10 Best Railroad Journeys in South America – #3 End of the World Train
February 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
The Southern Fuegian Railway or the End of the World Train is the southernmost train in the world. The history of the railway goes back to the prison which was built here in the end of the 19th century. The original train was constructed in 1902 to transport materials to construct permanent prison. Labor was provided by the convicts themselves. A XILOCAR, a train that ran on wooden rails, was set up to transport the materials. Its gauge was less than a meter in width and its flatbed wagons were pulled by oxen along the crude rails.
In 1909 the prison governor called for improvement of the railway line and 60 cm gauge were laid and in 1910 a steam engine was brought in. The train line connected the prison camp with the forestry camp and the town of Ushuia.
The original train ceased operation in 1952 after the prison was closed and an earthquake severely damaged the track. In 1994 the railway was refurbished and a new steam locomotive was brought from England which operates along with several diesel locomotives made in Argentina.
The small trains leave from the End of the World Station west of Ushuaia and take passengers along the Pico Valley and Toro gorge, to the Macarena Station where you can learn about the local indigenous people from there the train makes a stop at a vista point to view Waterfalls before continuing into Tierra del Fuego National Park.
If the train was located in the northern hemisphere rather than the southern hemisphere it would most likely be a “Santa” themed train ride. Instead the small heated cars transport visitors incredibly 365 days a year through history and Tierra del Fuego, one of the most unique environments in the world.