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Appendix 2

Chronology of proposed Patagonian public railways, including the 'Trans-Patagonico'

There were literally dozens of proposals for railways in Argentine Patagonia, and several more in the relevant parts of Chile. The following references, mainly from The Review of the River Plate and the South American Journal, illustrate the variety of schemes proposed. A number of proposals in Santa Cruz, Tierra del Fuego and Magallanes have been added from other sources.

Only those references relating to proposals for new public lines or progress in construction have been included, not references to new equipment or to railway operation. They have been set out more or less in chronological order and each has been given a number so that the progress of each proposal can be followed more easily. As each new proposal is first mentioned the paragraph is highlighted in bold. The numbering system is inevitably rather arbitrary, as it has not always been easy to distinguish between similar proposals but by different promoters. Railways wholly outwith the area of study have not been numbered.

Those proposals which have never yet got to the stage of construction have been coloured in red.

Jump to: 1900 1910 1920 1930 1950 1985

1884
1A Law 1539 passed by Congress on 28th October to Authorise construction of FC Central del Chubut.

1886
1B Steamer 'Vesta' arrives at Puerto Madryn on 28th July carrying materials for the construction the Central Railway of Chubut.

1888
The first proposal for a Trasandino Sur was presented to Congress in 1888 by Kincaid, Spangenberg y Cía of Buenos Aires seeking a concession for a line from Bahía Blanca to Carmen de Patagones and Viedma, with a branch line to San Blas, then via Pringles, Conesa, Choele-Choel, Roca, Fortín Viejo, lago Lacar and through the Chapélco pass to Valdivia.
Between Bahía Blanca and Chapélco the line was to be considered in three sections:–
The first section between Bahía Blanca and Viedma:– 323 km.
The second section between the Cañada Grande and the river Neuquén:– 538 km.
The third section from the river Neuquén to the Chapélco pass:– 402 km.
This gave a total length (including the branch to San Blas) of 1263 km.

The first section set-off from Bahía Blanca in a westerly direction to cross the river Sauce Chico, following thence with a southerly line to Fortín Mercedes on the river Colorado, continuing the southerly line to Cañada Grande, the junction for the branch to San Blas, passing through Patagones and Viedma.
The line from Bahía Blanca to Patagones was virtually the same as the one adopted by the FC BAP, which they completed as far as Stroeder.

Observation:– It was reported in various places in connection with the opening of the FCS line to Neuquén, that they had carried out studies which suggested that there would not be the traffic to make the line commercially viable. It could be that the studies referred to may have been undertaken in connection with this proposal which may have had some involvement with the FCS at some stage.

The sketch below shows the proposed station location in Patagones and the line to Viedman crossing the Río Negro above the port facilities in Patagones. Source:— 843, Caminos de Hierro Blogspot (Héctor Guerreiro) 26 August 2012.

 

1889
1C Opening of the FCCC to traffic.

1894
2 The 'International Railway Commission' led by a Mr. Slunk was proposing a grand 4000 mile railroad through north and south America. The Review of the River Plate commented drily that it was likely to be a good while before it reached Buenos Aires, bv and longer still to get to Patagonia. (RotRP June 2 1894 p28, and Sept 8 1894 p30)

3 A concession was granted to an unknown applicant for a 45km railway from San Blas Bay, presumably to Carmen de Patagones. (SAmJ).

1895
4 The government is presenting a bill for the construction of a railway from Bahia Blanca or General Acha to 'Fort Roca in the south'. It is to be a cheap line, with troops to be used in the construction (RotRP June 1 1895 p21). This may have been to 'Villa General Roca' on the Rio Negro east of Neuquen.

5 Messrs MacPhail and Co. are petitioning Congress for a railway from Bahia Blanca to Choele-Choel, thence via Villa General Roca to Chos Malal (RotRP June 29 1895 p21).

6A The FC Sud proposes to extend from Bahia Blanca to Neuquen, into territory which Chile is said to covet (RotRP August 10, p9). This was followed by a big article on the proposed line, and an extension to Chile was already being mooted (RotRP August 12 1895 p8-9).

6B Two alternative schemes for a railway to Neuquen were mentioned (RotRP September 21 1895 p18).

1896
7 Messrs. Diez Arena & Co put up a scheme for ports in San Blas Bay and on the Rio Negro and a railway to connect San Blas to Carmen de Patagones. (SAmJ June 20 1896 p681)

8A The Rio Negro Salt Co. had wanted to build a railway out to the coast, but withdrew its proposal after government 'persecution'. (SAmJ Oct 17 1896 p409)


1897
9 The government had received an offer from a European bank for the necessary capital to construct a railway right down into Santa Cruz. The offer was refused but 'the Ministry of the Interior will shortly ask for funds for the necessary surveys. In all probability the work will be entrusted to the Great Southern Railway Co'. (RotRP June 12 1897 p15)

8B (see above) Concession granted to the Rio Negro Salt Co. for a line from Patagones to San Blas through the salt fields. (RotRP Sept 11 1897 p11)

10 A señor Cantón who was a member of the senate (diputado) presented a scheme to link existing and proposed railways in Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz together and to Bahia Blanca. Colonization, and agricultural and mineral exploitation were behind this, with a view to creating prosperous towns at the various resource sites. (Source: originally the papers of Diputado Cantón in the Ministry of Public Works, apparently quoted in Horacio Lafuente's book 'La Chocolatería' published by Floridablanca, BsAs 1996, and in turn quoted in the webpage at <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>)

Bill approved by the senate authorising the government to make surveys for railways and canals in Rio Negro, Neuquen, Chubut and Santa Cruz. (RotRP Oct 30 1897 p13). This may be related to to the scheme mentioned in the previous paragraph.

9C One and a half page article about the proposed FCS line to Neuquen (RotRP December 11 1897 p4).

11 The reconstruction of the 1869 coal tramway at Punta Arenas to become the FC Mina Loreto was begun during this year.

1900
12 Messrs. Ernesto Piaggio & Co who obtained permission to construct a line from Port Piramide to Las Salinas Grandes in the Valdez Peninsula, have presented their plans. Gauge to be 0.76m and will be for working the salt deposits. (RotRP Aug 18 1900 p15) This line was actually built. See Chapter 13. Later in the year the plans of the FCPV were approved, as long as the use of fiscal lands did not involve the obstruction of existing roads. Vessels using the port were to have the rght to use water from wells built by the railway (RotRP October 20 1900 p13).

1D The Chubut Central Railway has signed a contract with the government for a further prolongation of 50 km towards the cordillera (RotRP August 18 1900 p15).

13 'Messrs. Schelky and Samner have informed the government that they withdraw their offer for the construction of the light railway in Patagonia'. (RotRP Sept 15 1900 p15) No other details known.

14 There are three routes which the projected light military railway can take from Neuquen. One by the Anelo road, another by the Zapala, and a third by the Limay passing through Las Lajas and Nouquin and on to Chos Malal the terminus. The Zapala route is the best, although the longest, as the cost of construction would be less (RotRP December 22 1900 p15).

1901
15 Messrs Rees and Griffiths left Buenos Aires for Chubut, surveying for a British funded scheme to build a railway from the 'pre-cordilleras' of Chubut to the far south. (SAmJ Oct 5 1901 p365).

16 Law (No. 4048, of 21-12-1900) passed granting a concession to Señor Arturo Colman/Calman to build and work a metre gauge railway from Puerto (Rada) Tilly through Col. Sarmiento to Col. San Martin away to the north west. 300km in length. A later application to vary the concession was refused in 1904, by which time the original permission had lapsed. (RotRP May 25 1901 p17, Jan 11 1902 p230, and October 1 1904 p688, also in Emilio Roberto "Indice cronologico de las leyes nacionales sobre ferrocarriles argentinos," in Boletin de la Asociacion Permanante del Congreso Panamericano de Ferrocarriles, no 33, 1927, p32).

17 Messrs. E. E. Clerice and Co. applied to congress for permission to construct and work a steam or electric tramway from the bay of San Blas to the village of Carmen de Patagones. (RotRP June 1 1901 p17).

