General Urquiza Railway
|General Urquiza Railway|
|Native name||Ferrocarril General Urquiza|
|Owner||Government of Argentina|
|Line length||2,765 km (1,718 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The General Urquiza Railway (FCGU) (in Spanish: Ferrocarril General Urquiza), named after the Argentine general and politician Justo José de Urquiza, is a standard gauge railway of Argentina which runs approximately northwards from Buenos Aires to Posadas, with several branches in between. It was also one of the six state-owned Argentine railway companies formed after President Juan Perón's nationalisation of the railway network in 1948. The six companies were managed by Ferrocarriles Argentinos which was later broken up during the process of railway privatisation beginning in 1991 during Carlos Menem's presidency.
The FCGU incorporated the British-owned 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge Entre Ríos Railway and Argentine North Eastern Railway companies, as well as the standard gauge segments of the Argentine State Railway, and its principal lines departed from Federico Lacroze railway terminus in Buenos Aires to the north east through the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, and Misiones.
Today, the Urquiza Railway (Ferrocarril Urquiza) name is used to refer to the standard gauge railway network in Argentina and the services which run on it, rather than the state railway company.
The first segment of what is today the Urquiza railway was a 10 km segment between Gualeguay and Puerto Ruiz in Entre Ríos, which opened in 1866 as part of the Argentine Central Entre Ríos Railway company. In 1887 the line which runs from Paraná, Entre Ríos to Concepción del Uruguay was completed, with branches running to Villaguay, Gualeguaychú and Victoria. The Central Entre Ríos Railway was then taken over by the British Entre Ríos Railway in 1892.
In 1873 the British-owned East Argentine Railway opened a line between Concordia and Mercedes, extending these services northwards outside Entre Ríos to Corrientes for the first time. In November 1886, Congress approved the line's expansion to Misiones province, taking it from Monte Caseros in Corrientes to Posadas. In 1898 the company's owner John E. Clark transferred his concession to the Argentine North Eastern Railway, which opened the Monte Caseros - Posadas line in 1890.
At the same time, the Buenos Aires Central Railway company, headed by the Argentine businessman Federico Lacroze, opened a standard gauge railway line between Buenos Aires and Pilar in Buenos Aires Province in 1888, with an extension to Zárate that same year. In 1906 the line was extended to Entre Ríos and a traffic-sharing agreement signed between the Argentine and British rail companies, effectively joining the provinces of Corrientes and Misiones to Buenos Aires by rail for the first time. For some years the Paraná River was crossed using a train ferry, however bridges and viaducts were later built.
By 1913, train ferries crossing the northern part of the Paraná River between Posadas and Encarnación began operating, thus linking the Argentine railway to the Paraguayan railway and to the country's capital city of Asunción.
In 1948, following the nationalisation of the railways in Argentina, all these standard gauge lines were grouped together under the Ferrocarril General Urquiza (General Urquiza Railway) name and would later become one of the six divisions of Ferrocarriles Argentinos.
The following standard gauge railway companies were added to Urquiza Railway network after the 1948 nationalisation:
|Buenos Aires Central||Argentine||Buenos Aires, Santa Fe|
|Entre Ríos (1)||British||Entre Ríos|
|Argentine North Eastern (2)||British||Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Misiones|
|Corrientes Economic||Argentine||Corrientes Province|
- (1) The Entre Ríos Railway had acquired the Central Entre Ríos Railway in 1892.
- (2) The Argentine North Eastern had acquired the East Argentine in 1907.
In 1991 the railway was privatised as part of Carlos Menem's neoliberal reforms, though the railway, along with all the railways of Argentina, are in the process of being re-nationalised as of 2015.
In the metropolitan sector of the City of Buenos Aires there is an electrified commuter branch that operates from the Federico Lacroze terminus in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Chacarita, to the General Lemos station in suburban San Miguel. The branch is the only electrified part of the railway and the only part which is operated for passengers by a private company, Metrovías. It connects with Line B of the Buenos Aires Underground at Federico Lacroze station.
The line was originally designed to be part of Underground Line B with a ramp taking it underground at its current terminus, though this was never implemented. It is still possible that the existing ramp would allow connection to line B, enabling trains to run through to the centre of Buenos Aires, though this has still yet to be done to this date.
