Ferrocarril Andino

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The Ferrocarril Andino (FCA) was a state-owned company in Argentina which, towards the end of the 19th century, built and operated a railway connecting Villa María in Córdoba Province with the cities of Mendoza and San Juan. The 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge network was later sold to a number of British-owned railway companies.

The FCA was the first state-owned railway in Argentina and was founded on 15 November 1867 with the aim of linking the three provinces of the Cuyo region, San Juan, San Luis and Mendoza with the city of Rosario, via the Central Argentine Railway connection at Villa María, established in 1867. Details of the building of the line are given in Table 1.

A Ferrocarril Andino passenger train at Mendoza in 1907.
Table 1   Building of the FCA
Section Length, km Date Opened
Villa María – Río Cuarto   24 October 1873
Rio Cuarto – Villa Mercedes   4 October 1875
Villa Mercedes – Fraga   1 August 1881
Fraga – Chorrillos   29 April 1882
Chorrillos –San Luis   8 July 1882
San Luis –La Paz   11 August 1883
La Paz – Maipú   9 October 1884
Maipú – Mendoza   25 April 1885
Mendoza – San Juan   6 May 1885

In 1886 the FCA bought the branch line from Villa Mercedes to La Toma from the ex-Ferrocarril Noroeste a La Rioja and extended it to Villa Dolores to give a branch line with a total length of 226 km.

The construction costs and tariffs of the FCA were the lowest of any railway company in Argentina at that time, and when it began to make a profit, the network was sold off to British-owned companies as detailed in Table 2.

Table 2   Privatisation of the FCA
Section Length, km Date Sold Buyer
Villa Mercedes – Mendoza   1887 Argentine Great Western Railway
Mendoza – San Juan   1887 Argentine Great Western Railway
Villa Mercedes - Villa Dolores 226 1909 Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway
Río Cuarto - Villa Mercedes 120 1909 Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway
Villa María - Río Cuarto   1909 Central Argentine Railway


  • Lewis, Colin M. (1983). British Railways in Argentina 1857-1914: A Case Study of Foreign Investment. Athlone Press (for the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London).