1902
18A petition to Congress for a railway across the Rio Negro territory. No further details given. (RotRP July 26 1902 p147).

19 The national government proposes the construction of a railway from Neuquen to Las Lajas in Chile. On the FCS indicating its willingness to undertake such a route the government proposal is withdrawn.

Government informs 'several applicants,' who intend applying for railway concessions in the Chaco and Patagonia, of the land grants that will be made in such cases. It is clear that the granting of land rights along the route of new lines was a common incentive (as in the case of the FCCC) but that the government wished to standardise the conditions of such grants. (RotRP Aug 30 1902 p361) (SAmJ Sept 27 1902 p346).

1903
The usual sources not yet examined for this year.

20A Magallanes, Chile. The Comisión de Alcaldes considered building a railway from Punta Arenas to the Ultima Esperanza area around Puerto Natales. At this time there was a lot of interest in the development of Ultima Esperanza.

21 Señor Andres Arentsen proposed a 400km line from Punta Arenas north westward as far as the Seno Falcón well byond Ultima Esperanza. This seemed to ignore the icecap and glaciers obstructing some of the more northerly parts of the route! (reported in Martinic 2005).

XX As a condition of Frank Lumley, Guillermo Jones and José Campelo being granted a lease on 133,000 hectares of land in the Renihué, Yelcho, Corcovado and Palena valleys (Aysén area of Chile), they are required to construct a railway towards the frontier with Argentina. (Decreto Supremo 736 of 22nd December 1903, reported in Martinic 2005 - De la trapananda del Aysén.)

1904
22 Señor E. Piaggio applied for a concession for a railway in the Valdez Peninsula, starting at the salt fields and terminating at the port of San José. A concession for this was granted. (RotRP July 23 1904 p168, and October 8 1904 p739). This seems strange, given that a concession had already been granted (No. 9 above) for a line from the salinas to Puerto Piramide.

23 The Chilean government was studying plans for a Transandine line through Antuco, Monte de Aquila, across Lago Las Lajas by ferry, thence to Trinquico and Chos Malal to join the FCS. The route was to be electrified (SAmJ September 17 1904 p286).

24 The government of Chile approved a railway scheme promoted by Mr. George Heuisler, for a 75cm gauge line from Puerto Yates on the Reloncavi Sound east of Puerto Montt, up the south bank of the River Puelo to Colonia Nueva around El Bolson in Argentina. Five bridges were involved and the project was to be finished in two years. ( SAmJ October 15 1904 p399). One wonders what the Argentine government's attitude to this would have been.

1905
25A Early information and then discussions in the Senate about a bill to permit Señor Francis Mulhall to build a port at San Blas Bay and a railway to Choele-Choel on the FCS route to Neuquen. (RotRp May 12 1905 p947, SAmJ Sept 23 1905 p308) Later it was announced that Señor Mulhall had been granted his concession, with a branch to Carmen de Patagones. Details were given of the huge deep water anchorage at Bahía San Blas. (RotRP August 25 1905 p411, SAmJ Oct 7 1905 p361).

26 A petition by Señor Santiago Buralovich for the construction of narrow gauge (1m?) lines, to start between Junin and Pergamino (sic. ??) and run to Bahia Blanca and Carmen do Patagones. (RotRP July 7 1905 p11).

27 Sr. Luis Coenaja applied to Congress for a concession for a line from Puerto Madryn up the Chubut valley to Colonia 16 de octubre near the Andes (RotRP July 21 1905 p123).

28A Projects presented to Congress included one by Messrs Esquivel and Co. for a line from Port San Antonio to Chos Malal (RotRP July 28 1905 p180).

In August The Review of the River Plate commented that "If only half the railways are built in the Neuquen Territory for which concessions have been asked, that part of the republic will soon be in a flourishing condition. During the previous two months concessions had been applied for as follows:
29 R. Hounington, to Lake Nahuel Huapi.
30 W. Louvery, from the confluence of the rivers Neuquen and Limay to Las Lajas and via the Las Vacas pass to the Chilean frontier near Victoria.
31 Nathan and Co., from the same confluence to Pino Hachado passing through Las Lajas
.
28B Esquivel and Co. (see above), from Port San Antonio to Chos Malal, Bianchi and Ruiz; from Bahia Blanca to Chos Malal, passing through Colonia Catriel, with branches to General Acha and Fortin Uno.
32 An FC Sud project for a line from Neuquen to Port San Antonio.
33 A syndicate proposing a line along the left branch of the Rio Colorado to Pino Hachado.
(RotRP August 18 1905 p348, also SAmJ August 19 1905).

34A Messrs. A Madero and Co. proposed to construct and work a line from San Antonio north to Villa Mercedes right up in San Luis province, plus a new port at San Antonio. The proposals had been favourably commented on by the Public Works Committee. The above concession was later granted and the route was more closely specified as running north for 70km from San Antonio, then parallel to the Rio Negro, crossing it west of Choele-Choel Island, thence north through Alvear, Medano Colorado, to Mercedes, and with a branch from San Antonio to Bahia Blanca. The port concession was to last for 50 years. (RotRP August 25 1905 p411, October 6 p743).

35 Magallanes, Chile. A line from Morro Chico down to the coast of the Seño Skyring at Rio Verde was suggested in connection with gold mining speculation.

36 Señors Aurelio Ruiz and Jorge Dorzo were granted a concession on Isla Wellington in the Chilean archipelago. They proposed a 100km railway, presumably for logging purposes, though Martinic suggests this was probably more to impress the far away authorities! (reported in Martinic 2005)

1906
"With a view to developing the national territories, the government has prepared a bill for Congress, in which it asks for authorisation to construct the following light railways:
37A San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi
38A & 39A Puerto Deseado and Comodoro Rivadavia, two branches to Colonia Sarmiento, to Colonia San Martin and Colonia 16 de octubre, from Col. Sarmiento to Lago Buenos Aires (sic).

40A A Line from the union (of the above?), between Col. 16 de octubre and Lake Nahuel Huapi. The gauge to be one metre." (RotRP May 25 1906 p1209).

This is the first notice of what were to become the FFCC Patagonicos, the three separate Patagonian broad gauge lines; though note the suggestion here that they were originally to be of metre gauge. This may or may not be true. It is possibly a misinterpretation by
The Review of the River Plate, who had already shown a tendency to get muddled about Patagonian place names and locations.
Later in the year the Public Works Committee were reported to have commented favourably on these proposals (RotRP September 14 1906 p655).

41 Teodoro de Bary asks for a concession for a line from San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi (RotRP June 8 1906 p1341).

42 Mr. Alfred J. Dickinson has applied to Congress for a concession for a line from Puerto Deseado to the Andes near Lake Nahuel Huapi. For each kilometre he asks for a bonus of 2500 hectares of fiscal lands on both sides of the line (RotRP July 6 1906 p13).

43A Señor Luis L. Esquivel (see no. 24 above ) was petitioning for the right to construct a line from Buenos Aires to San Antonio with branches to Ayacucho, Bahia Blanca, Puerto Militar, Mar del Plata and the capital of Rio Negro. (SAmJ Sept 1 1906 p222, and RotRP August 3 1906 p291).

The Great Southern applied for a concession to construct a number of lines including the following:
44A An extension of their Neuquen line
to the Chilean frontier, through Las Lajas or Codique.
45A A branch from Medanos (south of Bahia Blanca), to south of the Rio Colorado, with the right to extend to Carmen de Patagones when the traffic justifies it (RotRP August 17 1906 p409). This line was eventually built, initially by the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, later reverting to the Great Southern, and eventually arriving in Patagones in 1922.

46 Messrs Sigifredo Nathan had also sought a concession for the line to Chile but the FCS proposal was preferentially submitted to congress in August of this year.

1E The representative of the Central Chubut Railway has applied to Congress for leave to extend their line from Trelew to Paso de los Indios in the Chubut Territory (RotRP September 14 1906 p655).