El Gran Capitán was a service that ran from Buenos Aires to Posadas under Ferrocarriles Argentinos (FA) and later under Trenes Especiales Argentinos (TEA). With the dissolution of Ferrocarriles Argentinos, the interurban and long-distance services ceased to run in 1993, but in 2003, TEA revived the passenger rail service from Buenos Aires to Posadas, capital of the Province of Misiones. This service ceased to operate in November 2011, though it was briefly re-activated in 2012 under the company Trenes de Buenos Aires until the national government revoked all their concessions later that year following the Once rail disaster.
Local Entre Ríos services
Some interurban services in the Province of Entre Ríos also exist, such as the service from Paraná, Entre Ríos to Concepción del Uruguay and the service from Basavilbaso to Concordia, both of which were originally part of the Central Entre Ríos Railway. These use Materfer rolling stock and are operated by the state-owned company Trenes Argentinos. Currently many of these lines are being renovated with the intention of improving services.
The city of Paraná also uses part of the Urquiza railway for its own commuter rail network. Trains run six times a day on weekdays from Paraná to Colonia Avellaneda with 8 stations in between, while another service runs from Paraná to Villa Fontana twice a day on weekdays with four stops. Both services have heavily subsidised prices for local residents.
This Posadas-Encarnación service links the cities of Posadas in the Argentine province of Misiones to the city of Encarnación in Paraguay. It was opened in 2014 and is operated by Casimiro Zbikoski S.A. under the authority of the state-owned Trenes Argentinos using Dutch Wadloper rolling stock. It currently carries 8,000 passengers daily and expansions are being considered as the service is already reaching its maximum capacity.
The Tren de los Pueblos Libres (Train of the Free Peoples) was a short lived rural train service between Pilar in Argnentina and Paso de los Toros in Uruguay. The service was closed in May 2012 after the Government of Argentina revoked all concessions to Trenes de Buenos Aires (the operator of the service) after the Once rail disaster, which occurred on a service operated by that company.
The viaduct (left) is now used to cross the Paraná River to Entre Ríos
- Línea General Urquiza - Laguna Paiva Web
- Línea General Urquiza - Laguna Paiva Web
- Los Ferrocarriles: Sus orígenes - Todo Tren
- Línea General Urquiza - Laguna Paiva Web
- FERROCARRIL NACIONAL GENERAL URQUIZA - Histarmar
- Medios de transporte - De La Concordia, originally published in 1981
- Cristina anunció la estatización de los ferrocarriles - Telam, 01 March 2015
- Mejoras en la estación Federico Lacroze de la Línea Urquiza - Metrovias
- Combinaciones - Buenos Aires Ciudad
- F. Lacroze - Apóstoles - Posadas - Satelite Ferroviario
- ¿No saben cómo hacer a un pueblo felíz?. El regreso del tren de pasajeros "El Gran Capitán" en 2003 - Crónica Ferroviaria, 06 April, 2015
- Misiones: El Defensor del Pueblo provincial solicitó que se restablezca el servicio ferroviario entre Posadas - Buenos Aires - Cronica Ferroviaria, 03 February 2015
- Sofse: Parece que la solución vino rápida y el tren de pasajeros ahora llega hasta Concordia - Cronica Ferroviaria, 04 April 2014
- Paraná - Concepción del Uruguay - Satelite Ferroviario
- Servicio local: Paraná a Oro Verde, V. Fontana y C. Avellaneda - Satelite Ferroviario
- Trenes en Argentina - Trenes locales a Parana a Colonia Avellaneda - XColectivo
- Horarios Paraná - Colonia Avellaneda - Trenes Argentinos
- Posadas - Encarnación del Paraguay - Satelite Ferroviario
- Misiones: “El tren Posadas-Encarnación, todos los días rompe récords de cantidad de pasajeros y se está llegando al límite operativo” - Cronica Ferroviaria, 20 March 2015
- "Finalmente, el Gobierno le sacó las concesiones del Sarmiento y del Mitre a TBA", Clarín, 24 May 2012
- "El tren que unía Argentina y Uruguay dejó de funcionar de modo definitivo", El Día, 28 May 2012
- Trenes Argentinos, railway operator
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