Argentina’s rail network has long been in decline. Some of the trains in use are over 40 years old, and vast sections of the lines require urgent maintenance.
However, the government is now aiming to rebuild the railways as part of an ambitious plan to improve infrastructure in the north. As part of the investment, the first trains arrived recently from China.
CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.
Chinese trains part of plan to revamp Argentine rail networkHowever, the government is now aiming to rebuild the railways as part of an ambitious plan to improve infrastructure in the north. As part of the investment, the first trains arrived recently from China. CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.
Over the coming months, 107 locomotives and over 3,000 carriages in total are due to arrive from China. Drivers are currently putting the trains through its paces in the initial tests.
Under the guise of the Belgrano Plan, these new trains will run on the lines in the north of the country.
The ambitious Belgrano Plan is the cornerstone of the government’s policy to reboot the economy in the northern provinces by investing in the railways and reverse decades of decline.
At the drivers’ union in Buenos Aires, they’ve seen the decline of the railways firsthand. They traveled to China during the process of purchasing trains that would be made for Argentina.
While they welcome the investment, they are cautious about how soon improvements will be seen.
“New trains don’t mean the system will improve enormously,” said Richard “Manolo” Banegas, a driver, who’s worked on the railways for 36 years. “There is no integral plan to develop the railways. The decline has been across the board, in telecommunications, infrastructure, and the trains themselves. They have decided to buy new trains but our infrastructure is the same as 60 or 70 years ago. Some communications systems are 80 or 100 years old.”
New trains are one of the first steps to renewing this country’s decrepit railway network. Work on improving the lines has begun, but the scale of the task of renewing Argentina’s railways is as vast as the country itself.