|Locale||Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||2 Metro lines
(+ 3 Metrocable lines)
|Number of stations||27 Metro stations
(+ 7 Metrocable stations)
|Daily ridership||465,387 (2011)|
|Began operation||30 November 1995|
|Operator(s)||Metro de Medellín|
|Number of vehicles||55|
|System length||31.3 km (19.4 mi)
40.7 km (25.3 mi) (w/ Metrocable)
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The Medellín Metro (Spanish: Metro de Medellín) is an urban train that crosses the Metropolitan Area of Medellín from North to South and from Centre to West. It first opened for service on 30 November 1995. As one of the first experiences of modern mass transportation in Colombia and the only metro system in the country, the Medellín Metro is a product of the urban planning of the Antioquia department of Colombia.
The city of Medellín and its urban complex (ten cities in the Aburrá Valley) had a relatively recent industrial development that started in the 1930s. The streetcar (tranvía) at the beginning of the 20th century can be considered as predecessor of the 21st century Medellín Metro. The company known in Spanish as Empresa de Transporte Masivo del Valle de Aburrá - Metro de Medellín Ltda was created on 31 May 1979.
The railway history of Colombia and Antioquia has not been indifferent to the industrialization process that started at the end of the 19th Century and that only has been restrained by the social and political conflicts of this South American nation.
The Antioquia Department and the Paisa Region in general, owe their progress to the construction of railways that had put them in direct contact with the rest of the country (especially with Bogotá, Cali and the Colombian Caribbean Littoral).
Although the famous Antioquia Railway came to a decline and it is now only remembered by the so-called towns of the train, an urban railway system received the attention of the region. In the same way the Antioquia’s Railways did a century ago, the Medellín Metro became an important social, cultural and development axis in one of the most important cities of Colombia and South America.
The city's speedy urban growth, especially since the 1960s, has filled the entire Aburrá Valley and made towns touch its borders: Bello, Copacabana, Girardota, Barbosa, Envigado, Itagüí, San Antonio de Prado, La Estrella, Sabaneta and Caldas, among others. The city's growth to among the most important in the national economy compelled local leaders to imagine it no more as a provincial town, but rather as a complex urban system comparable with that of any industrialized city in the world.
In the same sense, Medellín and its Metropolitan Area had to face the appearance of the Cartels during the 1970s producing serious problems of urban violence, exacerbated by speedy urban growth and the slow answers to the needs of the surrounding communities. The city grew due to big migration waves coming from the Colombian countryside looking for refuge from internal political conflict. That was the main background that would explain how a young city would face urban violence with the same intensity of big metropolitan areas such as New York City, México or Rio de Janeiro and why the city had to create urban projects in answer to its conflicts and growth. The Medellín Metro was created not only as a massive urban transport for the worker classes of the city, but also as an important cultural symbol that would help to develop marginalized sectors. The Metro would change the concept of public space in a city built for business and factories, but that did not have space for things like tourism as a systematic issue.
As a company, the Medellín Metro was created for the administration and operation of the Metro system. It was founded with the association of the Medellín Municipality and the Antioquia Government. In 1979, research on economical and technical possibilities began, performed by the company Mott, Hay and Anderson Ltda.
In 1980 the Project was presented to the National Government and it was approved by the National Counsel of Economical and Social Policies in 1982. It was also authorized to the company the external contract of 100% of the required resources for the work. In 1984 the company subcontracted German and Spanish firms.
The citizens soon welcomed the new service and the social and cultural impact was significant. The Medellín Metro soon became a symbol of the city (it was the first, and still the only, rail-based Metro system in Colombia) which encouraged tourism and new business growth areas in the city. There were visitors first from other regions and cities of Colombia and afterwards from abroad. Importantly, the metro bridged previously disparate “Poor city” and the “Rich city” quarters, such as when the Metro crosses abysmal social walls between districts "Lovaina" and "Poblado".