34B The Senate was reported to have sanctioned concessions for a number of lines including that proposed by Señor Madero (See above). This was for a line from San Antonio to Villa Mercedes, with the modification of a branch to be built from his Km 65 east to the 5th meridian (?) and then to Bahia Blanca. (RotRP September 28 1906 p791).

In October the following railway projects were reportedly to be treated (amongst others) during forthcoming special sessions of Congress:
28C (see above) Esquivel and Co. from San Antonio to Chos Malal.
47 Unnamed proposal from the confluence of the rivers Limay and Neuquen to the Chilean frontier. (Possibly no. 21, 22 or 33 above).
48 Unnamed proposal from Bahia Blanca to Chile.

43B Proposal of Esquivel and Co for a line fom Buenos Aires to San Antonio.
(RotRP October 19 1906 p975).

The Public Works Committee of the Senate presented a report on the petition of the Great Southern to construct various branches including:
44B A prolongation of the Neuquen line to the Chilean frontier passing near to Las Lajas and Codique depending on the most favourable surveys (RotRP November 23 1906 p1293). No comment was made.

The Senate was reported as holding over the following railway proposals until the ordinary sessions in 1907:
49 R. Huntingdon's proposal for an electric railway from the rivers Limay and Neuquen to Lake Nahuel Huapi.
50 (see no. 14 above, but that concession having lapsed, this was presumably a new scheme) Arturo Colman's various proposed lines in Patagonia.
51 Menendez and Munoz's various proposals in the Territories of Chubut, Santa Cruz and Rio Negro, and a commercial port on the Atlantic.
(RotRP November 23 1906 p1293)

52 In the Aysén area of Chile, Messrs Frank Lumley, José Campelo and Guilermo Jones obtained a concession to work a large area for sheep and timber as the Sociedad Ganadera e Industrial Yelcho-Palena. They proposed to build a railway from the coast of the Golfo de Corcovado to the Argentine border.

1907
Nothing relevant in the South American Journal. Review of the River Plate not yet consulted.

53 Pyñeiro, Sorondo y Cia. proposed opening up Argentina's Santa Cruz province by building a railway from Rio Gallegos to Lago Argentino.

1908
37B-40B The Ministry of Public Works will shortly order surveys for a network of light railways in Patagonia. NB 'light railways' does not mean narrow gauge, merely lightly built. (RotRP Mar 27 1908)

44C Law approved (no. 5535) including permission for BAGS/FCS to extend their Neuquen line to Longuimay or Pino Hachado on the Chilean frontier. (RotRP June 12 1908)

1F
FCCC applying to extend to Paso do Indios and was asking for assistance in the form of 5% gold bonds in exchange for which the railway would work the line for 20 years before handing it over to the state. (RotRP July 10 1908)

54A F. Doll & Co. granted concession for metre gauge lines from Gnl. Acha to Port San Antonio, Salliquela (north of Carhué) to Port San Antonio, and Gnl. Acha to Bahia Blanca. (RotRP Aug 7 1908)


1G FC Central del Chubut has been refused a concession to extend to Paso de Indios. (RotRP Aug 7 1908)

37C-40C Government engineers surveying light railways in the far south have sailed for their destination. (RotRP Nov 13 1908)

1909
44D Bill passed for the Great Southern's extension to Chile. Four years allowed for the surveys in the mountains, but the more easterly 180km must be begun without delay as in the original concession (SAmJ October 23 1909 p455).

55 An engineer Debenedetti was instructed (by the Ministry of Public Works?) to survey for a possible port at Bustamante near Comodoro Rivadavia. (SAmJ December 4 1909 p628).

37D The state railway line from San Antonio towards Lake Nahuel Huapi is now under construction, making good progress and expected to reach Valcheta by January 1910. Several new moles/muelles have been constructed at San Antonio. (SAmJ December 11 1909 p654).

1910
Usual sources not yet examined for this year.

Perito Moreno, a member of the senate well known for his explorations in Patagonia, suggested four railways to be constructed in an extension of the Law 5559 state railway proposals. These were to be:
57 From Rio Gallegos west to the Chilean border via Rio Turbio to the Rio Vizcachas.
58 From San Julian towards lakes Belgrano and Argentino, with a junction with the line from Puerto Deseado to Lago Nahuel Huapi and the north.
59 From Rawson up the Chubut valley to Tecka where it would join the same Puerto Deseado to Nahuel Huapi line.
60 From Lago Nahuel Huapi to Chile via San Martin.
(Quoted in the webpage at <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>
)

1911
61 A French syndicate was interested in Puerto San Blas and the proposed railway to Patagones and Choele-Choel. (RotRP May 17 1911 p697).

1H The FC Central del Chubut was applying to Congress again for leave to construct an extension west from Gaiman to Pas de los Indios (sic) with the same assistance as in 1908 but with the line to be operated by the FCCC for 25 years rather than 20 before reverting to the state. (RotRP May 26 1911 p1377)

25B Señor Mulhall was applying for more time to build the line from San Blas to Choele-Choel, now with a branch to Patagones being mentioned. (RotRP May 26 1911 p1379)

38-40D Government approves plans for the third section of the line from Puerto Deseado to Lake Buenos Aires - Km240-Km320 where it will join the line from San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi (sic) (RotRP June 2 1911 p1445). The reference to a junction was more likely to be with the line from Comodoro Rivadavia.

On the FCE lines under construction, the rails have reached:
37E Km 254 from San Antonio
38E Km 62 from Comodoro Rivadavia
39E Km 144 from Puerto Deseado.
(RotRP June 16 1911 p1579).

38F The plans for the FCE route from Comodoro Rivadavia to Lago Buenos Aires have been amended to save money. (RotRP June 23 1911 p1649).

55B The Public Works committee was reported to be looking favourably on F. Doll and Co's proposals for railways from General Acha and Carhué to 'Puerto' San Antonio and from General Acha to Bahía Blanca with a branch to San Blas. (RotRP June 23 1911 p1649)

62 An engineer Edwards was petitioning for a concession to build a 'cable' railway from Buenos Aires to Río Negro and from Patagones to Entre Rios. Perhaps this meant an electrified line? (RotRP Aug 11 1911 p 359)

55C F. Doll and Co's concessions as mentioned above, were approved with the addition of branches including one from the Gen Acha - San Antonio line towards the Bahía Blanca line. The gauge was to be 1.676m. (RotRP Aug 25 1911 p493)

44B Reference to the Buenos Aires and Pacific's proposed line from Bahía Blanca to Patagones. Extension of time requested. Suggested that it will reach the Rio Colorado by 1912 (Km 103), Km 200 by May 1914, Villa Olga by May 1916, and would be complete with four branches by 1919. (RotRP Aug 25 1911 p493)

63A A bill was approved for a railway from Puerto Gallegos (sic) to Lago Argentino with several branches, possibly including one to Rio Turbio. This was to be 0.75m gauge and was promoted by one Norberto R. Cobos. (RotRP Sept 22 1911 p757, and <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>).

55D Messrs F. Doll and Co's concessions (see above) were now promulgated: Plans to be ready in two years; 50km to have been built in four years and all completed within seven years. (RotRP Sept 29 1911 p821)

64 Señor Ludovico van Platen asked for a concession from Punta Loyola to Rio Vizcacha in Chile, but it was not confirmed. (Source <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>).

The Chilean state railways main north-south route has been completed through to Puerto Montt. (RotRP October 20 1911 p1017).

65A A concession was granted to the FC Sud for a line from Darwin (on their Neuquen route) to Choele-Choel and thence via Conesa through an irrigated area to San Antonio. (RotRP September 29 1911 p821, and November 3 1911 p1141)

39F The Puerto Deseado FCE line was opened to Km 200 on 27th November. (RotRP December 1 1911 p1395).

1912
45C The first 100km of the BAP's new line south from Bahía Blanca will be completed by May. ie. to the Rio Colorado crossing. (RotRP Mar 29 1912 p785)

66 Mr. Bailey Willis's report on possible routes for a rail link between Lake Nahuel Huapi (Bariloche) and Chile, has been received by the Ministry of Public Works. (RotRP Mar 29 1912 p 722).

