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International Railroad Discussion > Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)


Date: 05/14/19 18:00
Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: erielackawanna

On Saturday April 13, our first full day in Chile, we weren't having much luck with either finding trains or sun, when at least a train appeared while we drove east from Los Andes towards Rio Blanco on Route 60. One weird thing about being in Chile was I honestly was pretty much 100% wrong about which direction I was heading most of the time. I'm usually pretty good about knowing which was is north, but being south of the equator I was just thrown. Even trying to figure out names of locations for these shots, I kept going the wrong way on the map. All locations are what I could pull from Google maps and are not railroad names.

Image one - I beleive we are in Rio Colorado Chile here. A FEPASA empty mine train on the Transandine rolls along the Rio Juncal.

Image two - We are a bit farther east here from the last shot - the train continues up the grade.

Image three - I think we are in Los Azules here, still along the Rio Juncal. What looks like a road or ROW above the railroad ROW was a pipeline of some kind.

 








Date: 05/14/19 18:01
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: erielackawanna

Image four - the empties head into a tunnel.

Image five - closer shot of the tunnel and train.

Image six - coming to another river crossing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/19 18:35 by erielackawanna.








Date: 05/14/19 18:02
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: erielackawanna

Image seven is the wedgie.

Image eight is a cloudy roster of the trains U9C.

Image nine is another roster, but this one with lots of dust as the U9C heads away.

Will share pictures from the end of the line in Rio Blanco shortly.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/19 18:37 by erielackawanna.








Date: 05/14/19 19:03
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: gaspeamtrak

Very interesting !!! Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)



Date: 05/14/19 20:43
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: zorz

Wow! Is this the line over to Argentina or a different line further north?

Great pics :)

Posted from iPhone



Date: 05/14/19 20:52
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: erielackawanna

It used to be the line to Argentina... now it ends in Rio Blanco.



Date: 05/14/19 23:30
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

erielackawanna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It used to be the line to Argentina... now it ends in Rio Blanco.


When it went to Argentina, I assume there was a change of gauge at the border.  



Date: 05/15/19 05:56
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: mamfahr

> Image four - the empties head into a tunnel.
>
> Image five - closer shot of the tunnel and train.

I always liked that area, with the tunnel and deep valley cut by the river.  If you go through the tunnel, there is an amazing hidden location where the track comes out of a tunnel, across a bridge (spanning the valley) and into another tunnel.   As I recall, it's a stone-arch bridge.  Very interesting piece of RR.

Later, found a shot of the location here:

https://railpictures.net/photo/496287/

By the way, does anyone know when they switched from the cylindrical ore containers to the conventional ones?

Take care,

Mark
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 07:58 by mamfahr.



Date: 05/15/19 06:08
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: mamfahr

> > It used to be the line to Argentina... now it ends in Rio Blanco.

> When it went to Argentina, I assume there was a change of gauge at the border.

It was meter gauge all the way across.  At one time you could travel from Chile through to B.A. on the same meter gauge line.  Most of the line is still there, although in terrible condition on the Chilean side after many landslides over the years.  Not sure if it's still there, but several years ago you could still see the track and cog system still in place near the customs station up around Portillo (top of the hill in Chile) where the line entered a tunnel to cross to Argentina.  The switchbacks on the highway there are some of the most amazing I've seen anywhere in the world.

Take care,

Mark  



Date: 05/15/19 06:36
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: jmt

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> By the way, does anyone know when they switched
> from the cylindrical ore containers to the
> conventional ones?
>
> Take care,
>
> Mark

5 July 2017. Look on the Tren Chile Facebook Group around that date



Date: 05/15/19 07:22
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: tomstp

That really is some rough country.



Date: 05/15/19 10:09
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: utwazoo

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > Image four - the empties head into a tunnel.
> >
> > Image five - closer shot of the tunnel and
> train.
>
> I always liked that area, with the tunnel and deep
> valley cut by the river.  If you go through the
> tunnel, there is an amazing hidden location where
> the track comes out of a tunnel, across a bridge
> (spanning the valley) and into another tunnel.  
> As I recall, it's a stone-arch bridge.  Very
> interesting piece of RR.
>
> Later, found a shot of the location here:
>
> https://railpictures.net/photo/496287/
>
> By the way, does anyone know when they switched
> from the cylindrical ore containers to the
> conventional ones?
>
> Take care,
>
> Mark
>  

Here's a view of a train peeking out of two of three tunnels.  The stone arch bridge is out of sight in the photo and is between the middle tunnel and the third one, towards the rear of the train. In the deep shadow the river is at the bottom of the gorge.  Maybe someone can Photoshop the shadow.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/19 10:59 by utwazoo.




