Venezuela railways: planned mainly unbuilt sections of the railway network before 1999

The State Railways Institution (Spanish: "Instituto de Ferrocarriles del Estado", or IFE) is a state-run organization of Venezuela that manages the railway systems of the country. Its headquarters are located in Caracas, Venezuela.

According to the 1999 Constitution, its renovation is a national priority. The new infrastructure which has been added includes the first new above-ground train line constructed in Venezuela for more than 70 years, the Ezequiel Zamora Mass Transportation System. Named after the soldier Ezequiel Zamora, it was inaugurated on October 15, 2006, by President Hugo Chávez.


Historically, much of the original Venezuelan network was designed in the 19th century in the Federalist period and under the administration of Antonio Guzmán Blanco, in order to open up the country for trade and earn foreign revenues. However, the first licenses were signed and revoked nine times before the first stretch was operating.

The first lines connected Caracas to its port of La Guaira and then the Great Venezuela Railway to Valencia in the 1870s–80s. Notable engineers associated with its original development include: John Grover and Robert Fairlie. Some of the later lines were designed by William A. Welch and Thomas Kavanagh (Caracas subway).

Rail transport in Venezuela was neglected and went into a major decline from the 1950s, with bus and road transport taking its place, just Caracas maintaining its 51 km (32 mi) of subway system and local railway.

In 1975 was devised by the "Instituto Ferrocarriles del Estado" (IFE) a National Plan Ferrocarrilero[1] that began in Maracaibo and reached Barquisimeto-Puerto Cabello-Valencia-Caracas-Cua, following from Cua to Barcelona and Ciudad Bolivar-Ciudad Guayana. The company "Saprolate-Tranarg" made all aerial photographic surveys and the Plan was approved by the then President Luis Herrera Campins, but in the 1980s the Plan IFE was blocked for economic reasons after the devaluation of the Bolivar in 1983 and then was finally canceled with the Caracazo of 1989. Only the section Caracas-Cua was maintained as a budgeted project (and was made, being inaugurated in 2006 by President Hugo Chavez) .

The 1999 constitution was a signal for a major reinvestment in the infrastructure of the state. Much of the renovation of the current Venezuelan railway network is still at the planning stage, with some already constructed and the rest to be built over a period of about 30 years.

Railway network

Map based on IFE maps[2] of lines operating (purple), lines being restored (blue) and lines under construction (green) as at 2017

The Venezuelan network includes 682 km (424 mi) of rail in standard gauge.[3] The network covers the populated and production areas in the country, and is managed by IFE under various Regional Development Plans. There are also connections between Colombia and Brazil that link to the other countries of South America, although traffic in the border areas are affected by foreign policy and defence strategy.

IFE is the sole operator of trains in Venezuela, however, they have created various railway names assigned to different regions throughout the country.

Railway Branch Present Status Station Location
Ezequiel Zamora Capital Line

Caracas – El Sombrero (approx 150 km)

Passenger service on Venezuela's first electrified train line[4] between Caracas and Cúa (41 km) has been in operation since October 15, 2006.[5] Although short this trip passes through 24 tunnels with the longest being just under 6.8 km[6] Libertador Simón Bolívar Caracas beside the Caracas Metro La Rinconada station. Federal District
Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda North Charallave Miranda State
Don Simón Rodríguez South Charallave Miranda State
General Ezequiel Zamora Cúa Miranda State
Camatagua Aragua State
El Sombrero Guarico State
Puerto Cabello – La Encrucijada (approx. 108 km) Under construction and originally projected completion by before 2011[7] however there have been damage setbacks.[8] After years of slow progress[9] a small part of the line (San Diego-Guacara about 10 km) will be opened before the end of 2012.[10] The best optimistic estimate for 100% completion was sometime before 2015.[11] Presently 14 of 15 tunnels[12] (accumulated 28 km in length) have been completed with hope for the last one to be finished before end of 2012.[13] The longest built tunnel is just a smidgen under 7.8 km in length.

