Chiriqui train link “soon a reality” – Varela

rail-route-620x264.png
Post Views: 337
 
The construction of a railway line linking Panama City with David in Chiriqui will bring contributions in tourism and economic benefits to the province of Chiriquí said President Juan Carlos Varela after flying over the proposed route with engineers from a Chinese company preparing a feasibility study.

Speaking  at the opening of the  63rd International David Fair Varela said: “Without a doubt, it is a very simple and achievable project  based on the cost per kilometer.”

Varela said he flew over the area with four engineers from the Chinese company Railway Desing. Which has been involved in major line constructions around the world. .”It will soon be a reality for all the Chiricans and for all of Panama,”  he said

Now, it is up to Desing to present the feasibility plan and the right track.

The people in charge of the study have already “clearly” identified the exits and stops that would be made, said Varela.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-chiriqui-train-link-soon-a-reality-varela

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Commission set for Panama-Chiriqui rail link

cabinet-china.jpg 
The cabinet met with China delegation in December 2017
Post Views: 203
 
Panama’s dream of linking the capital city with Chiriqui has moved closer to reality with the  Panama Government announcing the creation of the “High-Level Commission of the Panama-Chiriquí Railway Project”.

It  will act as liaison with the entities designated by the Government of China to coordinate everything related to the feasibility study of the construction project

The move came through an executive decree carrying  the signatures  of President Juan Carlos Varela and Minister of the Presidency, Álvaro Alemán,

The commission will be attached to the Ministry of the Presidency.

In December 2017 the Cabinet received a visit from a delegation from the Chinese government to continue with the feasibility study of the railway project.

It is part of a long-term China plan to link South America with the north as it has done with the China Europe link.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-4/commission-set-for-panama-chiriqui-rail-link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Moderator_02 said:

It is part of a long-term China plan to link South America with the north as it has done with the China Europe link.

China is very smart! While the US is involved in too many conflicts in the middle east and Africa and who knows where else.

A train that goes from Chile to Mexico. Great way for China to tap into the continents natural resources and send by train to the canal and ship to China. Pretty brilliant strategy. While the US is preoccupied with military excursions and a  crumbling political mess.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201712291060418377-china-railway-diplomacy/

Edited by TwoSailors
Added link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, TwoSailors said:

China is very smart! While the US is involved in too many conflicts in the middle east and Africa and who knows where else.

A train that goes from Chile to Mexico. Great way for China to tap into the continents natural resources and send by train to the canal and ship to China. Pretty brilliant strategy. While the US is preoccupied with military excursions and a  crumbling political mess.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201712291060418377-china-railway-diplomacy/

 

You wrote:

 

"A train that goes from Chile to Mexico."

 

I didn't see any mention of a railway between Panama and Colombia which would be required.  For two decades China has been begging Panama to allow them to build both a road and a railway through the Darien to Colombia to facilitate their enormous amount of trade that traverses the canal destined for Colombia, Brazil, etc.  Panama has consistently refused stating that they don't want that border to look like the US/Mexican border.

 

I'm sure both the airline and marine industries would be against it too.

 

It would be great for us budget minded travelers though.  Imagine hopping on a bus in Panama City for say $15 destined for Cali, Medellin, or Cartagena?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Siempre Soluciones said:

A train that goes from Chile to Mexico."

 

I didn't see any mention of a railway between Panama and Colombia which would be required. 

IMO: Just a matter of time and definitely not in our lifetime. But if anyone can do it, it is China. They got the money and think to the next 100 years, not the next fiscal quarter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TwoSailors said:

IMO: Just a matter of time and definitely not in our lifetime. But if anyone can do it, it is China. They got the money and think to the next 100 years, not the next fiscal quarter.

It will be an undertaking not unlike the building of the canal itself. It's my understanding that the Darien is virtually impenetrable in large part. And that's before you consider the mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit. I pity the poor workers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems like a huge project but it is not. Train routes are easier and quicker to build than super highways. As a matter of fact, they have been building these rail lines in Europe going from country to country for years through mountains and coastal areas. Japan and China do these projects with ease-----they are equipped and have the technology to get the job done. This line will be short compared to most rail lines in country to country travel. It will be under 500 miles to Costa Rica.

Edited by Hil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But WHY is it planned to go to the Costa Rica border?  What is there that needs a rail line?  I’m guessing that this is intended to be part of the new silk road.  Next will be pressure to push it through the Darien, with obvious results. Unless this is a line for moving goods, it makes absolutely no sense from a commercial standpoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/23/2018 at 12:09 PM, Siempre Soluciones said:

For two decades China has been begging Panama to allow them to build both a road and a railway through the Darien to Colombia to facilitate their enormous amount of trade that traverses the canal destined for Colombia, Brazil, etc.  Panama has consistently refused stating that they don't want that border to look like the US/Mexican border.

Sources for those statements?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Keith Woolford said:

Sources for those statements?

 

 

Search on:

 

china road OR railway OR train OR trains "darien gap"

 

There are thousands of articles on this subject.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, JohnF13 said:

But WHY is it planned to go to the Costa Rica border?  What is there that needs a rail line?  I’m guessing that this is intended to be part of the new silk road.  Next will be pressure to push it through the Darien, with obvious results. Unless this is a line for moving goods, it makes absolutely no sense from a commercial standpoint.

 

Shipping containers from the canal destined for Costa Rica could be picked up a lot easier at the border instead of requiring truckers to enter Panama and vice versa.

 

Even shipments beyond Costa Rica would be easier since the truckers would have one less country to deal with.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hil said:

This seems like a huge project but it is not. Train routes are easier and quicker to build than super highways. As a matter of fact, they have been building these rail lines in Europe going from country to country for years through mountains and coastal areas. Japan and China do these projects with ease-----they are equipped and have the technology to get the job done. This line will be short compared to most rail lines in country to country travel. It will be under 500 miles to Costa Rica.

It can be built in the Darien. If Los Angeles can build an underground and elevated metro system in one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world building a train route through the Darien will be a cakewalk in comparison.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Metro_Rail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/25/2018 at 7:47 AM, TwoSailors said:

It can be built in the Darien. If Los Angeles can build an underground and elevated metro system in one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world building a train route through the Darien will be a cakewalk in comparison.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Metro_Rail

 

It's never really been about being able to, it's more about the social impact.  Look at the problems with the US/Mexico border crossings, Panama simply doesn't want to deal with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...