37F The FCE line from San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi is now open to Km 326 (halfway). Work is in progress to Km 380, and there is then a level valley for 100km. The line may be complete to Bariloche within two years (RotRP March 8 1912 p593, March 22(?) 1912 p722)

67 The Chilean state railway engineers' department have received the Ancud-Castro line from the contractors (RotRP April 12 1912 p913).

25C Mulhall's concession from San Blas to Choele-Choel, branch to Patagones, and port at San Blas, has now lapsed. (RotRP April 26 1912 p1041). But see below.

37G Rails on the Lake Nahuel Huapi line have reached Km 340, and earthworks to Km 380. Work is about to be suspended for the winter. (RotRP May 3 1912 p1105).

Construction of FCE lines is more or less at a standstill owing to lack of funds. The new lines are to be cut short at:
37H Lake Nahuel Huapi.
38G Col. Sarmiento.
39G Km 321.
Discussion of ways of encouraging settlement in the areas served by these lines. (RotRP August 30 1912 p525).

45D The first 102km of the Bahia Blanca - Patagones line will be opened on September 1. (RotRP August 30 1912 p531).

6D, 44E The Great Southern line to Neuquen should be complete to Zapala by the end of the year (RotRP Sptember 6 1912 p595).

55E F. Doll's proposed lines still being discussed. Public Works committee of the Senate still reported favourable to this. (RotRP Sept 27 1912 p723)

The new FCE lines have rails laid as far as:
37I San Antonio - Lake Nahuel Huapi to Km 340.
38H Comodoro Rivadavia - Col. Sarmiento to Km 146, and then Km 165.
39H Puerto Deseado line to Km 245.
(RotRP September 27 1912 p723, and October 25 1912 p1043)).

1J A report that the FC Central del Chubut will be extended to Paso de los Indios next year. Good news for colonies and land companies. (RotRP Nov 22 1912 p1301)

37J, 38I & 39I The Farquhar syndicate (established railway investors in the north of the country) have offered to buy the new FCE lines, ands a French company has offered to complete the FCE lines (RotRP December 6 p1427). Another project to complete the FCE routes was also mentioned (RotRP December 13 1912 p1561).

1K FC Central del Chubut reports that there has been no progress with their application to extend to Paso de Indios but that 12 mile extension is more likely (ie. to Valle Superior or Dolavon). (RotRP Dec 20 1912 p1561)

1913
68 News from Chile reports that a French syndicate was studying a project for a railway to serve 'Patagonia Occidental' (ie along the Chilean side of the border probably in the Aysen area). This would be 150km long, to take Argentine produce into Chile, and also to work the 'camps' (estancias) of the French Cordeau Camalez company. 5M Francs was estimated to be the cost. (RotRP February 14 1913 p401).

1L The government has approved plans and details for a branch line of 34 1/2 km to be built by the Central Chubut Railway, in accordance with the concession of last November (RotRP February 21 1913 p471). This is confusing, for the extension to Dolavon was only of 19km and there had been no mention of the concession being granted in the reports (above) in late 1912.

6E, 44F The extension of the Great Southern Railway 'to Chile' is being pushed ahead. Rails have been laid to Km136 and earthworks are in progress to Km158 (RotRP February 28 1913 p533).

45D The Bahia Blanca to Patagones line will reach Km163 by the end of July. This will be a very valuable feeder for the company (RotRP June 27 1913 p1619).

63B Deputies have approved a bill granting a concession to Mr. Norberto Cobos for the construction and working of the following lines:
• A line from Puerto Gallegos or its vicinity in the Santa Cruz territory, crossing the river Gallegos in Guar-Aike using the existing bridge or at some other spot and going a north-westerly direction to terminate in the proximity of Lake Argentine.
• A line starting from Guar-Aike or other convenient point, and terminating in Lot 16, Fraction A, Section 1 of the same territory.
• A branch starting from Km55 of the above line (presumably the first-mentioned or main line), terminating in Lot 10, Fraction C, Section 31 of the same territory.
Total length to be 400km, and the gauge to be not less than 75cm and to be fixed at the time of contract signing.
Work to be commenced within six months of approbation of plans, and within 18 months 50km of line to be finished; the entire line to be built within six years. (RotRP August 15 1913 p407).

25D The Public Works Committee of the Senate have reported on the following bills (including): Prorogue (extension of time) to F. Mulhall for constructing a line from San Blas to Choele-Choel, with a wharf at Carmen de Patagones. (RotRP September 19 1913 p731).

69A The Compania Mercantil del Chubut (a co-operative of Chubut valley farmers) have nearly completed surveys for a railway from the mouth of the river Chubut to the mouth of the Zanja. The inhabitants are of the opinion that the goverment should assist the company; all works within the valley have been done without government assistance up until this point (RotRP September 26 1913 p795).

55F The Public Works Committee of the Deputies have reported favourably on the bill received from the Senate granting a concession to F. Doll and Co. for the construction and working of the following lines:
• General Acha to San Antonio.
• Carhue to San Antonio.
• General Acha to Bahia Blanca.
• A branch between line 2 and line 3.
• A branch from line 2 to meridian 5 (?) and terminating at San Blas Bay.
(RotRP September 26 1913 p795).

63C The Public Works Committee of the Deputies have commented favourably on the bill in revision for Mr. N. Cobos to build and work various railways in Santa Cruz Territory. (RotRP September 26 1913 p795).

6F The Great Southern Railway's extension to Chile is now at Km 156 (Ramon Castro) (RotRP October 16 1913 p925).

37K The earthworks of the state railways line to Lake Nahuel Huapi are now complete to Maquinchao (Km 392) (RotRP October 16 1913 p927).

69B The Soc. Anon. Co-operativa y Cia. Mercantil Chubut have applied to Congress for a concession in the Chubut valley. For a railway 100km in length from the mouth of the Chubut to Toma de la Zanja. The owners will be the colonists in the valley. (RotRP October 16 1913 p927).

37L The Rio Negro Company annual report explains that the state railway to Lake Nahuel Huapi nows runs through the company's territory. Negotiations are in progress for a private siding, and a township may be built at Mari Laufquen station. (RotRp November 28 1913 p1371).

6G, 44G The Great Southern Company has applied to the Railway Department for permission to open the Neuquen extension line as far as Zapala, 176km from Neuquén. (RotRP December 19 1913 p1571).

1914
44H The Ministry of Public Works has authorised the Great Southern Railway to suspend construction works towards the Chilian frontier at Las Lajas, resuming construction either partially or totally when necessary in the opinion of the government. This has been granted in view of the fact that construction on the Chilian side has not yet commenced. Further prolongation on the Argentine side is therefore unnecessary (RotRP Jan 16 1914 p153).

The Government Railways Board have reported to the Min. of Public Works on the present position of the national railway lines:
37M San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi, rails complete to km. 384, then 387.
38J Comodoro Rivadavia, rails complete to km. 187, then 188.
39J Puerto Deseado to Lake Buenos Aires, rails complete to km. 262.
(RotRP January 16 1914 p153, and then February 6 1914 p347).

38K The line of the state railway from Comodoro Rivadavia to Col. Sarmiento was opened to public services on May 25. A special train covered the 200km in five hours (RotRP May 29 1914 p1361).

The Ministry of the Interior are studying a project for a service of motor wagons for cargo transport in the National Territories, in Misiones, and also from Cholila and Crumayo (Patagonia) to Maganichao (Maquinchao?), the current terminal of the San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi line). The geological formation of the soil in Patagonia is said to be favourable to this means of transport (RotRP June 5 1914 p1423).

1M The Ministries of Public Works and Agriculture have under consideration a proposal by the Central Chubut Railway Co. for an extension to its lines. A modification of a former proposal by which it undertook to prolong its lines to 250km to Paso del Indio, in exchange for cession to the company by the government of 400 sq. leagues of land. Negotiations on this basis did not mature, the present proposal asks that the land be leased to it with an option of definite purchase later on (RotRP July 14 1914 p215).