In 2016 the, "Puerto Cabello railway project, was described as irregular and marked by slow payments by the client as a result of the country’s poor economic conditions, mainly related to the drop in the price of oil."[14]

Puerto Cabello Puerto Cabello Carabobo State
Naguanagua Northern Valencia suburb Carabobo State
San Diego North-eastern Valencia suburb Carabobo State
Guacara Eastern Valencia suburb Carabobo State
San Joaquín San Joaquín Carabobo State
Mariara Mariara Carabobo State
Maracay Maracay Aragua State
Cagua Santa Crúz de Aragua[15] with station near Cagua, La Encrucijada and Turmero Aragua State
La Encrucijada – Cúa planning stage La Victoria La Victoria Aragua State
Las Tejerías Las Tejerías Aragua State
La Encrucijada – San Juan de Los Morros planning stage Villa de Cura Villa de Cura Aragua State
San Juan de Los Morros San Juan de Los Morros Guárico State
Simón Bolívar Puerto Cabello – Barquisimeto Trial runs between Barquisimeto and Yaritagua have been successful where passenger travel time between the 2 stations is completed in 30 minutes (34 km). Also currently freight trains run from Puerto Cabello to Barquisimeto (173 km).[16] Since the original plans for line and station renovation and modernization projected passenger travel by the end of 2010 have faltered, after considerable delay in construction, the best hope is that full service will be available in 2013.[17] An additional rail will be added between the Morón and Puerto Cabello Stations to serve the expected increase in rail traffic on the shared line.[18] Puerto Cabello Puerto Cabello Carabobo State
Morón Western Puerto Cabello Suburb Carabobo State
San Felipe San Felipe Yaracuy State
Urama Urama Yaracuy State
Chivacoa Chivacoa Yaracuy State
Yaritagua Yaritagua Yaracuy State
Barquisimeto Barquisimeto Lara State
Yaritagua – Acarigua – Turén Trial train runs have been successfully employed between Barquisimeto and Acarigua via Yaritagua and everyone awaits the inauguration for this 101 km service.[19] The travel time between Yaritagua and Acarigua is 40 minutes. As well an additional 44+ km line extension from Acarigua to Turén should be completed before the end of 2012.[20] Ruezga bridge in Barquisimeto is said to be planned for completion in 2017, allowing opening of the line.[21] Acarigua Acarigua Portuguesa State
Turén Turén Portuguesa State
Norte Occidental (North Western) Morón – Riecito only freight services Morón Morón Carabobo State
Tucacas Tucacas Falcón State
Yaracal Yaracal Falcón State
Riecito Riecito Falcón State
Yaracal – Punto Fijo planning stage Coro Coro Falcón State
Punto Fijo Punto Fijo Falcón State
Norte Llanero (Northern Plains) Maturín – Anaco planning stage Maturín Maturín Monagas State
Anaco Anaco Anzoátegui State
Anaco – Tinaco[22][23] This 468 km line is under construction for over 3 years, and expected completion by year-end 2012 has amounted to just less than 25% line completion.[24] So far the construction rate on 5 different work fronts has been slow or even delayed.[25] Aragua de Barcelona Anaco Anzoátegui State
Zaraza Zaraza Guárico State
Tucupito Tucupito Guárico State
Valle de la Pascua Valle de la Pascua Guárico State
Chaguaramos Chaguaramos Guárico State
El Sombrero El Sombrero Guárico State
Dos Caminos Dos Caminos Guárico State
El Pao El Pao Cojedes State
Tinaco Tinaco Cojedes State
Tinaco – Barinas planning stage San Carlos San Carlos Cojedes State
Acarigua Acarigua Portuguesa State
Guanare Guanare Portuguesa State
Sabaneta Sabaneta Barinas State
Barinas Barinas Barinas State
Barinas – San Cristobál planning stage Barinitas Barinitas Barinas State
San Rafael del Piñal San Rafael del Piñal Táchira State
San Cristóbal San Cristóbal State Táchira
Centro Sur (South Central) San Juan de Los Morros – San Fernando de Apure The original reconstruction and extension of this 252+ km line was to be completed by year-end 2011 for freight and passenger.[26] This project continues, however slow the main train authorities remain optimistic and emphatic that everything will be ready in 2012.[27] San Juan de Los Morros San Juan de Los Morros Guárico State
Ortíz[28] Ortíz Guárico State
Dos Caminos Dos Caminos Guárico State
Calabozo Calabozo Guárico State
Corozopando Corozopando Guárico State
Camaguán Camaguán Guárico State
San Fernando de Apure San Fernando de Apure Apure State
Chaguaramas – Caicara del Orinoco The original reconstruction and extension to be completed by year-end 2011 for freight and passenger went by without success. The first part of the line service from Chaguaramos to Cabruta some 201 km is scheduled to be completed by 2012.[29] The extended part that includes crossing on the 3rd bridge over the Orinoco River (this one is approx 8.7 km long and presently under construction) and connection to Caicara needs to have a defined date. Chaguaramas Chaguaramas Guárico State
Las Mercedes Las Mercedes Guárico State
El Mejo El Mejo Guárico State
Santa Rita Santa Rita Guárico State
Arrecife Arrecife Guárico State
Cabruta Cabruta Guárico State
Caicara del Orinoco Caicara del Orinoco Bolívar State
Oriental (Eastern) Guanta – Naricual abandoned line, under study for upgrade Guanta Guanta Anzoátegui State
Naricual Naricual
Ciudad Guayana – Manicaure under construction Puerto Ordaz Ciudad Guayana Este Bolívar State
Maturín Maturín Monagas State
Manicaure Manicaure Sucre State
Anaco – Cúa planning stage Anaco Anaco Anzoátegui State
Barcelona Barcelona Anzoátegui State
El José El José Anzoátegui State
Puerto Píritu Puerto Píritu Anzoátegui State
Higuerote Higuerote Miranda State
Cúa Cúa Miranda State
Occidental (Western) Maracaibo – Sabana de Mendoza planning stage, had symbolic laying of the first rail and project definition Maracaibo beside a Maracaibo Metro station Zulia State
El Tablazo El Tablazo Zulia State
Santa Rita Santa Rita Zulia State
Cabimas Cabimas Zulia State
Ciudad Ojeda Ciudad Ojeda Zulia State
Lagunillas Lagunillas Zulia State
Bachaquero Bachaquero Zulia State
Mene Grande Mene Grande Zulia State
Sabana de Mendoza Sabana de Mendoza Trujillo State
Sabana de Mendoza – Barquisimeto planning stage Carora Carora Lara State
Barquisimeto Barquisimeto Lara State
Encontrados – Machiques planning stage Encontrados Encontrados Zulia State
Machiques Machiques Zulia State
Machiques – Maracaibo – Puerto Las Américas planning stage Maracaibo Maracaibo Zulia State
Puerto Las Américas Puerto Las Américas Zulia State
Región Guayana (Guayana region) San Fernando – Tucupita planning stage San Fernando de Apure San Fernando de Apure Apure State
Cabruta Cabruta Gúarico State
Caicara Caicara Bolívar State
Ciudad Bolívar Ciudad Bolívar Bolívar State
Ciudad Guayana Puerto Ordaz Bolívar State
Tucupita Tucupita Delta Amacuro State
Caicara – Puerto Ayacucho planning stage Puerto Ayacucho Puerto Ayacucho Amazonas State
Caracas – La Guaira Caracas – La Guaira planning stage - In May 2007 a maglev train was proposed to link Caracas to La Guaira and Simón Bolívar International Airport. A route is being studied prior to obtaining funding.[30] Caracas La Rinconada Distrito Federal
Maiquetía Maiquetía (near the airport) Vargas State
La Guaira La Guaira by the seaport Vargas State
Recreacional (recreational) Parque Recreacional El Encanto Reconstruction for passenger service by end of 2012 Los Teques Los Teques Miranda State