Date: 05/16/19 09:46
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: 86235

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > > It used to be the line to Argentina... now it
> ends in Rio Blanco.
>
> > When it went to Argentina, I assume there was a
> change of gauge at the border.
>
> It was meter gauge all the way across.  At one
> time you could travel from Chile through to B.A.
> on the same meter gauge line. 

No, you changed in Mendoza into a broad gauge train of the Buenos Aires & Pacific, later the FC San Martin.



Date: 05/16/19 16:02
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: mamfahr

> > It was meter gauge all the way across.  At one time you could travel from Chile through to B.A. on the same meter gauge line. 

> No, you changed in Mendoza into a broad gauge train of the Buenos Aires & Pacific, later the FC San Martin.

Hello, 

I wrote that based upon memory, but took a look at maps to confirm my recollections.  This map (showing meter-gauge trackage) indicates that there was a through route from Chile through to B.A., via Mendoza, Cordoba & Rosario, is it incorrect?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Argentina#/media/File:Belgrano_railw_map.jpg

Take care,

Mark
 



Date: 05/16/19 20:45
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: airbrakegeezer

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > > It was meter gauge all the way across.  At
> one time you could travel from Chile through to
> B.A. on the same meter gauge line. 
>
> > No, you changed in Mendoza into a broad gauge
> train of the Buenos Aires & Pacific, later the FC
> San Martin.
>
> Hello, 
>
> I wrote that based upon memory, but took a look at
> maps to confirm my recollections.  This map
> (showing meter-gauge trackage) indicates that
> there was a through route from Chile through to
> B.A., via Mendoza, Cordoba & Rosario, is it
> incorrect?
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Ar
> gentina#/media/File:Belgrano_railw_map.jpg
>
> Take care,
>
> Mark

Actually, you are both right, up to a point. It is (or used to be, anyway)  POSSIBLE to travel by meter-gauge rail from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, it was not PRACTICAL to do so because of the roundabout route, much longer (and slower) than the broad-gauge route, which was straight east-west across the Pampas and nearly level between B.A. and San Luis, about two-thirds of the distance IIRC. The rail distance between B.A. and Mendoza on the broad gauge is, if my memory is correct, just short of 1000 km (620 miles). In 1953, at age 15, I made this trip on "El Cuyano", the fast day train on the route. We left B.A. at 6:00 AM, and arrived in Mendoza about 8:00 PM, for an average speed of almost 45 mph, including about five or six stops, one of them a half hour to change locomotives (B.A. to San Luis was handled by a 1912 North British-built  two-cylinder 4-6-2 with 6'4" drivers; from San Luis to Mendoza, a 1927-built three-cylinder Pacific with slightly smaller drivers took over). On the level section of the route, the first locomotive loped along at an easy 60 to 70 mph; on the second, hillier part, which includes a number of fairly long 1% to 1.5% grades, speed varied much more, of course. On the meter gauge, in the 1950's at least, there was no through train from Mendoza to B.A.; I'm not even sure that there was a through service from Mendoza to Cordoba. At the very least, one would have had to take one train to Cordoba, then change to another to get to B.A., and I'm guessing that the whole trip would have taken at least 30 hours. Consequently, nobody travelled all the way between Mendoza and B.A. on the meter gauge; it just didn't make sense.
The  main trunk line of the meter gauge actually connected B.A. with the Argentine Northwest, and continued on to an international connection with Bolivia. The Cordoba-Mendoza line was a secondary route, built by the government mainly as a "development" line, and never carried a great deal of traffic.
Hope this helps.

Roger Lewis (airbrakegeezer)
  



Date: 05/17/19 11:38
Re: Chasing Empties on the Transandine (Chile)
Author: 86235

Thanks Roger, very interesting. I too made the journey from BA to Mendoza, but rather more recently, in 1990. According to my Thomas Cook timetable the distance is 1049 Kms, about 650 miles. I rode the El Libertador, the twice a week limited stop express, which took 13 hours with just three intermediate stops. The daily train was the 'Aconcagua' which stopped more often and took about 18 hours and there was a slightly slower limited stop train, 'El Inti' which ran once a week, taking 14 hours.

By then there was little evidence of the metre gauge in town, some dual gauge track but that was about all. Whilst there I took a bus along the route of the Transandine Railway up to Puente del Inca, it was remarkably well preserved given nothing had moved for some time.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/19 11:40 by 86235.



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