Posts Tagged ‘trains’

Buenos Aires — By Pablo Juan Augustinowicz on March 22, 2010 at 12:01 am
Filed under: public transportation, trains

Travelling by Train Around Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a great metropolis with numberless means of transport that take you to any point of the city (Capital Federal), its roundabouts (Gran Buenos Aires), and virtually to any point of the country. Travelling by train in Buenos Aires is not so important for tourists since the rail lines only connect the railway terminals, or stations in or nearby the city centre, with the suburbs of Buenos Aires (and very few cities in nearby provinces).

It is a very cheap mean of transportation. The fare varies according to the distance travelled, and has to be paid in the corresponding station.

There are four main terminals and these are: Retiro, Constitución, Once, and Lacroze.

Estación Retiro is the main train station of Buenos Aires and one of the city’s great architectural gems. It really is reminiscent of one of Europe’s great rail stations. In fact, it was designed by a British architect and opened in 1915. The main long distance bus station is located just next door and with these two options you can get to virtually anywhere in the region. The station is located just NorthEast from Plaza San Martin on Avenida Ramos Mejía. Still, train transportation can only be useful if you are accommodated close to one of the stations. For example, there are B&B in Vicente Lopez, at walking distance from the station. You can use then the Linea Mitre to/from estación Retiro. Bare in mind that, specially during rush hours, the trains are more or less overcrowded. The train tickets are remarkable cheap (as all kinds of public transportation in the city), varying from 70 cents till about 1,40 pesos, depending on the length of the train ride. It is possible to buy tickets from a machine or at a ticket office in the railway stations. Linea Mitre is operated by TBA ( ) and runs also the line to Tigre on the outskirts of the city. This is perhaps the most important rail line for tourists. This line offers an easy access to the town of Tigre for a day trip from Buenos Aires. It is called El Tren de la Costa (The Train of the Coast), running between the stations Maipú (Mitre) and Delta (Tigre), passing a couple of places along the coast of the Río de la Plata, among them San Isidro (with a shopping mall). A one way Tourist Ticket is 8 pesos. For more info:

The Línea Roca operates from the city-centre terminal of Estación Constitución south to Alejandro Korn, Cañuelas, and La Plata, and west to Haedo along broad gauge lines built by the British-owned Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway. The intermediate stations connecting the different branch lines are Avellaneda, Bosques and Temperley. The line consists of 198 kilometers of track (55 of which are electrified), 70 stations, 146 grade crossings, 907 daily services through its different branches, and carries half a million passengers daily. In spite of the large government subsidies received by TMR a serious decline in the standard of their rail services has led to the original concession being revoked and the service is now operated by the consortium UGOFE. Currently there are plans under way for a major investment to modernize the line with the electrification of the whole system.

The Líneas Sarmiento are less known. They consist of an electric line from Estación Once (with third rail power pickup) west to Moreno from where diesel trains go to Luján and Mercedes, and a branch line from Merlo to Lobos. In addition, there is a diesel railcar service from Puerto Madero through the tunnel of a former carbon transport line which joins the other lines shortly after Once station and follows them as far as Castelar, a kind of luxury service; these vehicles have air conditioning, heating, carry only seated passengers, offer free newspapers and background music.

Línea Urquiza runs from the Estación Federico Lacroze in the barrio of Chacarita, to General Lemos terminal, Campo de Mayo in Greater Buenos Aires, a total journey time of 46 min. The line uses third rail current collection and, at present, is used by an average of 75,400 passengers daily and operates 20 hours a day, 7 days a week at 8 to 30 minute intervals. This suburban line runs on track once operated by Ferrocarril General Urquiza before railway privatisation. In earlier times the line was planned to run into the centre of Buenos Aires, through a long tunnel. But when the tunnel was finally built in 1930, it was taken over by the subway system, so that suburban passengers had to change at Federico Lacroze, named after its builder, about 6 km from the centre. Today Federico Lacroze has a direct connection to the Line B subway station of the same name.

I love trains, but if you are not an experienced traveller try to avoid them. In fact, except the lines I have just mentioned, the train system in Argentina is awful. So, forget about travelling around Buenos Aires or within Argentina by train. It is neither safe nor fast. You’d better stick to buses, rental cars, taxi cabs or the subway.

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