Puerto Rico FELA Attorneys 

Today’s railroads in Puerto Rico are a 10.7-mile passenger train in the metropolitan area of San Juan and a small freight line in Ponce. This contrasts with a time when in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s railroads in Puerto Rico flourished to become one of the largest train operations in the Caribbean.

Rail transport of sugar cane products and passengers thrived until the 1950s, when it was nearly completely shut down by the advent of highways and the automobile. Only a fraction of the earlier system remains, some still for transport of agricultural products, and other parts of the island for tourists.

Landmarks for Puerto Rico’s rail systems are:

  • From the 1870s to the 1890s, a short passenger rail system was used by residents of the city of Mayagüez. Horses pulled small wagons on rails joining the center of town with what is now the Port sector.
  • In the late 19th and early 20th century, expansion of the sugar cane industry led to the creation of the main railroad in Puerto Rico, with the northern line running between San Juan and Manatí, and later lines running to Carolina in the east and Arecibo/Camuy in the west.
  • In 1902 passenger travel began to expand.
  • In 1904 a southern line was laid between Hormigueros and Yauco, a northern line was built westward to Aguadilla
  • In 1907, the northern and southern parts of the island were connected with the completion of the tracks between San Juan and Ponce. Additional railroads were built to carry sugar cane along the east and south coasts.
  • Early in the 1900s, a new electric railroad system replaced the steam driven tram in San Juan. Thirty-six passenger coaches ran on 20 miles of track. At its height, it carried 10 million passengers a year.
  • November 7, 1944, election day, a train carrying hundreds of passengers from San Juan to Ponce, descended a hill too fast and derailed at the bottom, killing 16 and injuring 50.
  • In 1947 the American Railroad company went bankrupt. The economy changed from agricultural to manufacturing, and the advent of interstate highways led to a growing number of trucks and cars. Passenger service halted in 1953. Freight for sugar cane ended in 1957.
  • Construction began in 1996 and 2005 saw the inauguration of Tren Urbano, an electric-driven commuter system serving Bayamón, Guaynabo and San Juan. It is the only railroad carrying the general public in Puerto Rico.
  • In 1988, Chemex Railroad (Port of Ponce Railroad), became the only freight-carrying railroad in Puerto Rico. The trains haul chemicals to the pharmaceutical companies on the island from a ferry-railroad connection in Mobile, Alabama, and return with freight to Mobile to be distributed by U.S. railroads across the continent.

Dangers of the Puerto Rico Railroad Industry

Building, repairing and working on these railroads has been dangerous and workers using heavy equipment often are injured. Our lawyers familiar with FELA — Federal Employers Liability Act — are experts in helping railroad workers and their families recover compensation from the railroad companies for their injuries.

If you or someone you love has been injured working on the railroad, our Puerto Rico FELA attorneys would be pleased to talk with you about the particulars of your situation. The first consultation is free. Call today for a private and free evaluation.