Feature: Caracas Metro defies U.S. sanctions with homegrown technology

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-05 11:18:49|Editor: huaxia

CARACAS, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Metro de Caracas, a company that runs the Venezuelan capital's mass transit system, has responded to U.S. trade sanctions that bar imports by building its own spare parts to refurbish trains.

The initiative has helped repair Caracas Train, the first train rebuilt with homegrown technology and design.

"The whole internal system has been designed by Venezuelans," president of the Metro de Caracas union, Edison Alvarado, told Xinhua during a tour of the project at Las Adjuntas station in the southwest of the city.

Alvarado said this is one of the initiatives with "100 percent Venezuelan talent."

Launched in November 2019, the initiative aims to repair more than 20 trains.

Native engineers developed new technology for air conditioning, injection system and pneumatic system, said Alvarado.

"We also designed our own disinfection system (against COVID-19)," he said.

The sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies have brought many companies to a standstill by cutting off their access to spare parts and maintenance, and Metro de Caracas is among them.

"As a result of the blockade and of all those countries that bowed to the sanctions (pressure) of the United States government, they stopped sending us supplies and spare parts for the trains," said the president.

Since its foundation, the subway system has operated with technology from French company Alstom, while in 2010 the network's Line 1 switched to trains built by Spanish firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).

The companies warned that the Caracas Metro system might stop functioning due to the sanctions, but "thanks to the working class, it is operational," said Alvarado.

As a veteran at Metro Maintenance for 33 years, corporate manager for manitenance Carlos Ashby expressed pride in the 90 employees that have kept the system going and the National Experimental University of Transportation that has supported the project.

Caracas Train is practically new, said Ashby, with the original French-made exterior and Venezuelan-made electronic equipment, electrical system and wheels.

Some 22 trains in all are set to be refurbished "amid the pandemic and after five years of (a financial) war that has us against the wall," added Ashby. Enditem