63D Señor Norberto B. Cobos has presented a petition to Congress asking for authority to construct and exploit a railway (all details as in 1913 above). The foregoing concession has already been studied and approved by both Chambers of Congress but not converted into law owing to the Chamber of Deputies not having had time to despatch a modification introduced into it by the Senate. This is the motive for the repetition of the petition (RotRP July 31 1914 p277).

The outbreak of the Great War in early August clearly had a devastating effect on railway proposals even this far away: South American economies were hit hard by escalating coal prices, lack of contact with distracted British and European investors and suppliers, and a general uncertainty. Whilst the state railways had already run out of money for extensions, there is a drastic reduction in the number of other schemes proposed or progressed during the subsequent five years (RotRP July 31 1914 p277).

37N A government decree of 12th October authorises the constructors of the Diamante to Curuzu Cuatia railway to transfer to the San Antonio - Lake Nahuel Huapi railway 50km of rails for the sum of $160,000m/n (RotRP October 23 1914 p963).

38L & 39KDecree issued authorising the Directorate General of Railways to hand over to the State Railways the recently completed lines from Comodoro Rivadavia and from Puerto Deseado. A separate report stated that the Administrator General of the State Railways had appointed a commission to take over the lines mentioned above. With the inclusion of these new lines, the State Railways' system now had an approximate length of 5500km, of which 600km were of broad gauge. (RotRP October 30 1914 p1022).

The question of the incorporation (sic) of the state railway lines (including):
39L Puerto Deseado to Lake Buenos Aires
38M Comodoro Rivadavia to Lake Nahuel Huapi
under the State Railways' Administration Department is at present under consideration by the President of the Republic. (RotRP December 18 1914 p1416). It is not clear what the significance of this paragraph is or whether this referred to the sections already constructed, or to the parts not yet begun.

20B Señor Juan Enrique Precht was writing in the Chilean papers La Unión and El Mercurio suggesting that it was time to build a railway from Ultima Esperanza down to Punta Arenas, for the sake of general progress but also to affirm Chilean sovereignty in the area. (Martinic 2005)

1915
37O The progress of the state railways under construction at the 31st January have been reported to the Min. of Public Works. From San Antonio rails have been laid to km. 407.900 (RotRP January 8 1915 p67).

1N The Central Chubut Railway has been authorised to construct provisional passenger stations and goods sheds at kms. 103 and 144.63 (RotRP February 19 1915 p402). These locations correspond to Dolavon and Campamento Villegas. The latter place was well beyond that route for which a concession had been granted, and indeed was not reached until the 1920s after the state takeover, so someone was ahead of the game.

The Ministry of the Interior has formulated regulations and established tariffs for an automobile service in the Territories of Neuquen, Rio Negro and Chubut:
• Zapiola to San Martin de los Andes
• Zapiola to Las Lajas
• Neuquen to Bariloche
• The railhead of the San Antonio - Lake Nahuel Huapi line to Esquival (?) via Pilcaniyeu, Rawson and Esquel.
(RotRP March 12 1915 p571). This last route doesn't make much sense. Zapiola may well mean Zapala.

38N A series of articles on the southern territories were appearing in La Prensa in the early part of the year. Comments on the Comodoro Rivadavia line to Col. Sarmiento were reproduced in The Review of the River Plate in detail: In particular there was a recommendation that the road from Col. Sarmiento north-westward to Col. 16 de octubre and Col. San Martin be improved from its present 'intransitable' state. At present the road could only be used to reach the railway by following a 36 league loop to the station at Km. 110 (later known as Cañadon Lagarto). This meant that the upper 20 leagues of the railway were unused. The suggestion was that the expenditure of $180,000m/n on the direct road to Col. Sarmiento would result in a 40% increase in traffic revenue on the railway. (RotRP April 23 1915 p907).

1O Representatives of the Central Chubut Railway have visited the Ministry of Public Works with regard to the construction of a (road) bridge across the Chubut river at an estimated cost of $90,000m/n. The railway is willing to build this bridge in collaboration with the inhabitants of the territory, provided that the National Government would contribute $20,000m/n towards the cost. Dr. Moyano is taking up the question with the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture before giving a definite reply. (RotRP October 1 1915 po751). The bridge proposed was at Dolavon and would greatly ease the access to the railway from the upper valley.

1P The Central Chubut Railway were authorised by the Min. of Public Works to open the 'branch line' from Km. 70 to Km. 104.633 (RotRP October 15 1915 p863). This was the extension from Gaiman to Valle Superieur or Dolavon.

1916
45E The correspondent of La Nacion reports a petition from the businesses in Patagones asking for the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway to complete the line from Bahia Blanca to Patagones, as there is only 90km to go and the company seems to be in a position to complete the task, all material being to hand at Bordeu station (RotRP January 28 1916 p199).

The Administrator General of the State Railways complains to the Min. of Finance that Puerto Madryn being a free port puts San Antonio at a disadvantage and prejudices the traffic of the San Antonio railway. The Min. of Finance accepts the justice of the complaint and is considering the matter (RotRP June 2 1916 p1211).

From June onwards until mid 1918, the weekly income of each State Railways line in Patagonia was published in The Review of the River Plate.

70 A report from the Menendez Behety company sets out their proposals for a frigorifico on the south side of the Rio Grande at its mouth on the Atlantic coast of Tierra del Fuego. (RotRP November 10 1916 p1065). Whilst there was no mention of any railway, this plant did in fact result in the construction of two lines - the metre gauge one from Estancia Primera Argentina and the 60cm network within the works itself.

1917
71A Señors Clementi Onelli and José Ramon Villalonga have formulated an offer to the Min. of Public Works for the exploitation by the government of the coal mines (sic) denounced (?) by them in the Territory of Santa Cruz. It is proposed that the government should extract for the navy and for the national dependencies all the coal it requires free of charge. The mines referred to are said to occupy a wide extension comprised between Lake San Martin and the rivers Carbon and Tucu-Tucu. Transport would be by tractors as far as the ports of Santa Cruz and San Julian until such time as the railway is constructed. (RotRP March 9 1917 p533). This paragraph implies that that there was an earlier report, perhaps explaining the context rather more clearly. The coal was later exploited briefly as the Mina La Criolla.

The new road bridge (at the terminus of the) Central Railway of Chubut has been authorised by the government. (RotRP April 6 1917 p159b).

71B The manager of the State Railway at San Antonio has returned from the 'Marten' area where an important coal mine has been discovered - 300km from the nearest station. (RotRP April 13 1917 p813). This may be the coal deposit mentioned above at Lake San Martin; it would be just about 300km from Las Heras station on the Puerto Deseado line.

72A A report in La Nacion on coal in San Julian is quoted. A naval lieutenant, M. Cacavelos investigated the deposits. At present transport to the shore is by lorry, to be replaced by a Decauville line carrying 200 tons per day. (RotRP June 22 1917 p1391). No precise location was given, but this is probably what later became the Mina Cabo Curioso on the coast north of San Julian. All sorts of coal deposits were being explored during the war because of the difficulty of getting good quality British coal.

20C Senator Luis Claro Solar was pushing the merits of a Punta Arenas to Ultima Esperanza railway. At the end of July the Congreso Nacional considered a motion to grant a concession for such a project. The motion was passed to the Commission for industries and public works, who returned it to the Congress with recommendations that it be passed. After much debate about the funding of the project, it was passed to the upper chamber but got no further. (Much detail in Martinic 2005)

1918
The Review of the River Plate was increasingly filled with reports of labour disputes on the railways and in other industries from late 1917 onwards. The Russian Revolution had inspired thoughts of insurrection in both Argentina and Chile. Paragraphs dealt with each of the main Patagonian lines at various dates, eg 700,000kg of wool waiting on the dockside at Puerto Deseado owing to shortage of labour (RotRP Jan 18 1918 p155); the labouring population of Trelew including station staff on the FCCC on strike (RotRP Jan 18 1918 p169); strikes on the railways at Puerto Deseado and Comodoro Rivadavia now over and malicious damage to track on the Zapala line of the FCS (RotRP May 3 1918 p1099); train services at Puerto Deseado suspended owing to a shortage of fuel (RotRP August 23 1918 p487); workers on the Comodoro Rivadavia line on strike and management taken over by a naval lieutenant (RotRP September 20 1918 p751); and a mention of strikers on the San Antonio line (RotRP January 10 1919 p95).