Fully Updated

Caracas – Cúa branch

Train leaves General Ezequiel Zamora Station, Cúa.

After 70 years without major improvements to the Venezuelan railway system the first of an ambitious plan that proposes many new lines, in particular, the Caracas – Cúa one of many Tuy Valley cities a distance of 41 km (25 mi) was opened for public service on October 15, 2006.

The route is part of the Ezequiel Zamora railway axis starts from Caracas and ends in Cúa Miranda State. The main terminal is located next to the Caracas Metro (subway) line 3 La Rinconada Terminal Station. This short North-South line can be passenger travelled in approximately, 30 minutes, the following are the names of the 4 stations and the estimated travel time from Caracas and then the additional time to the next station. Also there is a delay time before the train restarts the trip which can be adjusted by management policy.

Station Location Travel Time Wait Time
Libertador Simón Bolívar Caracas Federal District
Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda North Charallave Miranda State 17 min 2 min
Don Simón Rodríguez South Charallave Miranda State 4 min 2 min
General Ezequiel Zamora Cúa Miranda State 10 min


Puerto Cabello – Yaritagua – Barquisimeto branch

The main branch of the Simón Bolívar railway axis is a 177 km (110 mi) east–west line where a full upgrade/restoration was planned with a projected completion date of 2010. This line connects Carabobo State, Yaracuy State and Lara State. The stations are as follows:

  • Puerto Cabello, Carabobo State;
  • Morón, Carabobo State;
  • San Felipe, Yaracuy State;
  • Urama, Yaracuy State;
  • Chivacoa, Yaracuy State;
  • Yaritagua, Yaracuy State and;
  • Barquisimeto, Lara State.

