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Published: July 18th 2021
Ushuaia - The most southerly city in the world.
It is 28 degrees centigrade in the U.K. so Ushuaia was a great choice to take a tour to see the End of The World Train.
Barbara was standing in quite deep snow with the stunning backdrop of the Andes & Darwin mountains lose to the Chile border. It was 2 degrees centigrade
With her husband as chauffeur we travelled the short distance to the End of the World Railway Station but not before stopping to take in the stunning views of the valley and beyond.
In the late 19th century, Ushuaia developed as a penal colony, with the first prisoners arriving in 1884.
In 1902, work began on a proper set of buildings for the prison by inmates, and a railway on wooden rails was constructed to assist the transport of materials, mainly local rock, sand and timber. Ones pulled wagons along the narrow railway lines.
In 1909, the prison governor informed the government of the need to upgrade the line for use with a steam locomotive a. They connected the prison camp with the forestry camp
and passed along the shoreline in front of the growing town of Ushuaia. It was known as the 'Train of the Prisoners' (Tren de los Presos) and brought wood for heating and cooking as well as building.
The railway was gradually extended further into the forest into more remote areas as wood was exhausted. It followed the valley of the Pipo River into the higher terrain. Constant building allowed expansion of the prison and of the town, with prisoners providing many services and goods.
In 1947 the prison was closed and replaced with a naval base. Two years later the 1949 earthquake blocked much of the line.
The government made efforts to clear the line and put the train back in service despite the absence of the prisoners. However the service was not viable and closed in 1952.
In 1994, the railway was rebuilt in 500 mm track gauge and began services again, although now in luxury relative to its origin as a prison train.
Barbara’s husband woks at the station as a tour guide so we were able to gain access to the platforms and see up close the carriages
and engine of not just one but two trains.
The ticket hall looked very inviting with all its colourful flags and a roaring fire to keep you warm.
There is no signal in the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the destination of the train journey, so it would have been impossible to live stream from the train but it was still interesting to hear all the history behind the railway and how it is one of the areas main tourist attractions.
Poor Barbara was standing by the red engines when a second train arrived when she was suddenly shrouded in steam, which all added to the atmosphere on the platform as people were excited to board the train for their journey.
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