1919
The road bridge at Dolavon on the Central Chubut railway is reported completed (RotRP January 24 1919 p235).

The General Board of Hydraulic Works has submitted to the Min. of Public Works three alternative projects for the port of Comodoro Rivadavia. The largest of the three schemes has been recommended. This will involve the construction of a muelle of 100m x 12m, and with a minimum 3m depth of water. The necessary stone will be available on the State Railways route from Comodoro Rivadavia (RotRP February 7 1919 p363).

Progress in prospecting for coal deposits at Epuyen in Neuquen province. Two British companies are apparently interested in exploiting the deposits. (RotRP May 6 p1193).

Resumption of customs duties south of latitude 42 will hit industry hard. (RotRP Sept 26 p 831).

140 union members in Trelew imprisoned on charges of extortion. No disorder but most businesses closed. (RotRP December 19 p 1607.)

63E Mauricio Braun and Alejandro Cobos, working as the Compañia Ferrocarrilera de la Patagonia Austral, revived N. Cobos' proposals for a line from Rio Gallegos to Lago Argentino and also suggested branches to run to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales.

73 The last proposal frightened the businesses of Punta Arenas, who Considered that their shipping routes would suffer and that trade would be lost to Rio Gallegos. They counter-attacked with a proposed railway up to the Ultima Esperanza area. This would have run via Cabeza del Mar, Laguna Blanca, Morro Chico, Chorillo de los Alambres, Llanuras de Diana, between lakes Balmaceda and Diana, to Puerto Natales and on to Cerro Castillo - a total of 325 km. Mateo Martinic suggests that a formal survey was made as far as Cabeza del Mar, but that the 'Captains' of the great Punta Arenas business houses disliked the proposed route along the coast, considering it too vulnerable in time of war. (Martinic ???? & 2005)

XX The Anglo-Chilean Pastoral Company's concessions in the Rio Cisnes area of Aysén province were taken over at this time by a Señor John Dun, who promised amongst other things to present plans for a railway from Puerto Chacabuco to the Argentine frontier. (Source: p158 of M. Martinic's book De la Trapananda al Aysén.)

1920
Agreement reached between the Cia. Argentina de Comodoro Rivadavia and the Buenos Aires Western, Buenos Aires Great Southern and Buenos Aires & Pacific railways for the latter to take over the former's oil interests for ten years with an option to extend. This created the Cia. Ferrocarrilera later active in the oil exploration field. (RotRP June 25 p1712).

Señor Beschtedt appointed to be Administrator of the FFCC del Estado. There were protests on the grounds that Señor Beschtedt had never held public office and had no technical knowledge of railways. However, he claimed that he would therefore be free of prejudice and unbiased. When asked about future extensions to the FCE system he replies in the affirmative but mentions only the northern route from Salta to Antofagasta and the desirability of direct FCE access to Buenos Aires. (RotRP August 13 p445, Sept 10 p 707, Sept 17 p 753).

Ministry of Public Works calling for tenders for harbour works at Comodoro Rivadavia - a breakwater and a muelle for the loading of oil. total cost $1.700.000m/n. (RotRP Sept 10 p707).

Agreement reached for the FC Sud to take over and complete the BAP's line from Bahía Blanca south towards Patagones. The finances to be settled over several years. Construction work from Stroeder already restarted. (RotRP Oct 23 p1089).

74 The technical departments of the Ministry of Public Works are engaged on a study of proposed new railway lines in the national territories (eg Santa Cruz). The lines projected in Santa Cruz would run from Puerto Gallegos for 135km to the Chilian frontier in the direction of Punta Arenas, and with a branch to connect to the Puerto Deseado railway. (RotRP November 5 p1219).

75 Another project presented by a Buenos Aires firm is for a narrow gauge line from San Julian to Hospitaleche (?), thence with three branches to Lago Argentino, to Lago Buenos Aires, and to the boundary between fractions A & B of Section Xll. The applicat also wishes to connect to the Puerto Deseado railway. (RotRP November 5 p1219).

Strikes, bombs etc. in Santa Cruz. FCCC staff have joined the strike in Chubut. (RotRP December 10 p 1561 and1563).

45F Direct trains introduced from Buenos Aires to Stroeder. 68km still to be completed. FC Sud takes over at the end of the year.

1921
45G The line under construction south from Bahia Blanca to Patagones passed from the FCBAP to the FCS at the beginning of the year. (RotRP January 7?). Later reports suggested work was proceeding beyond Stroeder (RotRp May 20 p1277); rails were being laid at 1km per day and have reached Cañada de Querencia only 9 leagues from Patagones (RotRP July 15 1921 p173); and now only 7 leagues from Patagones and making good progress (RotRP August 5 1921 p369).

76 Petroleum from Comodoro Rivadavia is to be supplied to the Puerto Deseado line by motor wagon between Holdich (on the Sarmiento line) and Las Heras. Later a Decauville line between the two stations may be constructed. (RotRP July 29 1921 p301)

The government plans three extensions to the FCE lines:
44I Zapala to Longuimay and Mallin Chileña.
73A Patagones to San Antonio to link the Bariloche line to the FCS.
37P Completion of the Bariloche line.
(RotRP October 7 1921 p951).

78A-79A Announcement of 1000km network of light railways (75cm gauge) for southern territories. Señor Bechsted, the Adminstrator of the FCE gave further details: 'Decauville' lines from terminals of state railways to areas producing wool and other pastoral products, based on systems giving very good results in North America and in Bolivia. Estancieros to pay 'clips of flocks for three years' to pay for construction traversing their properties. Comodoro Rivadavia oil to be used as fuel, and lines will distribute oil throughout the area to promote industrial enterprises. (RotRP October 21 1921 p1049, p1053-4, and p1072).

45H More explanation of transfer of Patagones line to FCS. Originally owned by Bahia Blanca and North Western Railway but part funded by Buenos Aires and Pacific and originally operated by them. Concession was originally a joint one. (RotRP November 11, and November 18 1921 p1330).

80 New muelle to be built at San Antonio Este to permit import of new equipment for narrow gauge network, and 44km of line needed to link this with San Antonio Oeste. (RotRP November 18 1921 p1329).

78B Deputation from Chubut received by President of Republic. Petition signed by 500 businesses and landowners. Petitioners suggest that Puerto Madryn should be the start of a state railway line and that the FCCC should be taken over. The President assured the deputation that the government would shortly undertake construction of such a line. "It is not entirely surprising therefore, to learn that the deputation left the presidential presence extremely pleased." (RotRP December 30 1921 p1709).

37Q News of renewed work west of Km 448 on the line to Bariloche. (RotRP December 30 1921 p1732).

1922
39M Puerto Deseado line to use oil fuel, and road therefore needed from Comodoro Rivadavia line Km 95 to end of Puerto Deseado line to supply that fuel (RotRP p1919?).

44J Administrator of FCE visited Neuquen to see the projected Trans-Andean route (RotRP January 27 1922).

State railway engineers off to Puerto Madryn to survey the proposed light railways. Another group is already at Colonia 16 de octubre.
78C The line west up the Chubut valley is to go via Las Plumas, Paso de Indios, Tecka, Col. 16 de octubre, and Esquel;
79B thence to Leleque, Epuyen, El Maiten, and Norquinco to Nahuel Niyen on the broad gauge line to Bariloche. (RotRP February 10 1922).

81A A decision has been made to build a branch from the regauged FCCC to Rawson. (RotRP June 2 1922).

Inspeccion General de Puertos en el Atlantico have been instructed to start preliminary works for a new port at Comodoro Rivadavia. (RotRP July 1922).

1923
78D-79C Survey of proposed narrow gauge routes reported complete. (RotRP Jan 12 1923).

