Belgrano Sur Line
Belgrano Sur Line
Trains in Buenos Aires station.
|Service type||Commuter rail|
|Locale||Greater Buenos Aires|
|Current operator(s)||Trenes Argentinos|
Marinos del Belgrano
|Average journey time||60'
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)|
|Track owner(s)||Government of Argentina|
The Belgrano Sur line is an Argentine 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge commuter rail service in the Greater Buenos Aires area, currently operated by State-owned company Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado (SOFSE). The Belgrano sur runs over tracks and stations built by the Franco-Belgian-owned Compañía General de Buenos Aires and British Midland companies at the beginning of the 20th century.
The railway line was originally built and operated by two companies, British-owned Buenos Aires Midland Railway that made its inaugural trip in 1909 joining Puente Alsina and Carhué, and Franco-Belgian-owned Compañía General de Buenos Aires (established in 1908), that built and operated a large network reaching cities in the west of Buenos Aires Province and branches to cities such as La Plata and Rosario, although most of the line was closed and only a few services are active nowadays.
When the entire Argentine railway network was nationalised in 1948 during Juan Perón's presidency, the BA Midland became part of the Belgrano Sur line division of Ferrocarril General Belgrano. Besides, The now nationalised companies added to Ferrocarril Belgrano network had been renamed, being known as "G" (Cía. Gral. de Buenos Aires), M (Midland) and P (Provincial de Buenos Aires).
After the nationalisation several improvements were carried out in the line, such as the addition of a rail track between Aldo Bonzi and Libertad to increase frequency of the services. The modernisation included the purchase of brand-new diesel locomotives by American company Whitcomb in 1951 (with the addition of 15 new ones by Werkspoor in 1955) and the construction of a junction in the Tapiales and Aldo Bonzi stations that allowed ex-Midland connecting its line with Ferrocarril Sarmiento railway near Haedo in Greater Buenos Aires.
During the 1950s, the increasing population in the Greater Buenos Aires made the company to add more services. By December 1955 the Ferrocarril Belgrano ran more than 40 services per day in the Puente Alsina−Aldo Bonzi section. Nevertheless, although the rolling stock had not been renewed since the 1930s. As a result, some railcars that had been crashed or destroyed in accidents were put out of service and never replaced due to the lack of investment to acquire brand new material.
In late 1960s and early 1970s railcars by Hungarian company Ganz Works were sent to the Belgrano Sur. They had been acquired by the Argentine State Railway and running in Northern Argentine railways since 1936. Some of them were used for local services to Libertad and the rest for the long distance service to Carhué, departing from Buenos Aires station, former Compañía Gral. de Buenos Aires terminus. The Ganz railcars ran services until 1977 when the line was definitely closed.
When the Libertad−Plomer section was closed, Buenos Aires station of ex-CGBA was set as terminus. Trains ran without passengers from Puente Alsina to Aldo Bonzi, running back to Tapiales junction where they departed to Buenos Aires station. Passengers waited and took the train in Buenos Aires, being carried to Carhué via Plomer. The lack of maintenance caused a progressive deterioration in the rolling stock and stations of the line, therefore the line was closed in September 1977. Workshops at Libertad were demolished.
On March 2, 1977, Decree N° 547 by de facto President of Argentina, Jorge Rafael Videla ordered to close and dismantle more than 4,000 km of rail tracks. Several Ferrocarril Belgrano lines were closed on May 1, although long distance services to Carhué continued operating until August when the last train ran to that city. Nevertheless, the closure of the region did not make a negative impact in the economy of the Province due to rail tracks crossed along low-populated regions. Besides, most of that regions were already served by other railway lines with better access to the city of Buenos Aires.
With the railway privatisation in Argentina in the early 1990s, the Belgrano Sur line had granted in concession to private company Metropolitano starting operations in 1994. Nevertheless, the Government of Argentina revoked the contract of concession in 2007 due to the poor conditions of the service and increasing demands from users. Until then, the concessionary had been receiving near $ 30 million of subsidies monthly.
In spite of the large government subsidies received by TMB (the Metropolitano's division that operated the line) a serious decline in the standard of their rail services has led to the original concession being revoked. In 2007 the service was given in concession to the consortium UGOFE.
Transition and new concession
The UGOFE took over the service until February 12, 2014, when it was announced that the Belgrano Sur and Roca lines would be granted to Argentren S.A., a company of group EMEPA. The UGOFE was immediately dissolved.
Renationalisation and planned improvements
State-owned company Trenes Argentinos took over Belgrano Sur line (operated by Argentren) after the Government of Argentina rescinded the contracts signed with the company on 2 March, 2015. The contract terms specified that the concession could be cancelled with no right to claim compensation. The agreements had been signed in February 2014, committing Argentren and Corredores Ferroviarios to operate the lines.
In September 2013, the Government of Argentina announced that 23 brand-new railcars were acquired to Chinese company CNR Dalian. New rolling stock is expected to be run from May, 2015. It was also announced that all the stations of the line would be remodelled. The cost of the investment was estimated in A$ 1,200 million.
Similarly, there are also plans to bring the line further into the city, moving the terminus from Buenos Aires station to Constitucion railway station where it will connect with the Roca Line and Line C of the Buenos Aires Underground. The construction will use viaducts to avoid level crossings in the city and is being carried out in cooperation between the National Government and the Government of Buenos Aires.
The Belgrano Sur line operates the following diesel-engined services:
|Buenos Aires||González Catán||33||Compañía General|
|Tapiales||Marinos del Belgrano||15||BA Midland|
|Puente Alsina||Aldo Bonzi||17||BA Midland|
- Ferrocarril Midland
- Compañía General de Buenos Aires
- Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado
- Rail transport in Argentina
- "Sobre LBS" on Argentren website
- "Kirchner le quitó la concesión de trenes a Metropolitano", La Nación, 22 May 2007
- Sagasti, Ramiro (2008). "La odisea de viajar en tren...". La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "Trenes: le dan a Roggio el Mitre y el San Martín y a Emepa, el Roca y el Belgrano Sur", La Nación, 12 Feb 2014
- "Las privadas volverán a operar la mayoría de las líneas ferroviarias", Clarín, 12 Feb 2014
- "El Gobierno estableció un nuevo régimen de operaciones de las líneas ferroviarias", Telam, 12 Feb 2014
- "De a uno por línea, para mejor control", Página 12, 12 Feb 2014
- "Metrovías operará las líneas Mitre y San Martín", En el Subte, 12 Feb 2014
- "Ya está lista la ley que prevé más control estatal sobre los trenes", Clarín, 5 Mar 2015
- "Estado rescindió contrato de trenes a privados y avisó que no pagará indemnizaciones", Ambito Financiero, 2 Mar 2015
- "Buenos Aires commuter routes renationalised", Railway Gazzette, 3 Mar 2015
- Resolution N° 171/2015 - Official Bulletin of Argentina
- "Trenes para el Sur", Página/12, 26 Sep 2013
- "Estos son los nuevos coches para la línea Belgrano Sur", Infonews, 26 Sep 2014
- "Randazzo presentó nuevos trenes para la línea Belgrano Sur", Telam, 19 Apr 2014
- Elevarán las trazas del ferrocarril San Martín y del Belgrano Sur - InfoBAE, 16 December, 2014.
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