China-Argentina cooperation guarantees smooth rail services amid pandemic

2020-11-18 14:00

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BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Three major railways' smooth commuter services for dwellers of the capital city and its vicinity in Argentina did not stagger amid months of strict lockdown, thanks to hands-on support provided by a multinational tech team.

The lockdown which has come into force since March has brought challenges to many of the essential workers who relied on public transport for commuting across Buenos Aires.

However, these measures did not impede the operation of the Roca, Mitre and Sarmiento electric railway lines, which link the capital Buenos Aires respectively with its south, west and north outlying areas.

A team of 21 engineers and technicians from China's CRRC Sifang, together with their Argentine colleagues, has played a crucial role in ensuring unobstructed operation of the three arteries.

The Chinese squad inspects and maintains the bogies, electrical components, brakes and other high-tech features such as computerized safety systems of the 709 electric railcars in Llavallol, some 33 km south of Buenos Aires.

They have also launched technical training workshops in Llavallol to bring their Argentine counterparts up to speed on railcar maintenance of the three passenger rail lines.

The Roca rail line which transports 600,000 passengers daily has become one of the major rail arteries in Argentina, CRRC Sifang's Argentina after-sales service manager Yu Feng recently said.

The Chinese experts abided by new health and hygiene rules and managed to provide remote technical assistance to their Argentine colleagues.

"(What we have been doing) amid the pandemic is to work through calls, video calls and emails. We were always available to provide the service on all three lines," Yu told Xinhua at the workshops.

When circumstances allowed, the engineers and technicians under authorization would arrive at the train yards in time to work hand-in-hand with their Argentine colleagues fixing technical problems, Yu said.

"Once we were notified of any failure, we went to the yards. We also requested transit permits to guarantee the normal service of the lines free of charge," said Yu.

Since 2014, Argentina has incorporated some 500 Chinese-made electric railcars to the Roca line while working on refurbishing railcars of the Mitre and Sarmiento lines.

The new trains boast automatic brake systems, air conditioning facilities, security cameras, spaces designed for people with reduced mobility, and other features.
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