81B On Thursday 22 March the first locomotive arrived in Rawson. (RotRP March 30 1923 p785).

77B The line from San Antonio to Viedma had now reached Km 196. (RotRP August 171923 ).

82A line was proposed (by Señor Aramburu?) to link Comodoro Rivadavia with the FC Sud. (Source: <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>).

A bill has been put forward for Congress empowering the FCE to build or continue to build a number of new lines, including:
78D Puerto Madryn to Col. 16 de octubre.
77C San Antonio to Carmen de Patagones (presumably including the necessary bridge over the Rio Negro).
37R Km 448 to Lake Nahuel Huapi (Bariloche).
79C Huano Luan (Km465) to Fofocahuel and Arroyo Pescado. ie. the start of what became the Esquel line.
83 Las Heras via Los Monos to best point on Comodoro Rivadavia - Sarmiento line.
(RotRP September 28 1923).

1924
75D FCE line open eastward from San Antonio to Km 104. (RotRP July 24 1924).

Increasing concern at mismanagement of FCE. Señor Beschtedt resigns in September. (RotRP September 26 1924 p813-7, October 3 1924 p993-7, and October 17 1924).

1925
78E FC Central del Chubut extension to Las Plumas opened January 15. 200km still to be constructed. (RotRP January 23 1925 p1937).

Whole page article on mismanagement of FCE. (RotRP April 24 1925 p47).

Report by Señor Enrique Perez, Administrator General of the FFCC del Estado on the railways being built in (Argentine) Patagonia.
77D This confirmed the intention to join the San Antonio to Lago Nahuel Huapi line of the FCE to the FCS by means of a bridge downstream from Viedma,
37S but conversely terminated the intention to build beyond the terminus at San Carlos de Bariloche to the Llao-Llao peninsula.
79D It also strongly recommended that all efforts be put into the construction of the narrow gauge line from (Ing. Jacobacci) towards Esquel,
78F and that the extension of the FCCC beyond Alto de las Plumas be put on hold.

84 Magallanes, Chile. Señor Enrique Rothenburg, the holder of the mining rights up in the Sierra Baguales northeast of the Torres del Paine, proposed a railway from there to Puerto Natales to get the coal deposits out. However, exploitation of the coal proved to be uneconomic.

1926
Another editorial about mismanagement of FCE. Suppliers overseas not yet paid. (RotRP April 30 1926 p9).

Article about FCS building line from Dolores to Ajo up in Buenos Aires province; FCE counter with a proposal for a 75cm gauge line, presumably to try and use up the surplus stock. (RotRP September 17 1926 p19).

1927
85 Ministry of Public Works permits FCE to spend $72,000 on survey of route from Choele-Choel to Valcheta. (RotRP April 15 1927 p31).

86A Residents of lower Rio Negro valley still trying to get FCS interested in line from Patagones to Choele-Choel. (RotRP April 22 1927 p29).

87 Ministry of Public Works are studying the possibility of a 75cm gauge line from Fuerte General Roca to Maquinchao on the Bariloche route.

88 "The Ministry of Public Works has authorised the management of the state railways to hand over to the Ministry of Marine for the extension of the Puerto Belgrano strategic railway, 50kms of permanent way of 0.75m gauge from the existing stock at Puerto Madryn. (RotRP June 10 1927 p33). It has since been suggested that this was really for the proposed line from Rio Grande to Tolhuin in Tierra del Fuego which at the time was administered by the Navy. See reference in 1947.

77E Contract signed for the building of the Viedma - Patagones bridge. (RotRP June 24 1927 p31).

37T Only 60km to go to reach Bariloche. (RotRP July 29 1927).

86B FCS proposes line from Choele-Choel to Patagones. To be presented to Congress. (RotRP August 19 1927).

89 Diputado Guillermo Fonrouge proposed a broad gauge line down the cordillera (presumably from Lago Nahuel Huapi to the Comodoro Rivadavia line at Col. Sarmiento), thence a link from Holdich to Las Heras, from Pto Deseado onwards to San Julian, and finally down the old Route 3 road to Rio Gallegos. (Source: <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>).

90 Hilarion Lenzi is supposed to have put forward a proposal for a line from Rio Gallegos to Rio Turbio and Lago Argentino, similar to that proposed by Senor Cobos. However, this did not get as far as Congress. (Source: <www.oni.escuelas.edu.ar/2002/santa_cruz/historiadelferrocarril.htm>).

1928

1929
86C Rio Negro residents still pushing for a line from Choele-Choel to Patagones. (RotRP July 5 p31 1929).

44K Preparations have been made for the immediate commencement of works on the Raices tunnel of the railway via Lonquimay between Argentina and Chile. The length will be 4545m. (RotRp December 20 1929p37).

1930
First mention of investment in Patagonian trunk roads. (RotRP January 171930).

86D Chamber of Deputies to consider an FCS concession for a line from Darwin via Choele-Choel to Patagones. The Senate is already in favour. (RotRp January 24 1930). Señor Arturo Coleman in his memoirs suggests that the FCS stockpiled materials at Choele-Choel and Rio Colorado in preparation for the building of this line, but that permission was repeatedly stalled by the government. It may well be that as in other areas the government kept putting off a decision at least partly in order to aid the state railways. Eventually the route of this proposed line was partly served by the 75cm gauge branch from General Vintter to San Juan.

More cash approved for FCE line building, including
77F San Antonio to Patagones and
78G Puerto Madryn to Col. 16 de octubre. (RotRp May 16 1930 p33).

78H Third rail currently being laid between Puerto Madryn and Trelew. (RotRP August 22 1930 p27).

1934
37U State Railways line eventually reaches Bariloche.

89 75cm gauge branch from General Vintter reaches the San Lorenzo sugar plant, though the rest of the branch opened in 1935.

1938
91 The Chilean Dirección de Obras Publicas of the then Ministerio de Fomento proposed that a railway should be built from Puerto Aysén to Lago Buenos Aires and to Lago? Baker, with a branch from Puerto Aysén to Puerto Chacabuco. In the 90 kms there would have been 14 river crossings and 12 tunnels!

1940
20D Coronel Ramón Cañas Montalva, in charge of the Chilean 'Region Militar Austral' revived the suggestion of a railway from Punta Arenas to Ultima Esperanza but without much response. (Martinic 2005)

1944
92 The FCE line southward from Pedro Vargas to Malargüe in Mendoza province was completed and it was proposed that it should be continued south to meet the Neuquen line. Initially the junction was to have been at Contraalmirante Cordero but a revised plan envisaged a meeting at Zapala. Apparently the first few kilometres of route and track were completed before work was halted ().

1945
79E Line from Ing. Jacobacci finally reaches Esquel.

1947
93A timber and farming railway was to be built in Tierra del Fuego, from Tolhuin in the forests at the east end of Lago Fagnano, to Rio Grande on the coast. Apparently some of the 75cm. gauge material from Puerto Madryn was brought down ready for this before the proposal was scrapped in favour of the next scheme. See paragraph under 1927 above, for a suggestion that this line had first been proposed much earlier and that the necessary material may even have been moved to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Marine at Puerto Belgrano in preparation for this. Tierra del Fuego was under the supervision of the Argentine navy until 1957.

"Surveys will be continued for the construction of several new lines, the most important of these being:
94A Comodoro Rivadavia-Puerto Deseado (though the accompanying map showed the line extending southward through San Julian, Santa Cruz, and Rio Gallegos to 'Magallanes.');
95A Puerto Santa Cruz-Rio Turbio coal mines;
96A Bardas Blancas-Contraalmirante Cordero or Zapala, Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway;

(and Curuzú Cuatiá-Paso de los Libres connecting with the Brazilian railway system at Uruguayana over the international bridge recently opened)."
The Railway Gazette, 14 November 1947, pages 552-553.

1948
Plans Approved for Zapala Line.
96B The Argentine Government has issued a Decree through the Ministry of Public Works approving the preliminary plans prepared by the State Railways for the new line between Malargüe, Bardas Blancas, and Zapala (B.A.G.S.R.). The original scheme provided for a southern terminal at the latter point, or alternatively at Contralmirante Cordero". The Railway Gazette, 14 May 1948, page 569.

