Map of the Argentine Railways


Between 1880 and 1915, the Argentine railroad network expanded from 1,388 miles (2,234 kilometers) to 22,251 miles (35,809 kilometers) in length, making it the longest on the continent of South America and the eighth longest in the world. Railroads played a key role in economic development and national consolidation and made possible Argentina’s emergence as a major exporter of wheat, beef, and other products. The most important railroads were owned and built by British companies, which were granted concessions by the Argentine government because of their technical expertise and their ability to raise large sums on the London market to finance the construction. This 1911 map, issued by the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Company of Buenos Aires and London, shows the country’s main rail lines. Inset maps show the denser networks in the regions of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Bahia Blanca. Most of the British-owned lines adopted the broad-gauge, 5 foot 6 inch (1.68 meter) standard, wider than the track used in most other parts of the world, including Europe and North America. Other lines used the narrow gauge of 3 foot 3.27 inches (1 meter wide), or the 4 foot 8.5 inch (1.44 meter) standard gauge.

Last updated: May 29, 2013