Patagonia. When will it be possible to travel again by train from Constitución to Bariloche?

SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE.- Expected since the 1910s, the first train arrived in this city in May 1934. From that moment on, a adventure story between Buenos Aires and Lake Nahuel Huapistarring multiple generations of passengers.

A black and white film that is now part of the General Archive of the Nation allows you to “travel” to 1969, for example, when tourists linked the Constitución station with the Bariloche station in less than 30 hours. The Arrayanes Express It offered microcinema, restaurant, live show and transportation for vehicles. Although the luxury on board was gradually lost, both headers were united until the 1990s. Later, the passengers were forced to cover part of the journey by bus.

The reissue of the complete itinerary by train would arrive in September of this yearas reported this week from the company Patagonian Train. “We have been working for some time to improve the profitability of benefits, through two determining segments such as tourism and cargo. In Bariloche, we started with the tourist train, which has worked very well. We were missing part of the cargo, for which it was essential to recover the Bahía Blanca-Carmen de Patagones / Viedma section, which was not operational for many years, ”he told THE NATION Daniel Garcia, president of Patagonian Train.

This situation has kept the rail link for products to and from the Buenos Aires metropolitan area cut off for years. It also prevents passengers from connecting Buenos Aires and Bariloche by train, without major impediments. In recent months, from the Rio Negro company they made a presentation to the Argentine State Railways (FASE) and began to work, at the same time, with the Railway Infrastructure Administration (ADIF), which manages the tracks.

We got a permit to clean the network. This Thursday we arrived in Bahía Blanca with a clean road and now we begin the repair process in some sectors that may be damaged. Also let’s check the bridges and culverts. Once these stages have been completed, the speed at which you can travel in the different sectors and the axle load that can be transported according to the state of the road will be determined. We would thus be in a position to carry passengers and cargo through that route again in the next 60 days,” he added. Garcia.

The high demand for the night tourist train between Bariloche and the Perito Moreno station forced the authorities to add a frequencyCourtesy Tren Patagónico SA

Trenes Argentinos and Tren Patagónico still need to define the agreement for the use and logistics of cargo and passenger operations. In this sense, it is likely that, in a first stage, it will be necessary for people traveling between Constitución and Bariloche to make a transfer at some point along the way. “Hopefully between September 15 and 30 we will already be bringing passengers. Luckily, there is a lot of will from all those involved”, the president of Tren Patagónico enthuses.

García also highlights the enormous demand that exists for both tourist and freight services: “In different parts of the country, sections have been recovered and hundreds of producers thus manage to arrive with competitive prices. In turn, the response of tourists to rail services is very good. In mid-July we inaugurated the night tourist train between Bariloche and the Perito Moreno station, with two weekly frequencies. We had to add a frequency due to demand and they are asking us to add one at noon”.

Currently, the train ticket from Buenos Aires to Bahia Blancaone way, costs between $1,039.50 (first) and $3,640.50 (cabin) per person. The trip takes about 19 hours. Meanwhile, the current value of the Viedma-Bariloche service (departs on Fridays and lasts 18 hours) is between $3,294 (pullman) and $4,455 (cabin).

While it worked, the train took about 36 hours to get from Constitución to Bariloche. The authorities calculate that today it could take a few more hours, although that will only be known when the tracks of the central section of the route are used again. The excitement seems to be spreading and the details will appear when those remembered trips on rails become possible again.

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