Medellin/Caracas, Part 3

Post by Steven Dale

Last week I travelled to Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela to tour five of the most important CPT systems in the world. This is Part 3 where I discuss the Medellin Metrocable's Linea J. Image by Steven Dale.


Unlike Linea K of the Medellin Metrocable, Linea J is much more actively involved in Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Linea K served an existing and extremely dense neighborhood lacking in transit. Linea J serves the barrio of Vallejuelos and the La Aurora development that is in the process of building and expanding.

This means that Linea J does not suffer from the overcrowding common to Linea K. Queues for vehicles are rare, and even when they do occur in rush hours, they are usually voided within a few minutes. Like Linea K, stations are enormous due to topographical, social and security concerns.

Compared to Linea K, Linea J is something of a let-down. Stations are sparsely populated and overall impact on the community is less than that of Linea K. That is, however, somewhat unfair a judgement. Linea K brought transit to one of the most dense, impoverished and least serviced areas of all of Medellin. Linea K was about servicing a crisis, whereas Linea J is about planning for the future.

Linea K is also 2 years older than Linea J. People need time to adapt. Linea K was also the first, dramatic incursion of cable transit into a city. Linea J has an almost “been there, done that” feel to it. It’s simply impossible to impress in the way that Linea K does. There’s only one “first.”

Nevertheless, one has to look upon Linea J as a success. Splashes of colour pepper along Linea J’s route, a sure sign of progress that is dramatically apparent on Linea K. Stations – while underutilized – feel safe and at a length of 2.7 kms, one has to be impressed by the sizable increase in scale Linea J has accomplished over its predecessor, Linea K’s more modest 1.8 kms.

The views, however, are far more dramatic:

Image by Steven Dale.

A vehicle departs a Linea J Metrocable station. Image by Steven Dale.

Linea J serves the less dense barrio of Vallejeulos, resulting in less over-crowding. Image by Steven Dale.

Linea J serves the sprawling hill-top barrio of Vallejuelos. As the barrio does not have the population of other more notorious areas, overcrowding on Linea J is rare. Image by Steven Dale.

Like Linea K before it, Linea J is being used to stimulate local investment, infrastructure and construction in the long-abandoned barrios along its route. Image by Steven Dale.

The La Aurora Metrocable station (foreground) and development (background). Metrocable Linea J is seen as more than just transit. It is an act of city-building and Transit Oriented Development. Image by Steven Dale.

Rush hour queues are rare on Linea J. Image by Steven Dale.

Due to a lack of population density, much of the social infrastructure designed into the Linea J Metrocable stations (such as this plaza) sits unused. Image by Steven Dale.

Image by Steven Dale.

Like Linea K before it, Linea J is inspiring civic pride in barrios around which the Metrocable plies its route. Decorative murals and colour are becoming more common a sight to see. Image by Steven Dale.

Image by Steven Dale.

Notice how the few splashes of colour that exist within the barrio gently mirror the route of the Metrocable. This was a similar phenomenon observed in Santo Domingo along Linea K's route. Image by Steven Dale.

An unanticipated consequence of the Metrocable's success: An increasingly severe Gringo problem.

Return to Part 2.

Move on to Part 4.

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  1. Hi Steven. I would really like to use some of your pictures on a t shirt im trying to make about colombia. I want to know if i can get your permission on using them.