Buenos Aires Underground
|Owner||Subterráneos de Buenos Aires S.E. (government corporation)|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||6|
|Number of stations||83|
|Annual ridership||310 million (2011)[note 1]|
|Began operation||1 December 1913|
|Number of vehicles||633|
|System length||51.6 km (32.1 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
The Buenos Aires Underground (Spanish: Subterráneo de Buenos Aires), locally known as Subte (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsubte], from subterráneo – 'underground' or 'subterranean') is a mass transit subway system that serves the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The first section of this network (Plaza de Mayo-Plaza Miserere) opened in 1913.
The network expanded rapidly during the early decades of the 20th century, but the pace of expansion fell sharply after the Second World War. In the late 1990s expansion resumed, with the planning of four new lines. However, the rate of expansion is largely exceeded by the transportation needs of the city and once again the network has become overcrowded. Currently, the underground network's six lines comprise 51.6 kilometers (32.1 mi) of route, serving 83 stations.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
Discussions on the need to build an underground transportation system in Buenos Aires began in the late nineteenth century, alongside the tramway system. They operated from 1870 and in about 1900 were in a crisis exacerbated by the monopolization of the companies, a process initiated against the electrification of the system.
In this context, the first proposals for the building of an underground system were made, along with requests for government grants: first, in 1886, and several more in 1889, but the Ministry of Interior (Ministerio del Interior, in Spanish) denied the city administration the power to license building in the subsoil of the City. For this reason, subsequent drafts were submitted directly to this ministry.
When in 1894 it was decided to construct the Congress building in its present location, the subway idea was revived, as it might shorten the travel time between the Casa Rosada and the Congress (with the same purpose there were also plans to build an electric aerial tramway to go down the Avenida de Mayo). Miguel Cané, former Mayor of Buenos Aires (1892–1893), also expressed in 1896 the need to build an underground railway similar to the one in London.
But the various projects failed to raise capital due, according to Miguel Cané, "the reluctance of the English to provide the necessary funds for the construction".
The first subway line was opened on 1 December 1913 and was built by the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company (Compañía de Tranvías Anglo-Argentina (CTAA), in Spanish), which had been given permission to build in 1909. That line was made up of one of the existing sections of line A, linking the stations of Plaza de Mayo and Plaza Miserere. On 1 April 1914 the line was expand to Río de Janeiro station and on 1 July was extended to Primera Junta Station.
In 1912 the company Lacroze Hermanos won a concession to build another subway line. This line is the current line B and was inaugurated on 17 October 1930. In 1933 the Hispano-Argentina Society of Public Works and Finance (Hispano–Argentina de Obras Públicas y Finanzas (CHADOPYF), in Spanish) began construction of the other subway lines.
The entire network was centralised and nationalised during the late 1930s under the management of the Transport Corporation of Buenos Aires (CTBA), which in 1952 was absorbed by the Buenos Aires Transport General Administration (AGTBA).
In 1963, the administration was dissolved and the subway network became the property of the Subterráneos de Buenos Aires company (later SBASE). In 1994 the service was privatised and is now managed by Metrovías S.A. with the stations remaining the property of SBASE.
The current network comprises six underground lines, labelled "A" to "E" and "H" and which are further identified by different colours, covering a total route length of 51.6 kilometers (32.1 mi) and serving 83 stations. There is also one surface 7.4 kilometers (4.6 mi) PreMetro E2 tram line. Daily ridership is ~ 2.0 million and on the increase. With the current usage patterns, the entire system is overstretched, and during weekdays overcrowded and with insufficient services. An expansion programme is underway, and it is expected to enlarge the network to 97 kilometers (60 mi) in the future.
Fare is ARS 3.50 (around US$0.53). While tokens have been used in the past, at present, riders purchase either single-use or multi-use cards (called SubtePass) with a magnetic strip or use contactless cards called SUBE which can be rechargeable with cash. Trains run from 5:00 until 23:00, every 3–6 minutes, depending on the line considered.
|Line||Colour||Date opening||Original path||Current termini||Length
|Number of stations||Daily
|Light Blue||1913||Plaza de Mayo - Plaza Miserere||Plaza de Mayo - San Pedrito||9.8||18||307,188|
|Red||1930||Federico Lacroze - Callao||L. N. Alem - Juan Manuel de Rosas||11.75||17||412,882|
|Blue||1934||Constitución - Diagonal Norte||Constitución - Retiro||4.4||9||338,618|
|Green||1937||Catedral - Tribunales||Catedral - Congreso de Tucumán||11.0||16||440,384|
|Purple||1944||Constitución - Gral. Urquiza||Bolívar - Plaza de los Virreyes||9.2||15||135,549|
|Yellow||2007||Once - Caseros||Corrientes - Hospitales||5.0||8||23,853|
PreMetro light rail
The PreMetro line E2 is a 7.4 kilometers (4.6 mi) tramway feeding the line E of the Buenos Aires Underground.
