Panama Metro - Line 1

Last Friday, I spent part of my time 25m./75ft. underground and part of my time 30m./100ft. in the air - I photographed the currently-being-constructed Panama Metro.

In a word: Amazing...


It started at 9am, Ernesto, my brother-in-law / translator, and I met our guide and escort, Luis, at the entrance to the construction of the 5 de Mayo Station. Luis brought our orange vests and construction helmets, and we descended down 75 feet of concrete steps into the Metro tunnel.
Line 1 of the Metro is scheduled to be complete around February or March of 2014 and from what we saw it's going well. The station looked amazing, and seeing the scale and scope of this project was just humbling.
Luis took us around the platform and down onto the tracks. We followed the tracks for maybe 15 minutes in each direction of the main platform and I just photographed the construction crews working on their own individual projects.


 The tunnel has two parallel tracks with a platform long enough for several train cars. Though the station is still very much just a concrete skeleton of what it will soon be, the artist drawings and the progress that has been made is beautiful.

When we finished shooting in the tunnel of the 5 de Mayo station we ascended the concrete steps between the scaffolding in the photo below, on our way back up to the street.

After reaching the street above, we agreed on the second meeting spot for Part II of the Metro shoot. Pueblo Nuevo. Pueblo Nuevo is one of the first elevated stations of Metro's Line 1 as it heads away from Panama City. The elevated stations sit above the street at about 30m/100ft. An incredible view.
There wasn't as much work or activity being done on the upper track level, mostly on the floor just below the train platform. We were only at the elevated station for maybe 40 minutes, capturing candid shots of the workers going about their tasks.

Unlike the tunnel, the elevated station doesn't have any permanent stairs built yet, just a temporary scaffold-type of ladder stairs. They were extremely narrow, especially with camera in hand and bag slung over-shoulder, but sturdy. I can't imagine the logistics of the workers carrying tools and materials up and down them as often as they do.

With the main upper platform being mostly complete, most of the work being done around the station was small-trade types of work, tile being laid, electrical wiring being placed, fire systems, painting, etc.

The access to the Metro line and the work being done on it was amazing, I cannot wait to see the whole line completed. I'm so very thankful for having the opportunity to photograph such a ground-breaking project in Panama, and for the escort / access Metro provided for this shoot. I spent as much time walking around with my mouth open as I did actually photographing it. Thank you to everyone involved with the arranging, the coordinating, the logistics and permissions necessary for all of it to come together.



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