History of rail transport in Chile

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This article is part of the history of rail transport by country series
The Biobío Railroad Bridge under construction.
Credit: The Illustrated London News (24 August 1889).
Chile rail map of 1930

The history of rail transport in Chile has gone through several periods of boom and bust. It began in the mid-nineteenth century, with the construction of the first branch in the north (from Copiapo Caldera), which is currently in place only from Iquique to Puerto Montt and has many abandoned sections.

There are also four international branches: one from Arica to La Paz in Bolivia, another from Antofagasta to La Paz (currently operated only to Cochabamba), between Antofagasta and Salta (Argentina) and a bi-oceanic corridor between Valparaiso and Buenos Aires.

In addition, there was a network in the big island of Chiloe, and a host of now completely abandoned branches. There were also private industrial lines such as the Anglo-Chilean Nitrate & Railway Company (the Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco) which hauled nitrate for decades.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See Binns, Donald. The Anglo-Chilean Nitrate & Railway Company. (1995, Trackside Publications). (ISBN 1-900095025).
  • Hollingsworth, J B (1980). Atlas of the World's Railways. Adelaide: Rigby. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0727003054. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Binns, Donald (1995). Anglo-Chilean Nitrate and Railway Co. North Yorkshire: Trackside Publications. ISBN 1900095025. 
  • Binns, Donald (2007). The Nitrate Railways Company Limited. North Yorkshire: Trackside Publications. ISBN 1900095351. 
  • Binns, Donald; Middleton, Harold A (2010). The Taltal Railway: A Chilean mineral line. Skipton: Trackside Publications. ISBN 9781900095419. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Rail transport in Chile at Wikimedia Commons