Commuters saw a vast improvement in transit times: previously workers from Bello spent two hours by bus going to Envigado. With the Metro, travel times between those two cities was shortened to just 30 minutes.
The Medellín Metro currently comprises two lines: Line A, which is 25.8 kilometres (16.0 mi) long and serves 21 stations, and Line B, which is 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) long and serves 6 stations (plus San Antonio station, the transfer station with Line A).
Additionally, the aerial cable car system, Metrocable, which supplements the Metro system, comprises three lines: Line J with 3 stations (plus the one transfer station with Metro Line B), Line K with 3 stations (plus one transfer station with Line L), and Line L with one station (plus the one transfer station with Line K).
As of 2013[update], there are 27 Metro stations and 7 Metrocable stations in the Medellín network, all listed in the following table; transfer stations are in bold, and the transfer station between Metro Lines A and B is shown in bold-italic:
North to South
25.8 km (16.0 mi)
Center to West
5.5 km (3.4 mi)
West to Northwest
2.7 km (1.7 mi)
North to Northeast
2.1 km (1.3 mi)
Northeast to far Northeast
4.6 km (2.9 mi)
On 7 August 2004, the city inaugurated a new line known as "Metro Cable" (Line K). The line starts in the Acevedo Station and goes to the up hill district of Santo Domingo Savio. This important addition integrated new additions to the city that since the 1960s that previously were not considered part of the "real city".
Along the elevated track, the Medellín Metro has created public and cultural spaces: squares, restaurants, parks, recreational places, cultural areas, business sites, giving a new vision to the second largest Colombian city.
On 3 March 2008, a second "Metro Cable" line (Line J) was inaugurated. The line starts in the San Javier Station and goes through Juan XXIII and Vallejuelos to the La Aurora district. This new line benefits approximately 150,000 new users.
A new Metrocable line (line L) was inaugurated in 2009 with a transfer station at Santo Domingo Savio Station. This line continues further uphill to El Tambo in Arví park near Guarne. The reason for constructing this line is because the city wants to promote tourism in the rural area near Lake Guarne. It takes 14 minutes to ascend to El Tambo and there are no intermediate stations.
Line A extension
Line A was expanded from Itagüí to La Estrella, in the south of the metropolitan area. A new intermediate station, Sabaneta, built near 67th South Street, was opened on 5 August 2012 and the final station, La Estrella, was built near 77th South Street and opened on 17 September 2012.
In 2009, the Medellín Metro ordered 12 three-car trainsets from CAF to supplement its existing fleet of 42 trainsets. An option for 3 more 3-car trainsets was exercised from CAF by Medellín Metro in January 2014, and an order for an additional 20 three-car CAF trainsets was ordered in July 2015.
- "Mapa esquemático" [Schematic map] (pdf) (in Spanish). Metro de Medellín. Retrieved 15 January 2016 – via https://www.metrodemedellin.gov.co/Viajeconnosotros/Mapas.aspx.
- "Datos del sistema" [System data] (jpg) (in Spanish). Metro de Medellín. Retrieved 15 January 2016 – via https://www.metrodemedellin.gov.co/Viajeconnosotros/Mapas.aspx.
- "Historia" [History] (in Spanish). Metro de Medellín. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "Metrocable - Metrocable Lines". Metro de Medellín. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "ESTE DOMINGO 5 DE AGOSTO INICIA LA OPERACIÓN COMERCIAL HASTA LA NUEVA ESTACIÓN SABANETA" (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "ESTE LUNES 17 DE SEPTIEMBRE EL METRO INAUGURARÁ LA EXTENSIÓN AL SUR" (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "Medellín orders CAF metro trains". Railway Gazette International. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- "Medellín metro orders more CAF cars". Railway Gazette International. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
Media related to Medellín Metro at Wikimedia Commons
- Metro de Medellín – official website (Spanish)
- Civica – official webpage of the AFC of Metro de Medellín (Spanish)
- Metro de Medellín at urbanrail.net (English)