95B "Another Decree authorised the immediate construction of the new railway from Puerto Santa Cruz to the Rio Turbio coal mines (see The Railway Gazette of November 14. 1947, and May 7 last). A provisional estimate of ps. 100.000,000 has been approved, and this sum will be provided by the Ministry of Marine, which will supply also the necessary transport facilities for the material to be used, part of which w.ill be taken from the Ministry's own stores. The Decree contained a recommendation to the effect that this line should be completed within the shortest possible time, even if such a procedure should imply ihe construction of temporary works and stretches of track, to be replaced later by permanent ones." The Railway Gazette, 11 June 1948, page 682.

1949
95C "Puerto Santa Cruz-Rio Turbio Railway: Notwithstanding the purchase of 120 Sentinel steam road locomotives for the transport of coal from the Rio Turbio mines to the port of Santa Cruz (see The Railway Gazette of July 8), it would appear that the construction of a railway between these points has not been altogether abandoned, according to a speech recently made by a Government spokesman, who estimated the total deposits of coal to be approximately 250,000,000 tons, with the possibility that further exploration might bring the figure up to as much as 1,000.000,000 tons. According to the speaker, a broad-gauge line would be built as "without it the coalfield could not be economically worked." The Railway Gazette, 4 November 1949, page 530.

1950
95D "Río Turbio Coal: The Ministry of Industry & Commerce has announced that coal from the Rio Turbio mines is being used with considerable success in the [Canal San Fernando] power house which supplies the General Mitre Railway [ex-Central Argentine] with current for the electric suburban services. Transport of the coal from the mines to the port of Santa Cruz is at present being effected by Sentinel steam road locomotives, although the construction of a railway between these two points is under study, as mentioned in our issue of November 4, 1949". The Railway Gazette, 26 May 1950, page 593.

95E The task of planning a railway from Rio Turbio to the coast is delegated to the Ministry of Transport by decree 9574 of 13th May 1950. Ingeniero Cappa is appointed to lead the work.

97A

98 An FCE map shows a proposed route from General Acha to Fortin Uno on the Neuquen railway.

1953
44L "Southern Transandine Railway
During the recent official visit of President Peron to Chile, it was agreed that the completion of the Southern Transandine Railway, connecting Bahia Blanca (Argentina) with Chilean ports, should be undertaken as soon as possible. Work was suspended some 40 years ago, when the track had reached Zapala on the Argentine side and Curacautin on the Chilean side. At the latter point the Las Raíces tunnel was bored. Only some 155 km. now remain to be laid. With the object of personally studying the terrain, the Minister of Transport recently made a trip of inspection over the route between Zapala and Lonquimay on the Chilean border. The maximum gradient of the new line will be 1 in 50 and the highest point 1,750 metres above sea level, which will enable the line to be worked all the year round without interruption from the weather."
The Railway Gazette, 17 April 1953, pages 448-49.

1957
94B A long FCP report on the problems of the isolated public railways in Patagonia concludes with a review of the proposals for a route southwards from San Antonio towards Puerto Madryn. This report can be accessed in full from Chapter 6 or from the Site Map but the final section is also accessible from here. Clearly by then those in authority were well aware that the only way to secure the future of the lines running in from the coast was to link them to a trunk line running from north to south - not inland as had been proposed in earlier times, but along the coast which was now the focus of population and development. Their immediate objective was to get a broad gauge track built from San Antonio Oeste, via the proposed iron ore mines at Sierra Grande, to Puerto Madryn or perhaps Trelew. Further section to Comodoro Rivadavia and thence to Puerto Deseado were suggested for later consideration. This route has become known as the FC Trans-Patagonico and has re-surfaced at intervals up to the present day.

1985
99 Magallanes, Chile. The recent development of the Mina Pecket north west of Punta Arenas, as a big opencast pit, led to calls for a railway to be built to take coal east to Cabo Negro where the existing petro-chemical plant could use the raw material.

1992
100 Comodoro rumours, as reported by Bernhard Stöckhert: A group of people intending to develop tourism suggested in 1992 to build a railway from Sarmiento to the Bosco Petrificado about 20 km to the south of Sarmiento, as an additional tourist attraction. They were possibly inspired by the success of the Trochita (and maybe knew about the activities at Ushuaia). In fact, they considered taking the old broad gauge rails available, and probably using surplus rolling stock from El Maitén.

101 The proposal for a mainline railway from a new harbour to the south of Rada Tilly to the Pacific, probably to Puerto Aisén, was heavily discussed in Comodoro in 1992 and still around in 1993. The proponents intended to short-cut the Cape Horn route, in particular for containers. The concepts were quite advanced, and Herr Stöckhert remembered seeing detailed plans of the harbour, including the railway facilities. That this project was more than just an idea was also evident from the fact that environmentalists strongly opposed those plans, as the harbour was planned very close to the sea lion colony (loberia) south of Rada Tilly.

1993
97B A branch of the RFIRT was begun, to permit coal trains to run direct to a new terminal at Puerto Presidente Illia at Punta Loyola, south-east of Rio Gallegos.

1994
94C By now the proposed north-south route had gained a name, the 'FC Trans-Patagonico Austral 'San Juan Bosco', and a law had been passed by both houses of the Senate to permit the construction of such a railway. This was Law no. 24,364 of 23 September 1994. The route specified runs from Choele-Choel, via the deep water port of San Antonio Este, southwards for 2,200km, ending at Punta Loyola near Rio Gallegos.

102 A new tourist railway of 50cm gauge opens on part of the route of the old Ushuaia prison logging railway system. The Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino, promoted by Tranex Tourismo SA, runs into the national park west of Ushuaia.

2000
103 In order to use surplus RFIRT locos and stock for tourist trains, it was suggested that track be laid south-east from Punta Loyola towards the nature reserves and other attractions of Cabo Virgenes.

2003
94D Argentina's economic problems in the last couple of years have not prevented continued speculation about the possible north to south railway. Indeed, the unique situation whereby the state presidents, first Señor Kirchner, and now his wife Señora Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, are from Santa Cruz province has heightened expectations. The issue continues to be kept in the public eye by the Foro Ferroviario Patagónico (Patagonian Railway Forum).

104 It has recently been suggested that Rio Turbio be linked across the border to Puerto Bories, and presumably Puerto Natales, using surplus equipment from the RFIRT, in order to boost tourism in the areas on both sides of the border.

2006
105 The website of the Argentine 'Secretaria de Minería de la Nación' suggests that there is a proposal to reopen the Puerto Deseado to Las Heras railway and to extend it, first of all 70km to El Portezuelo on the western border, and then another 60km to the port of Chacabuco in Chile.

21-4-12

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RAILWAYS OF THE FAR
RAILWAYS OF THE FAR

Glossary

Site map

Chapter 4

The FCE broad gauge network

Main pages

Ambitious plans

Towards Bariloche

And back to Viedma

Bariloche line locos

Bariloche line rolling stock

Bariloche line extra photos

From Com. Rivadavia

Com. Riv. line locos

Com. Rivadavia line extra photos

From Pto. Deseado

Pto. Des. line locos

Pto. Deseado line extra photos

Pto. Deseado line extra photos 2

Appendices

1 Text of law 5559

2 Chronology of Patagonian railway proposals

3 Bariloche line route itinerary

4 Com. Rivadavia route itinerary

5 Pto. Deseado route itinerary

6 Bariloche line loco list

7 Com. Rivadavia line loco list

8 Pto. Deseado line loco list

9 FCE wagon diagrams

10 Map of Com. Rivadavia

11 Pto. Deseado lines plans

12 Examples of tickets

13 FCP 1957 report 1

14 FCP 1957 report 2

15 FCP working timetable instructions 1960

16 Report on construction 1912 A

17 Report on construction 1912 B

18 Two reports from 1912

19 Telegram about labourers •

20 Account of a journey

21 President Alcorta address

22 Purchase of rails decree

23 Purchase of wagons decree

 

 

 

 

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