Yaritagua – Acarigua branch

Another branch of the Simón Bolívar railway axis is a 113 km (70 mi) north–south line connection between the Yaritagua, Yaracuy State, Acarigua, Portuguesa State where a full upgrade restoration is in progress.

San Juan de los Morros – San Fernando de Apure branch

A 252 km (157 mi) north–south line where a full upgrade/restoration was originally projected for completion by the end of 2010. This line was supposed to connect Guárico State and Apure State.


The railway provides both freight and passenger service.


Between Puerto Cabello and Barquisimeto movement of loads over 3 million tons per month have been exceeded.

Branch Period Frequency
Puerto Cabello – Barquisimeto Monday to Monday 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. twice daily


Cúa Station, Commuter short distance Train

As of July 16, 2007 passenger service is provided only between the stations on the Caracas – Cúa Branch. The following table shows the train schedule:

Branch Period Frequency
Caracas – Cúa Monday to Friday 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. every 20 minutes
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. every 30 minutes
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. every 20 minutes
Saturday and holidays 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. every hour

There is no Sunday service and all times are subject to change depending on special events, system improvements and the decisions the managers may make.


Work in progress

Puerto Cabello – La Encrucijada branch

Another part of the Ezequiel Zamora railway axis has 108 km (67 mi) under construction between the sea port city of Puerto Cabello, Carabobo State, and the crossroads town of La Encrucijada, Aragua State. The line is predominately east–west, although between the station at Naguanagua and the terminus at Puerto Cabello the route changes to a north–south direction.

14 tunnels including the 7.8 km (4.8 mi) Bárbula Tunnel (the longest in South America) and many bridges are required to connect between the various stations along this line. The project is behind schedule. In 2016 work on the Puerto Cabello railway was described as "irregular and marked by slow payments by the client as a result of the country’s poor economic conditions, mainly related to the drop in the price of oil." [31]

The new stations under construction are found in:

  • La Encrucijada, Aragua State; the hub in La Encrucijada will provide easy access to the users from Cagua, Aragua State.
  • Maracay, Aragua State;
  • Mariara, Carabobo State;
  • San Joaquín, Carabobo State
    • San Diego, Carabobo State*
    • Naguanagua, Carabobo State*
  • Puerto Cabello, Carabobo State

(*)These 2 are suburban cities of Valencia.

Chaguaramas – Las Mercedes – Cabruta – Caicara del Orinoco branch

Another branch north–south line 201 km (125 mi) found mainly in Guarico State that will cross the Orinoco River and enter the Bolívar State.

Maracaibo – Sabana de Mendoza branch

This 233 km (145 mi) will start in the capital city of Maracaibo Zulia State nearby the Maracaibo Metro (subway) station. The line will cross the mouth of Lake Maracaibo in a combination tunnel/bridge under construction in an east–west direction and after the El Tablazo stop the line follows a north-north-west to south-south-east direction. The stations are as follows:

Puerto Ordaz – Maturín – Manicuare branch

This 320 km (199 mi) route will start from Ciudad Guyana Bolívar State, the Puerto Ordaz section and cross the Orinoco River to go south–north to reach Maturín, Monagas State and continue till it reaches the Sucre State where the line will run east–west until it reaches the deep sea water port of Manicuare.

Acarigua – Turén branch

The completion of an extension of the Simón Bolívar railway axis is a 45 km (28 mi) north–south line connection between Acarigua, and Turén.

Tinaco – Anaco branch

The first phase 468 km (291 mi) is part of the North Llanero railway axis (northern plains) an east–west line that would provide service to the following cities/towns:

and work was to be completed by 2012.

As part of a National Rail Development Plan, the standard gauge Tinaco-Anaco railway,[32] was inaugurated with Chinese funding in 2009.[33]

About a fifth of the work had been done by 2012.[32] However, it appears construction stalled in 2013,[34] though the route remains on the State Railways Institution's map of railways under construction .[35]

Parque Recreacional - El Encanto branch

Railroad reconstruction, (July 21, 2007.

This 7 km long branch independent of all other rail systems is for recreational purposes only. Mainly is to provide entertainment for tourists, these enchanted sights must be viewed by all. Originally this summit section was part of the Great Venezuela Railway (180 km in length) built in 1909 and operated until after 1937. If all goes well this will be available to the public in 2012.

Work began in 2015 on a 350 million bolivar plan to restore the 7 km (4.3 mi) of track, with 7 tunnels and 5 bridges, to provide a 25-minute journey from Los Lagos to El Encanto.[36]

Planning/design stage

La Encrucijada – Cúa branch

The completion of the connection from La Encrucijada to the Tuy Valley will be made at a later date.

