Derailed: Hopes for Rebuilding Argentina’s Rail Infrastructure

Patrick Archer competitiveness

Tranvía Retiro - La Boca

The Retiro-Boca Tranvia in Buenos Aires is just one of Argentina’s many ghost trains.

With Aeroparque Jorge Newberry closed for renovations until December 1, it is a chaotic weekend for those traveling in and out of Buenos Aires.

Flight delays, cancellations, union protests and frayed nerves abound at Ezeiza International, and the Transportation Secretary today acknowledged Ezeiza is not equipped to handle the extra passenger/aircraft load shifted from Aeroparque.

And while problems abound in the friendly skies, La Nacion shines the spotlight on the dirty undercarriage of Argentina’s rail system. In a well-researched analysis, Diego Cabot paints the picture of decaying rail infrastructure, powerful unions, no-bid contracts and a long history of broken political promises. The Lincoln-Realico line in La Pampa? Silent. The Bullet Train to Rosario? Postponed indefinitely. The Retiro-Boca Tranvia in BA? It runs sporadically around Puerto Madero.

Cabot makes no mention of the July announcement that China would back US$10 billion of Argentine rail projects, so that government-trumpeted joint venture may be pending derailment as well. Hopefully the situation will improve, but it’s an unfortunate state of affairs for vital infrastructure that has the potential to connect so many, transport so much and boost Argentina’s economy through job creation and expedited commodity shipments. (Full Story in Spanish)

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