San Martín Line (Buenos Aires)

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Trenes Argentinos Operadora Ferroviaria.png
San Martín Line
Sdd7 b970 01.jpg
A train leaving Villa Devoto station.
Service type Commuter rail
Status Active
Locale Buenos Aires Province
Predecessor Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway
First service 1948; 67 years ago (1948)
Current operator(s) SOFSE
Former operator(s) Corredores Ferroviarios
Ridership 36 million (2013)[1]
Website Official page
Start Retiro
Stops 22
End Dr. Cabred
Distance travelled 70 km
Average journey time 75' [2]
Service frequency 15'
On-board services
Class(es) Standard class only
Track gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)

The San Martín line is a 70-kilometre (43 mi), 22-station commuter rail service in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The San Martín line operates from the city-centre terminus of Retiro railway station northwest to Doctor Cabred in Luján Partido[3] along a broad gauge line built by the British-owned Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway.

The line is currently operated by State-owned company Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado (SOFSE) after the Government of Argentina rescinded the contract with former operator Corredores Ferroviarios in March 2015.



A train in Greater Buenos Aires, c. 1960.
Level crossing on Avenida Córdoba in Buenos Aires, 1960s.
A train while being operated by UGOFE.

The first line had been built and operated by the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, a British-owned company which original projects included a railway to connect Argentina and Chile but then the BAPR focused on getting access to Buenos Aires. When the Government of Argentina granted concession to build the line, the company extended opened a 100-km length MercedesPalermo.

Ferrocarriles Argentinos[edit]

On February 13, 1947, the Government of Argentina acquired the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, changing its name to Ferrocarril General San Martín one year later when the entire Argentine railway network nationalised by Juan Perón's administration.

During the 1960s the line was restructured, renewing its rolling stock. Therefore the steam locomotives of San Martín line were replaced by diesel ones. The old coaches made in wood were also replaced by new wagons manufactured in Fiat Ferroviaria (then Materfer) factory in Córdoba Province.

In the 1970s the modernisation continued, renewing signals and rail tracks. In addition, most of the station were remodeled while orange color was adopted to identify the line.

In 1978 a restructuring of the San Martín line was carried out by the de facto Government, so terminus was set in Pilar, Buenos Aires Province. From then on, Doctor Cabred (former terminus) and intermediate stop Manzanares were used for long-distance services exclusively.

Privatisation: Metropolitano[edit]

With the privatization of the entire rail network led in the early 1990s by President Carlos Menem, Ferrocarriles Argentinos ceased to operate metropolitan services. A new State-owned transitional company, Ferrocarriles Metropolitanos S.A., was created to operate those services until they were privatised.

On March 1, 1994, private company Metropolitano (TMS) took over the line, which operated unitl 7 January 2005, when the contract was revoked by the Government of Argentina.

In spite of the large government subsidies received by TMS a serious decline in the standard of their rail services has led to the original concession being revoked and the service was took over by the consortium UGOFE.[4]


With the line managed by UGOFE, several projects were announced to improve the San Martín line services, with an estimated 36 million passengers transported yearly and which has seen an annual increment of 15% in ridership. In 2008 the Government of Argentina announced that the electrification employing catenary of the whole system to be started in June 2008. The project also included a new maintenance yard, new tracks for the entire line and all level road crossings are to be eliminated,[5][6] althought works were never carried out. In the mean time the new formations of 24 diesel-electric locomotives and 160 coaches that will arriving from China in the couple next years will be serving the line,[7] and will eventually be adapted to electric current or to other networks once the new electrification project kicks in around 2014. Up to date, this electrification project has not yet started and there are no news about it.

On February 12, 2014, the operation of San Martín Line was granted to private company Corredores Ferroviarios.[8][9] In April of the same year the San Martín line completed the modernisation of its entire fleet, putting into service 24 diesel locomotives and 160 coaches acquired from Chinese company CSR.[1][10] The units had been brought in 2008 but they were unable to run so the stations had to modify their platforms for the new coaches. Once works were concluded, the Chinese trains made their debut in Argentina.[11] A total of 17 trains with 7 wagons each were acquired to replace local trains by Materfer, a local manufacturer. The Materfer trains had been built in the 1960s and 1970s.[12]


State-owned company Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado took over Belgrano Sur and Roca (operated by Argentren) and Mitre and San Martín (operated by Corredores Ferroviarios) lines after the the Government of Argentina rescinded the contracts signed with both companies on March 2, 2015. The contract terms specified that the concession could be cancelled with no right to claim compensation.[13] The agreements had been signed in February 2014, commiting Argentren and Corredores Ferroviarios to operate the lines.[14][15][16]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]