Línea Urquiza (in English: Urquiza Line) is a 26 kilometers (16 mi) suburban electric commuter line originally designed to be part of the subway system, and operated by the subway operator Metrovías, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It runs from the Federico Lacroze terminus in the barrio of Chacarita, to General Lemos terminus, Campo de Mayo in Greater Buenos Aires. The line is completely at grade (ground-level) and 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.
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 ended up as the B line subway, so that suburban passengers had to change at Federico Lacroze, named after its builder, about 6 km (3.7 mi) from the centre.
Stations and connections
Stations are listed from East to West or North to South. Stations in gray have yet to open. Stations in bold are the current termini.
There are several projects to improve connections.
Works in progress
Line E extension from Bolívar to Retiro (2 intermediate station C. Central and Catalinas) started mid-2007.
Line H extensions to the north from Corrientes to Plaza Francia, serving intermediate stations at Córdoba, Santa Fe and Las Heras, and south from Hospitales with stations at Pompeya and Sáenz, were initiated with ground-breaking ceremonies on 17 January 2012.
New lines planned
The future expansion is based on the programme Plan of New Lines: , and . These lines' routes have already been approved by the Legislature of the City. 39.3 km will be added to the network, expanding it to about 97 km in total length and providing several stations with various interchanges. This will also create new north-south routes, resulting in an appropriate network to avoid the city centre. The new lines will mean that more than two million inhabitants of Buenos Aires (accounting for about 70% of the city's population) will live within 400m of a metro station. The new lines will run between 56 new stations.
Line F will run from Barracas to Plaza Italia and will include 16 new stations. The planned route length of this line is 10.8 km.
Line I will run Parque Chacabuco to Ciudad Universitaria with 18 new stations. The route length is 12.6 km.
The Buenos Aires Underground has historically been characterized by murals and other artistic works in its stations, making a kind of museum throughout the system. These works, and a number of complete stations, are considered part of the cultural heritage of the city and several of them were declared National Historic Landmarks in 1997.
Line A is world-famous because it kept until 2013 its rolling stock running, making them the oldest subway coaches in commercial service in the world. They were built by La Brugeoise, et Nicaise et Delcuve, a Belgian rolling stock manufacturer established in the city of Bruges, between 1913 and 1919. Entirely made of wood, they were originally designed to run as subway as well as tramway cars, but they were adapted in 1927 to their current styling for underground service only. Since the 1940s, several plans have been made to replace them with newer rolling stock, but none of them has succeeded.
In March 2013, La Brugeoise subway coaches were replaced by new, Chinese rolling stock. Old coaches are supposed to be used as an stand for bookstores, as well for doing rides for tourists.
Many stations are decorated with intricate ceramic tile work, some of it dating back to 1913 when the subway first opened for business. Featured artists include painters and reproductions by Quino, Molina Campos, Raúl Soldi, Rodolfo Medina and Jorge Schwarz. In addition they provide spaces for music and theater events.
- Line B
- Tronador: In this station there are 18 stained glasses that refer to the history of the Villa Ortúzar neighbourhood, were the station is located.
- De los Incas – Parque Chas: In this station there are 16 murals related with different Pre-Columbian era civilizations are exhibited.
- Line C
- San Juan:
- Diagonal Norte: Landscapes of Spain. Ceramic murals that correspond to Burgos, Madrid, Aranjuez, El Escorial and Madrid (Alcalá Door) on South platform, and Avila, Toledo, Soria and Segovia on the North Platform. The drafts were made by Martín S. Noel and Manuel Escasany in 1934.
- General San Martín: Photographic reproductions of the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum) activities, photographic reproductions and images of the Plaza San Martín (San Martín Park) and photographic reproductions of streets and building of the South zone of the City.
- Line D
- Juramento: There are a series of murals exposed in this station that had been reproduced in ceramic by Raúl and Daniel De Francisco.
- José Hernández: This station has ceramic reproductions of 4 murals made by Raúl Soldi.
- Olleros: In this station there are showcases exposing works made in the Ceramic School No. 1
- Line H
In popular culture
The subway is featured in the 1996 science fiction film Moebius directed by Gustavo Mosquera. In the film, the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of an underground train are investigated by a topologist. The film is based upon the short story, "A Subway Named Möbius" that takes place in the Boston Subway.
- This ridership figure includes the Premetro (Line E2) ridership in the total.
- "Metrovías en Números" [Metrovías in Numbers] (in Spanish). Metrovias. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
- Diario La Voz Del Interior
- www.clico.com.ar Antecedentes, Inicios, Desarrollo de la red y Líneas (Spanish) Retrieved 2010-11-03
- www.rieles.com Subte Récord: Ya transporta 1.7 Millón de pasajeros por día (Spanish) Retrieved 2010-11-12
- www.railway-technology.com Buenos Aires Subway Extensions
- "Buenos Aires Line H extension groundbreaking". Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Railway Gazette: Urban rail news in brief". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Historical National Monuments (Spanish)
- BusARG.ar (Spanish)
- "A subway named Möbius"
- Media related to Buenos Aires Underground (category) at Wikimedia Commons
- Subterráneos de Buenos Aires (Official Page)
- Metrovías S.A.—Subway Operator (Official Page)
- System map