Central Argentine Railway Company Ltd.

The Central Argentine Railway Company Ltd. (CAR) was established in 1863 by William Wheelwright. In 1862, Wheelwright obtained a concession with Thomas Brassey and George Wythes, from the Argentine government to construct a railway line from Rosario to Cordoba, originally granted to Jose Buschenthal (1802 -1870) in 1854. It was a British-owned, broad gauge (5’ 6”) company serving the Buenos Aires, Sante Fe, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero and Cordoba provinces of Argentina. By 1910, the company was considered one of the ‘Big Four’ British-owned, broad gauge railway companies in Argentina, alongside Pacific and Western, Buenos Aires and Great Southern.

The Rosario –Cordoba line was the main broad gauge line constructed by Central Argentine Railways, extending from the eastern seaport of Rosario to Cordoba, started in 1863 and inaugurated on May 17th 1870. In 1870, President Sarmiento arranged a £6 million loan for Central Argentine Railway to extend this line north from Cordoba to Tucuman. In the Buenos Aires province there were three main suburban lines of Tigre West, Tigre East and Villa Ballester. The Retiro – Tigre West service was the first line in South America to be electrified on December 1st 1916, the units being supplied by British Thomson- Houston Company Ltd. The Tigre East and Villa Ballester lines were electrified in 1924, and 221 units were supplied by Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company Ltd. The Central Argentine Railway operated the fastest train in South America, known as the “Rapido”, running between Buenos Aires and Rosario from 1910.

Central Argentine Railways transported timber from the north including goods such as railway sleepers and fence posts, and sugar from Tucuman. The company was a major grain carrier, transporting maize, wheat and linseed amongst others. CAR was the first to adopt gas lighting in trains, to provide sleeping cars and luxurious dining and restaurant cars, and to use block and pneumatic signalling. The main stations are Retiro, the Buenos Aires terminus, opened in August 1915; Cordoba opened in 1919; Campana opened in 1925. The company continued to function until 1948, when President Juan Peron nationalised the Argentine Railway, creating six state owned railway networks and Central Argentine Railways was incorporated into the Ferrocarril Mitre network.