Sabana de Mendoza – Barquisimeto branch

A follow-up future east–west phase will connect Sabana de Mendoza with Barquisimeto Lara State.

San Juan de Los Morros – La Encrucijada branch

Future expansion includes a north–south connection between San Juan de Los Morros and La Encrucijada Station.

Anaco – Maturín branch

A separate phase for the North Llanero railway axis to be constructed at a later date will connect in an east–west direction Maturín Monagas State with Anaco Anzoátegui State.

Tinaco – San Cristóbal branch

The full 1,100 km (684 mi) route, the North Llanero railway axis will be completed at a later date and will add services among the additional following cities:

Caicara – Puerto Ayacucho branch

This north–south branch will connect Bolívar State to Amazonas State although a possible alternative would be to join San Fernando de Apure to Puerto Ayacucho.

San Fernando de Apure – Ciudad Bolívar – Ciudad Guayana – Tucupita branch

This east–west route will connect Apure State, Guarico State, Bolivar State, Anzoategui State, Monagas State and Delta Amacuro State. Also this line will have stops in Cabruta and Caicara.

Caracas – La Guaira branch

This dominately north–south route 50 km (31.1 mi) joining Federal District to Vargas State will provide access to and from Caracas and its International/National Airports and one of its major Seaports.

  • Caracas (La Rinconada)
  • Maiquetía Airport
  • La Guaira Seaport

completion of this line is expected within 5 years after fund approval.

There are no rail links to adjacent countries.

See also


  1. ^ "Map "Plan Ferrocarrilero 1975"".
  2. ^
  3. ^ Reference
  4. ^ "Rail: Caracas – Tuy Medio Electrification project". Archived from the original on 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
  5. ^ "Esto es Venezuela. Videos de". Esto es Venezuela.
  6. ^ Tunnel names and lengths - Spanish
  7. ^ Design, JPS Web. "Inelectra". Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  8. ^ "Damage setback". Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  9. ^ "Puerto Cabello-La Encrucijada Rail Line in Venezuela is 50% Complete - News".
  10. ^ "Tramo del ferrocarril Ezequiel Zamora: Puerto Cabello-La Encrucijada, iniciará pruebas a mediados de 2012 (+fotos y video) - Venezuela".
  11. ^ "Government Television (Spanish)". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05.
  12. ^ "Construction follows closely to Original Plans". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  13. ^ "IFE to complete Puerto Cabello-La Encrucijada railway by end-2012 - BNamericas". 8 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Salini Impregilo beats targets - KHL Group". Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  15. ^ /, AVN / Prensa MinCI. "Más de 13 mil kilómetros de vía férrea consolidan desarrollo productivo de la nación".
  16. ^ "Freight operation".[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Newspaper (Spanish)".
  18. ^ "Venezuela awards Italian consortium additional Puerto Cabello rail contract - Railway Technology". 14 November 2011.
  19. ^ /, VTV/AVN. "Chávez: Tramo ferroviario Barquisimeto-Yaritagua-Acarigua ya está listo".
  20. ^ Ife news
  21. ^ MippCI (2016-11-14). "Corpolara culminará puente ferroviario de Barquisimeto en el primer trimestre de 2017". VTV (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2017-01-08. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  22. ^ Anaco Tinaco (Spanish)
  23. ^ "Anaco Tinaco".
  24. ^ Progress (Spanish)
  25. ^ "Govt signs US$7.5bn contract to build Tinaco-Anaco rail stretch, install factories - BNamericas". 31 July 2009.
  26. ^ "Venezuela Tunnel News – ve/18, Railway –".
  27. ^ IFE Construction (Spanish)
  28. ^ Toro, Francisco. "Chávez's Great Train Robbery".
  29. ^ "Astaldi". 18 July 2016.
  30. ^ Work on a Venezuelan electromagnetic train could be started in two months (in Spanish) ABN 10 May 2007
  31. ^ Guthrie (2016). "Salini Impregilo beats targets - KHL Group". Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  32. ^ a b "Tinaco-Anaco Railway Line". Railway Technology. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  33. ^ "CCTV International". Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  34. ^ "Chinese bullet train in Venezuela stalls as alliance derails". The Big Story. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  35. ^ "The State Railways Institution (Instituto de Ferrocarriles del Estado, or IFE)". Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  36. ^ "Parque Recreacional El Encanto recuperará su atractivo turístico". Retrieved 2017-01-06.

External links

  • IFE Website (in Spanish)