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How fast were the wheels of the railway rolling in Chubut

The Chubut railway began in 1888 and operated until 1961.

ferrocarril en Chubut

  Patagonia  is great,  everything is far away  and the inhabitants get used to long distances . Before the passenger groups, cars, motorcycles and other means of transport that we see in everyday life, in the south there was one that is currently quite invisible.The  Central Railway of  Chubut  was active from 1888 to 1961, becoming the first train in Patagonia. 73 years of history in which he helped connections between cities that were not as we know them now, when the main means of traveling was the horse.

 The concession, in 1884, went to the Welsh Lewis Jones, and for almost 4 years the work was done to link  Puerto Madryn  with  Trelew  , with its official inauguration on November 11, 1888. At the end of December 1908, the branch was added to  Gaiman and, 7 years later, Dolavon. A total connection of the Lower Valley of the Chubut River with the New Golf-Valdés Peninsula.

The construction of the line gave work not only for locals, but for newcomers  Welsh immigrants  (and to a lesser extent from other nationalities, such as Italians and Spaniards).In addition to the 70 kilometers of this branch, telephone lines were included, the first in the region.  Patagonia grew by  (connected and) leaps and bounds.

In 1920, after its nationalization, it expanded so that half of the province has a connection: it will reach Las Plumas, passing by  Las Chapas , a station a few kilometers from  Florentine Ameghino Dam . One of the peculiarities of this place is that today it still exists, but only as a gas station and a bar.And the color fact is that, for those nostalgic about paper maps, that place appeared with a big point, as if it were a big urbanization: the bewilderment of motorists, when they passed by and could only fuel, was everyday in the words of the workers.

Returning to the historicity of  Chubut Central Railway , in the Welsh language, by  the mid-20s, Rawson  and Playa Union are added.  The connections increasingly provided the possibility of joining different villages and facilities by hiring a large number of people, as well as the picturesque stations and trains themselves. Many cities now offer some information — although sometimes scarce — about what it meant to be part of the railway route.

 The objectives of connection with the Chubuten  mountain range  and also with the points to the west and east of Rio Negro, such as  San Carlos de Bariloche  and San Antonio Oeste, and also the connection with trains in  Comodoro Rivadavia   , vanished when the crisis escalated.Such is the case that, in 1953, shortly before the closure of the railway, workers formed in the sheds the Club Ferrocarril Patagónico Social, Sports and Cultural to provide restraint to families, today better known as the Club Ferro that competes in the Basketball League.

Although the workers sought alternatives, the consequence of their deactivation was resounding: approximately 300 people were left unoccupied after hard work uniting populations that are now uninhabited, such as Las Chapas, or without a real recognition of their railway history.

The plans for revival, along with the structural, labor, social and cultural enrichment of the peoples, have been cut short. Not only the Chubutense, but also in a transpatagonic connection network: it never prospered more than a management permit by the southern provinces following an agreement between them with the Ministry of Transport.And that happened in 1998.  The train as a state policy was far away, like the distances of Patagonia itself. 

Publication Date: 30/10/2020

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