Argentina has been updating its public transportation system recently, though it looks like the changes are making it worse.
On March 1st, Interior Minister and presidential hopeful Florencio Randazzo showed up to Retiro train station to wave goodbye to the new train that will unite Buenos Aires and Córdoba provinces. “Because of a political decision from president Cristina Kirchner, as of now passengers travel in 0 km wagons, not in 1960’s ones” he said before the departure.
These trains, part of a bulk train purchase from China for 325 million dollars, have all the toys the old ones lacked: air conditioning, smart doors, ABS breaks, reclining seats, on board entertainment and a restaurant. A train can carry up to 643 passengers.
But passengers might get a little chilly from all this AC, as the train took 20 hours to cover the 725 kilometers of the trip.
The strange thing is, the old trains used to make the trip in way less time. La Voz journal looked into it and found that in 1938, it only took 9 hours to get to Córdoba–less than half the time .
The explanation, according to railroad union, lies in the rails. Their poor condition only lets the engine, which can reach speeds of 120 km/h speed, go 36 km/h.
To fix this, there’s an ongoing rail renovation, but it will take months to get them to withstand a higher speed.
Despite the wicked long journey and the irritating scene of horses passing their train, people have showed their excitement for the train; it’s completely booked until April. The reason? Besides the aforementioned amenities, there’s a key factor that makes taking the train so appealing: it can cost as much as 90% less than a bus ticket.
We’ll see if Cristina’s government can get the trains back up to speed.