San Martín Line

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This article is about the commuter rail line. For the national railway company, see General San Martín Railway.
San Martín Line
Trenes Argentinos Operadora Ferroviaria.png
Sdd7 b970 01.jpg
A CSR SDD7 train leaving Villa Devoto station.
Overview
Service type Commuter rail
Status Active
Locale Buenos Aires Province
Predecessor BA & Pacific R.
First service 1948; 67 years ago (1948)
Current operator(s) Trenes Argentinos
Former operator(s) Corredores Ferroviarios
Annual ridership 39,240,000 (2014) [1]
Website Official page
Route
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
Technical
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 north-west 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operated by State-owned company Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado (SOFSE) after the Government of Argentina rescinded the contract with former operator Corredores Ferroviarios in March 2015.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

A train in Greater Buenos Aires, c. 1960.
Level crossing on Avenida Córdoba in Buenos Aires, 1960s.
Palermo station after refurbishment.

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

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. Immediately after nationalisation, there was a project to electrify the line, however this never came to fruition.[4]

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 of 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 stations were remodelled while the orange colour was adopted to identify the line.

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

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 until 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 taken over by the consortium UGOFE.[5]

Transition[edit]

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 using overhead lines for the whole system was to be started in June 2008. The project also included a new maintenance yard, new tracks for the entire line with all level road crossings to be eliminated and replaced with bridges and tunnels. .[6][7]

In the mean time, new rolling stock consisting of 24 diesel-electric CSR SDD7 locomotives and 160 coaches arrived from China to serve the line,[8] and will eventually be adapted to electric current or to other lines once the new electrification project is complete. The electrification had not commenced by 2014, but that same year the Minister of the Interior and Transport Florencio Randazzo stated that the project was still on the table.[9]

On February 12, 2014, the operation of San Martín Line was granted to private company Corredores Ferroviarios.[10][11] In April of the same year the San Martín line completed the modernisation of its entire fleet, putting into service 24 CSR SDD7 diesel locomotives and 160 coaches acquired from Chinese company CSR.[12][13] The units had been bought 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.[14] The new rolling stock completely replaced the Materfer trains built in the 1960s and 1970s.[15]

Renationalisation[edit]

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 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.[16] The agreements had been signed in February 2014, committing Argentren and Corredores Ferroviarios to operate the lines.[17][18][19]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Estadísticas del transporte ferroviario - Total 2014, CNRT website - Ministry of Transport
  2. ^ Horarios de trenes at Corredores Ferroviarios website, retrieved 21 March 2014
  3. ^ Ramal Retiro - J.C. Paz - Dr. Cabred
  4. ^ Planos de tiempos del BAP para una futura electrificación - SkyscraperCity, 29 April 2014.
  5. ^ Rocha, Laura (2008). "Sólo habría mejoras en 2010". La Nación. Retrieved 2008-03-06.  (Spanish)
  6. ^ "Apuran la electrificación del ferrocarril San Martín" by Antonio Rossi, Clarín, 9 Apr 2008
  7. ^ "Llega la electrificación a las vías del ferrocarril San Martín" on Pilar de Todos, 17 Jun 2008
  8. ^ Dispondrán de más servicios de trenes entre Pilar y Retiro Retrieved on 17 June 2008 (Spanish)
  9. ^ Randazzo: “La electrificación no está descartada” - Diario Pilar, 15 June 2014
  10. ^ "Trenes: le dan a Roggio el Mitre y el San Martín y a Emepa, el Roca y el Belgrano Sur", La Nación, 12 Feb 2014
  11. ^ "Las privadas volverán a operar la mayoría de las líneas ferroviarias", Clarín, 12 Feb 2014
  12. ^ "El tren San Martín a nuevo", Página/12, 22 Apr 2014
  13. ^ "Randazzo estrenó trenes, mientras los ex funcionarios declaraban", Clarín, 22 Apr 2014
  14. ^ "Un ramal con trenes nuevos, no modernos" by Diego Cabot, La Nación, Apr 2014
  15. ^ "Cómo son los nuevos trenes del San Martín", Clarín, 23 Apr 2014
  16. ^ "Ya está lista la ley que prevé más control estatal sobre los trenes", Clarín, 5 Mar 2015
  17. ^ "Estado rescindió contrato de trenes a privados y avisó que no pagará indemnizaciones", Ambito Financiero, 2 Mar 2015
  18. ^ "Buenos Aires commuter routes renationalised", Railway Gazzette, 3 Mar 2015
  19. ^ Resolution N° 171/2015 - Official Bulletin of Argentina

External links[edit]