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International Railroad Discussion > Chile railbus adventure


Date: 04/11/24 14:18
Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

This past Tuesday we finally rode the meter gauge Talca-Constitucion railbus.  The line is 55 miles between the cities.  At 25 mph, the trip takes a bit less than three hours each way.  This includes a 15 minute stop at the halfway point,  Gonzalez Bastias, where the trains meet.  On the westbound in the morning, locals offer coffee and fresh bread for sale on the station platform.  This time of year patronage is mostly locals,  going to and from their isolated farms,  with a sprinkling of Chilean tourists from the big cities  Most of the line is virtually inaccessible by roads,  at least roads most would consider driving on.   Westbound there were 36 passengers leaving Talca.  We arrived at the coast with 31, with about about 15 getting on/off en route.  Return to Talca we had 22 at the beginning and 9 when we arrived at Talca. There are eleven stations,  but the train will stop anywhere for people.  The conductor also helped people load/unload heavy bags of produce, etc.

Round trip fare was US$12.50 each.

The buses are 90 years old, built in Germany and rebuilt countless times.  Sometime in 2025,  new railbuses from Marco Polo in Brazil will replace these.  With sealed windows,  A/C and the like it just won't be the same.  They will keep the old buses for vintage operations.  The entire line is being rebuilt with new ties, rail and ballast.  Progress for sure but won't be the sheer fun we experienced this week.

The photos were taken by Lolo and myself, using cell phones as well as the Nikon digital. So....all aboard.  We had front row seats so the black at the top of a few photos is the anti-glare strip on the windshield.

1.  Boarding at Talca for 0745 departure
2.  Away we go.  For the first few miles the line is next to the Santiago to Chillan mainline.  This is where the new Chinese EMUs are running,  with a 90 mph top speed in spots.  Fepasa freights run on this line too.
3.  Right of way view;  Cruce Pito  means crossing/whistle.   You get used to the horn blasting above you as they warn cows, the odd truck crossing an unmarked dirt path, etc.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/11/24 19:20 by masterphots.








Date: 04/11/24 14:30
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

4.   Passenger awaiting the train.  This was not a station, but she just flagged us down and the stop was 30 seconds.  The conductor sells tickets on board.  But you can also book on-line and select seats as we did.  Nobody wants the front seats as no leg room but was fine for us as we had              all four seats.
5.   View of the second car.  The seats here are more comfortable with more legroom.  It seemed locals with a lot of stuff stayed back here,  also the odd worker going to work somewhere along the line and maybe take a nap.,
6.   View of the lead car.  Happy campers here.  Up front,  there were mostly Chilean tourists along for the ride.   During the high season (Jan-March)  the trains are often sold out, with passengers from all over the world.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/24 12:56 by masterphots.








Date: 04/11/24 14:33
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

7-8.  Gonzalez Bastias.  About halfway and where the trains meet.  Great coffee and bread on offer on the station platform.
9.    Crossing the Maule River on the big bridge as the train nears Constitucion.








Date: 04/11/24 14:38
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

10.   End of the line at Constitucion station.   There's a five hour wait for the return departure.  Plenty of time to eat and wander around town or hit the beach.
11.    A view along the coast.  Constitucion is where the 8.8 earthquake on February 27, 2010 caused a tsunami that killed 550 people.  The railway was badly damaged but rebuilt
12.    Back in Talca at 6:50 pm.   Then our long drive back to Santiago.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/11/24 15:14 by masterphots.








Date: 04/11/24 15:11
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: dan

much freight on the line?



Date: 04/11/24 15:17
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> much freight on the line?

None.   The only rolling stock are the three railbus sets.  Chile's first diesels were a pair of GE 47 ton for this line.  Numbered 4001-2, they were built in 1945 and replaced steam power.  As late as October 1993 the 4001 pulled a train on the line for a TUT tour.  Passenger cars were pretty much derelict but it ran.  Here are a couple of photos of the excursion train from my collection.  Photographer unknown.  The station photo was at Maquegua;  the other a photo runby somewhere along the line.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/11/24 15:35 by masterphots.






Date: 04/12/24 08:28
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: LTCerny

Interesting line.  Thanks for posting..  What broad-gauge passenger service is available from Talca to Santiago?



Date: 04/12/24 08:42
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: dan

on your bridge shot , the railcars barely move the rust



Date: 04/12/24 09:39
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: NMlurker

This is 2024!?!? Fascinating operation.



Date: 04/12/24 10:31
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: Ritzville

Very Interesting series and narrative and enjoyable pictures.

Larry



Date: 04/12/24 13:36
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: masterphots

LTCerny Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting line.  Thanks for posting..  What
> broad-gauge passenger service is available from
> Talca to Santiago?

Three round trips daily on the new high speed Chinese EMUs.  Will increase to five come next spring (Sept 2024)



Date: 04/14/24 18:38
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: cchan006

masterphots Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 6.   View of the lead car.  Happy campers
> here.  Up front,  there were mostly Chilean
> tourists along for the ride. 

And I see pure joy in their faces!

The railbus isn't necessarily pretty, but I find it charming. Enjoyed your report.



Date: 04/15/24 22:59
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: atsf121

That looks like so much fun.  Those buses are a very interesting design, the railbuses in Ecuador 30 years ago were much uglier.

Nathan



Date: 04/16/24 18:53
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: E25

Nice series, Alan (... and Lolo).  Sort of reminds me of the Lewis & Clark explorer that ran during Summers between Linnton and Astoria, Oregon.  Thanks!

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/16/24 22:18 by E25.



Date: 04/18/24 18:14
Re: Chile railbus adventure
Author: BoilingMan

25mph?  Surely you dropped a zero there...    these guys look like they must go at least 200, maybe 250mph.
SR



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