All good things come in threes? Two sunny tours to
In one of the popular cafés of Ing. Jacobacci, deep in Patagonia, the walls are decorated with photos of the 750 mm gauge railway, which follows the
The railway closed to regular traffic in the mid 1990´s and this is the first time since then that a special train covers the majority of the line in winter. This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit this unique railway at this time of year. It is the longest preserved railway in the world, and still uses its original locomotives and rolling stock.
After our Patagonia tours turned out to be so successful and exceeding expectations we want to visit the fantastic little line again, this time in winter when the weather conditions may allow you some spectacular shots which are not possible in any other season.
La Trochita tiny gauge as the locals call their 250 mile long narrow gauge railway in southern
The line is sandwiched between the endless plains of Patagonia and the high mountains of the Andes, South America’s predominating mountain range. Combining rapid weather changes between dark skies, looking like the end of the world, snow storms, hail showers and crystal clear, deep blue skies, you’ll find an enormous range of impressive situations and photographic opportunities which cannot be found on any other steam railway in the world. This railway is unique in many respects, nothing compares to it. This doesn’t apply to the line only, but also the enormous task of arranging really authentic looking trains here. The available rolling stock from the 1920ies is fantastic, but the details need to be set up properly. Sure, we have to admit that our target is tough and no-one before has asked for what we asked for. That’s why we are not just selling tickets for another operator’s tour, but are offering our own programme for dedicated and demanding railway photographers and video film makers. All this means, for instance, that we’ll try again to remove tourist decorations from the train and include the repainting of tenders to change them from “The Old Patagonian Express“ or “La Trochita“ to “Ferrocarriles Argentinos“ again. As we expect new people in office it’s for sure that we’ll need to work hard on this issue as we did before: starting again and again from scratch, explaining why, funding them, pushing them.
Photographs of the line in winter are few. But aunty Google and it’s sister YouTube can help out. Following are three links with wintery photos and at the end you’ll find some more. Once you’ve seen these you’ll wonder why everyone wants to visit
If the sky is deep blue, then it looks like this YouTube video of a light engine movement.
Without a train, but the wintery landscape fantastic! Here you can see the railway line in the right hand corner; just imagine a train on it.
And here: the magic with a steam train.
Due to the sharp increase of the prices for the charter trains in
So come now, it might be your last chance, you never know.
Individual flight to Buenos Aires
Arrival in Buenos Aires and individual connecting flight to San Carlos de Bariloche where the group will meet. In the afternoon we’ll continue with our charter buses to
At sunrise we’ll start westwards on the dual gauge track. Later the narrow gauge line turns to the south. If we make good progress we’ll reach Cerro Mesa in the last light. Accommodation in provisional dormitories in Cerro Mesa.
Around Cerro Mesa you’ll find some of the most spectacular scenery of the line. We’ll depart the station in both directions to take pictures and videos in a countryside hopefully covered in snow. Because we’ll take two locomotives from Ing. Jacobacci to Cerro Mesa we have the option to re-arrange our trains several times and also take some shots of a double headed train. Accommodation in Cerro Mesa.
Today we’ll return behind steam to
In the morning we’ll go by charter buses to
Morning visit to the workshop of
We’ll climb up the
In the early morning we’ll return to La Cancha. From there we’ll go beyond the summit to Lepa. We’ll turn our locomotive here before we’ll return all the way down to
Individual return flight from
Arrival in Europe, Australia or North America.
In short: the line is phenomenal and can’t be compared with any other narrow gauge line due to its unique character. There is no other 250 mile long narrow gauge line offering steam trains!
The rolling stock dates from the early 1920s and is 100% original. The locomotives were built by Henschel and Baldwin. We’ll see at least four different locomotives in steam.
The railway was constructed to give the remote parts of
The railway can be divided into the northern section, from Ingeniero Jacobacci to
From the 1970s, the always sparse freight traffic was taken over by road competition, although at that time most of the roads in that region were still unpaved gravel. Nowadays they have asphalt roads to
From Ing. Jacobacci the line heads first south-west and then turns towards
The weather in Patagonia may prevent some of our ideas for photos, but on the other hand it can be a key factor in getting superb shots of dramatic lighting situations, when dark clouds fly over the
To get a feeling for the challenges and advantages of Patagonia please read the trip reports from the previous trips to
Political conditions can impact state employees, with each election causing unease. Everyone who depends on the government fears the loss of their job. Everything seems to be paralysed and answers are even harder to get than before. No-one wants to move, no-one wants to make a mistake, no-one wants to invest in something. This is a very tricky situation when organising such tours. But from our recent experience in the country, I’m quite confident that the Argentineans will solve the problem their way at the very last moment, but just in time. Don’t ask how, and don’t ask how well I can sleep with this attitude to sorting out and discussing things, but it’s worked twice already.
So here is the risky gem of the world again:
For a long time, it seemed to be impossible to reach an agreement to run authentic trains, and we were really happy to see the ordered freight wagons and locos with “Ferrocarriles Argentinos” logos as we arrived. Actually, I went to a general store in
We completely depend on the good work of third parties and have arranged the tour in trust. Hence, I have to mention it again: we cannot guarantee anything other than that we’ll always try to make things happen the way we want them. There is no reason to contact a lawyer if something doesn’t work out as planned/hoped/wished/paid for, if trains don’t look as we ordered them or if locomotives fail or derailments occur, etc. From our Argentinean partners we can expect no refund or compensation in such cases, so you must accept that there won’t be any refunds possible in any case. You have to live with the risks if you want to take part in this event, and by registering you accept this as given. From our experience with many other not-so-easy-to-arrange-countries, such as
The survival of this long line is really quite uncertain, even in the southern
We will as usual consider the trains and daylight hours rather than fixed dining times or four and five star accommodation (which are not available anyhow, only prices would match a five star hotel in
This all requires some longer photo days, uncertain times for food and sparse if any comfort when travelling on a freight train (which we’ll do only once). We need our railway crews to work together with us and hence it’s essential that we allow them some rest between the hard days and, for them, also nights to prepare everything.
Our hotel in
Mobile phone coverage in the places we’re staying overnight is good, but in between there are big gaps. Internet is available in most of the places we’re going to, but not in all and, for sure, it’s not as fast as you’re used to. Electricity is available in all our accommodations.
Travellers from most west European countries do not need a visa to travel to
|The Old Patagonia Express
|44 to 54 participants
|34 to 43 participants
|Single room surcharge
|Registration Deadline: 01.05.2019
The price includes:
Not included are:
Prices in Pounds can change more than 5% if exchange rates move seriously.
Additional winter pictures from that region you can find here:
A train as it was still Ferrocarriles Argentinos (1987):