Did you know the railways around the world?

Did you know the railways around the world?

A world of trains, railways of the world.

On August 19th of 1857 near the center of Buenos Aires, the first train in the country left the park station. Dragged by the locomotive La Porteña, this convoy belonged to the Western Railway and travelled around 6 miles up to the suburbs of the city. From then, in the next decade the construction of railways progressed significantly: in 1870 there were 455 miles of roads. And then it happened, Buenos Aires and Rosario had become two important railway centers. From Buenos Aires, the South Railway extended to Chascomús, Mar del Plata and Bahía Blanca. From Rosario, the Central railroad communicated this city with Córdoba, Santa Fe, Tucumán and Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway and the West one reached up to Cuyo. Between 1870 and 1914, most of the tracks were built, thanks to the contribution of national, French and British capital. At the end of the Second World War, with about 29,000 miles, Argentina had one of the most extensive rail networks in the world. The process of full nationalization of the railways began in 1946. The 15 companies that administered the trains at that time were regrouped in six associations: Belgrano, Mitre, Roca, San Martín, Sarmiento and Urquiza. In March 1948, during a gala ceremony, the Peronist Government announced the purchase of the British railways. The public company Ferrocarriles Argentinos, which administered the network until the 1990’s was established in 1965. During the first presidency of Carlos S. Menem, the railways returned to private hands, this started in 1991 with Ferro express Pampeano that was done for the transport of cargo. In 1995 he finished the privatization process for the railways, and these went to a dozen companies.


The Austrian railways, due to the mountainous terrain of the country, operating under very unusual conditions. Mostly, the services for goods transport are direct, having had such growth throughout time, the government has awarded new dual trains for this kind of transport, as well as some veterans made during World War II. ÖBB has developed the 1.822 series of 4,400 kW, dual tension to go through Italy. Five prototypes of the 1.822 series, were named Brennerlocks, the service is taken care of now until the formal request is carried out.


Belgium became a part of the TGV time in 1994, with their Eurostar services from London, through the Eurotunnel that operates in Brussels every hour. At its birth, the Eurostar trains used already existing railways, around Tournai and Ath until part of the Lille-Brussels high-speed line was completed in 1996. Since 1997, TGV trains link Paris to Brussels, and will link Cologne and Amsterdam in the future.

Image courtesy of sloeberfan at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of sloeberfan at Flickr.com


There are two railway networks in Bolivia, the Western network in charge of the “Andina S.A. Railway Enterprise” and the Eastern network in charge of the “Eastern S.A. Railway Enterprise”. The arrival of the 20th century meant the consolidation of the railways that linked major Andean cities of Bolivia between each other and the Pacific ports as well. Santa Cruz, one important Bolivian area was marginalized in that project, since no railway went to that region. The Santa Cruz people back then in 1921 understood that the railway and the road linking between cities could actually take them out of the isolation in which they lived, therefore in the 1920’s there were many social movements calling for the construction of the railway in their area.


Two large railway companies run the past and the present of the Canadian railways: Canadian Pacific (CP), incorporated in 1882, and Canadian National (CN), created in 1923 from the Government-owned lines. The CP and the CN were in charge of the 28.9% and 48.9% of the trains’ mileage each back in 1989.


Since the 1960’s, Paris commuting  services have been developed from the project RER, a network of regional express services connecting large distances on each side of the outskirts of the city, through tunnels. The first lines opened, between 1969 and 1972. These lines were created by joining existing ones.

Image courtesy of Renaud CHODKOWSKI at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Renaud CHODKOWSKI at Flickr.com



In Spain, several railways of narrow gauge serve the country, the most important one is the FEVE, which has a network of approximately 745 miles, most of it in the North of the country. The main line is the Ferrol-Oviedo – Santander-Bilbao, with branches mainly located in the areas of Santander and Oviedo. This network was created in 1972 by the merging of several companies. Most of the trains that circulate on these lines work on diesel units, although there are short sections of railroads in the outskirts of Gijón, Santander and Bilbao that are electrified to 1.5 kvolts. The annual traffic is of approximately 11 million passengers and 5 million tons of goods, transported mostly to the Cantabrian ports.


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