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British Industrial History

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Transandine Railway

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1870 Proposal advanced to connect the Cuyo Provinces of Argentina with Chile by means of a railway. The Cuyo Provinces had taken supplies from, and carried on trade with, Chile over the Uspallata pass and other passes for many years.

The Transandine Railway would run from from Mendoza, which had been reached by the Buenos Aires to Mendoza Railway, traverse the Uspallata Pass and reach Santa Rosa de los Andes, a station on the Chilian State Railways. Mendoza is 2520ft. above sea level; Santa Rosa de los Andes is 2723ft. above sea level.

The Transandine Railway would be 249.68 kilometres (155 miles) long. The highest point on it would be the Summit Tunnel, at an altitude of 10,621 ft.

Although the connecting lines on either side were of 5 ft 6 inches gauge, the Transandine used a 1 metre gauge. It was found impossible to operate the line purely by adhesion so a rack system, the Abt system, was used on 13 sections.

1887 Construction started. For financial reasons work did not proceed quickly.

1893 While the Argentine part of the railway was still being worked as a local line, combined rack and adhesion locomotives were employed (built by Beyer, Peacock and Co).

1903 the Argentine Great Western Railway took over a lease on the working and management of the Transandine Railway which was in financial difficulties. [1]

1905 With the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, the 2 companies agreed to guarantee the stock of the Transandine, thereby enabling them to raise additional funds.

1907 the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway took over the working of the Transandine Railway.

1910 The line was finally completed; more powerful engines were required, and two types of articulated engine were adopted - one type was a Mallet type, made by the Maschinenfabrik Esslingen, the other was a Meyer type made by Kitson and Co. These had one power bogie for adhesion working and one for rack working.



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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia