Tren de la Costa
Tren de la Costa
An articulate unit by CAF that serves the line.
|Service type||Light rail|
|Locale||Greater Buenos Aires|
|Former operator(s)||Ferrocarriles Argentinos|
|Ridership||642.500 (2012) |
|Distance travelled||15,5 km|
|Average journey time||30'|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Operating speed||30 km/h|
|Track owner(s)||Government of Argentina|
Tren de la Costa (Train of the Coast) is a suburban 15.5 km (9.6 mi), 11-station light rail line in Greater Buenos Aires, between Maipú Avenue station in the northern suburb of Olivos and Delta station in Tigre, on the Río de la Plata. The line connects directly to the Mitre line at Maipú–Bartolomé Mitre station for direct access to Retiro terminus in the centre of the city.
Tren de la Costa is served by nine two-car trains sets. Each train has a capacity of 200 passengers and travels at an average speed of 35 km/h. The journey time is 30 minutes, with a frequency of 30 minutes.
The line was developed during the period between 1891 and 1896 as part of the Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway (BA&R) connecting Coghlan junction in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Belgrano with the port of Tigre and was known as the Tren del Bajo. The line served as an alternative route to Tigre already served by the Buenos Aires Northern Railway. The line was later absorbed by the Central Argentine Railway when this company took over the (BA&R) in 1908. It was electrified in 1931, nationalised in 1948 when it became part of F.C. Mitre; but in 1961 part of the system was abandoned and left to decay for 30 years.
In 1990 plans were formulated for reopening the line and with railway privatisation in 1992, the Tren de la Costa company (part of Sociedad Comercial del Plata, controlled by local businessman Santiago Soldati) was formed to take over the concession for the service.
The track was converted from 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge, and electrified in 1994. Public services and the related commercial operations began in April 1995, and the maiden ride, on April 21, was shared by Soldati, company and government officials, and President Carlos Menem.
The company remodeled the 8 stations of the branch and built 3 new stations, most of them with the concept of shopping mall centers, being San Isidro the most representative of this tendence.
A new terminus, named "Maipú" was built just in front of former terminus Bartolomé Mitre. Both stations were connected through a pedestrian bridge over Maipú Avenue. Unlike the Retiro-B. Mitre branch, the new Maipú-Delta service was a light rail system, using two-car train sets acquired to Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).
The service between Maipú-Delta was opened in April 1995.
The project delayed more than a year until on December 7, 1994, the train made its first trip from Delta-Libertador. Then President of Argentina Carlos Menem attended the celebration. The official opening was on April 20, 1995 when the first train departed from new station Maipú to Delta, launching the passenger service 5 days later.
During the first years of existence, the branch carried an average of 100,000 passenger (on weekends) due to it had been conceived as a tourist train, with Maipú, Libertador and San Isidro as its main commercial centres. Beside Delta terminus, a new amusement park, "Parque de la Costa" was built, self-proclaiming "the largest in South America". Parque de la Costa -opened in April 1997- invested USD 100 million to be constructed. Two years later, the "Trillenium Casino" opened beside the park and Delta station. SCP and Grupo Bolt invested A$ 70 million. The new gamble center had 1,800 slots machines, 76 game table and 2 electronic roulettes.
Successive economic crashes such as Tequila crisis of Mexico (1994) and Asia financial crisis (1997) caused a decrease of the number of passenger carried by the company, affecting not only the train services but the amusement park as well. The SCP asked the National Government a grant to continue operating the trains but the request was denied due to the concession contract did not include the possibility of granting subsidies because Tren de la Costa was categorized as a tourism train unlike the rest of the lines that were a public passenger transport.
The line saw a large drop in passenger numbers since its opening in 1995. Around 100,000 journeys were made each weekend initially; but, by 2005 there were just 150,000 a month, a third of which were foreign tourists. The coinciding economic upturn did not reverse this trend, and ridership declined to around 70,000 a month by 2010.
After a progressive decrease of the number of passengers carried and the closure of most of shops in the stations, The Government of Argentina revoked the concession to SCP, taking over the Tren de la Costa through its subsidiary SOFSE. The rescision was published on the Argentine Official Bulletin on 3 Jun 2013.
The line and its stations were conceived to offer various forms of entertainment and enjoyment for both adults and children, being used by both tourists and commuters. Each station, seven of which are original stations refurbished, has history and art displays, and substantial shopping areas were built at Maipú, Libertador and San Isidro. Borges Station, by the Olivos marina, was planned as 'the station of the arts' with an art café with open-air sculptures. Located nearby is the Juan Carlos Altavista Cinema (former "Cine York"), one of the oldest still operating in the world. Anchorena station was nicknamed The Tango station due to its cultural centre, and Barrancas station hosts an antiques fair.
The route between Libertador and San Isidro was adapted for use by walkers, joggers and cyclists. Delta station serves the Parque de la Costa, an amusement park, as well as Tigre's other important tourist attractions including the Trillenium Casino, a crafts fair, riverside restaurants and boat trips.
- Maipú ((Olivos)
- Borges (Olivos)
- Barrancas (San Isidro)
- San Isidro R (San Isidro)
- Punta Chica (Béccar)
- Marina Nueva
- San Fernando R (San Fernando)
- Delta (Tigre)
- Parque de la Costa
- Rail transport in Argentina
- Ferrocarriles Argentinos
- Ferrocarril General Bartolomé Mitre
- Light rail
- Commuter rail in Buenos Aires
- "Tren de la Costa: la abrupta caída de usuarios precipitó el final de una época de oro", La Nación, 28 Jun 2013
- "El Tren de la Costa ya cumplió 10 años y no termina de arrancar", Clarín, 10 Nov 2005
- "Servicios Públicos", INDEC, 30 April 2010
- "Tren de la Costa: del paseo de lujo a un objeto de colección", Clarín, 23 Apr 2012
- "Abandono y desolación en las estaciones del Tren de la Costa", Perfil, 23 Sep 2012
- "El Ministerio de Transporte le rescindió el contrato al Tren de la Costa por incumplimiento", Telam, 4 Jun 2013]
- "Estatizan el Tren de la Costa, terrenos del Parque y dos ramales de cargas ferroviarias", La Nación, 5 June 2013
- "Tren y Parque de la Costa pasan a manos del Estado", Página/12, 5 Jun 2013
- Resolución 477/2013 - Boletín Oficial de Argentina
- "Un viaje al pasado en el Bajo de Acassuso", La Nación, 9 Feb 2010
- "Feria de Anticuarios: tesoros y pasiones de coleccionistas", Clarín, 19 Feb 2012
- "Estaciones en la Costa", by Pablo Guiraldes, Summa+ magazine #14
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