Railways in Argentina

Of all the measures undertaken by President Peron, none was more popular in Argentina than the nationalization of the British-owned railway system.

Argentina’s first railway was inaugurated on August 30th, 1857. Starting in a plaza in the centre of Buenos Aires, the line ran like a tramway through the streets of the town and then out into the country, westwards, to the village of Floresta, a total distance of 10 kilometres. This was the beginning of the huge railway network which subsequently made possible the exploitation of the rich pastures of the pampa; but the beginning was far from easy.

It was in 1853 that a group of enlightened Argentines formed a company (the Sociedad del Camino de Hierro de Buenos Aires al Oeste) with the purpose of constructing a railway from Buenos Aires to Floresta. But the people who had promised to buy shares in the enterprise were so slow in making payment that (in the words of a provincial senator) “the company... had to go from door to door entreating the shareholders, appealing, not to their personal interest, but to their patriotism.”1

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