Chile - Argentina link

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awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

A non conforming tender for the rebuilding the Chile Argentina link proposes a 24km base tunnel, elimination of the metre gauge rack section, and direct connection of the 1676mm broad gauge lines on either side of the Andes.

RGI March 08

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

19 Mar 2008

Through the Andes, not over them

ARGENTINA: At the end of January the governments of Argentina and Chile formally abandoned tendering for the project to restore the rail connection between their two countries, having received a single, non-compliant bid.

Originally developed by Argentinian engineering consultancy Tecnicagua, the project would have seen the 225 km metre-gauge route between Los Andes and Mendoza restored to increase freight capacity across the Uspallata Pass, currently used by some 4·3 million tonnes of road freight a year and often closed by snow.

Rights to this project were subsequently purchased by Corporación América which is now proposing a 23 km base tunnel at an altitude of 2 500 m, in place of restoring the disused line which reaches a height of 3 185 m above sea level and was formerly worked with the assistance of the Abt rack system on both sides of the border.

Corporación América's Project Manager Juan Manuel Collazo said that the original project was 'very limiting, and we decided to put it aside and present a new one'. A base tunnel for lorry shuttles would enable the rail link to carry 30 million tonnes of freight a year, he explained, in place of the 5 million tonnes likely to be captured by the diesel-worked metre-gauge route.

The new project would cost US$2·81bn, including $1·2bn for the base tunnel itself, $897·5m for its broad-gauge rail connections and $210m for electrification works. For the present, Corporación América is to spend $7m on feasibility studies that would form the basis of future tendering as a private finance initiative.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Chile, Argentina to build two trans-Andes tunnels

(AFP) – 1 hour ago

SANTIAGO — Chile and Argentina agreed Friday to build road and railway tunnels across their common border in a project aimed at opening two new routes through the towering Andes, officials said.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner signed the agreement here as part of a broader treaty to promote integration and cooperation along their mountainous 5,000-kilometre (3,100 miles) border.

Bachelet said the agreement was the first of its kind in Latin America, while Kirchner said its aim was to "unite the potential that helps generate better living conditions for our people."

The railway project, which is not new, calls for a 23-kilometre (14-mile) tunnel through the Andes mountain chain to link the cities of Mendoza in Argentina and Los Andes in Chile.

It would take between eight and 10 years to build and cost an estimated three billion dollars.

The agreement also calls for boring a second cross-border tunnel through the Andes at Paso de Agua Negra for a highway linking northern Chile and Argentina.

The tunnel would supplement the Los Libertadores tunnel in the central part of the country, which is often closed by snow.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Following the signature of co-operation agreements by the presidents of Argentina and Chile on October 29, a bi-national authority is to be formed to take forward construction of a rail base tunnel under the Andes. Promoter Corporación América is reported to have received US$10m in government funding for geological studies; total project cost is estimated at $3bn.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

SANTIAGO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chile and Argentina will build an interoceanic corridor between the two countries in 2012, project director Eduardo Rodriguez said Friday.

The "Aconcagua Bi-Oceanic Corridor" between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans is a passage that includes a 52-km railway tunnel connecting the Chilean city of Los Andes and Mendoza city in Argentina.

Developed by an international consortium headed by Argentine company Corporation America, the project is estimated to need an investment of 3 billion U.S. dollars.

The passage is expected to promote the economic ties between Chile and Argentina, and those between Mercosur (the Common Market of the South) and the Asia-Pacific countries.

The construction of the corridor will only start in December 2012, as some administrative issues are still pending, Rodriguez said.

Currently, the main transport route between the two countries is a mountain pass called Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, which is impassable several times a year due to its design and weather conditions, leading to high costs and low efficiency.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Argentine and Chilean authorities aim to call a tender to build the Corredor Bioceánico Aconcagua binational rail pass in the coming six months.

 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney


Is there some reason why the mid section of this line was metre gauge, with breaks of gauge to broad gauge in the adjacent countries?

Were Sheilds, Pihl, Abrams, amongst others, acting as consulting engineers, albeit "angel" consulting engineers ?

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — South American engineers are trying to tackle one of the continent's greatest natural challenges: the towering Andes mountain chain that creates a costly physical barrier for nations ever-more-dependent on trade with Asia.

Instead of pushing cargo over a 10,500-foot (3,200-meter) pass that is often blocked by snow for weeks, they plan to build the longest tunnels in the Americas right through the mountains. That would make billions of dollars worth of Chinese electronics, Chilean wine, Argentine food and Brazilian cars cheaper and more competitive.

The proposed $3.5 billion private railway known as the Aconcagua Bi-Oceanic Corridor would link train and trucking hubs on both sides with a 127-mile-long (205-kilometer) railway, including twin 32-mile (52-kilometer) tunnels. Construction would take 10 years, but once completed, it could save millions of dollars and carve days off shipping times.

As it stands, the only major Andean pass in the southern half of the continent is snowed in each winter, stranding hundreds of cargo trucks in temperatures that can fall to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 25 degrees Celsius). And Pacific ports remain inaccessible to the Atlantic nation of Brazil, whose trans-Amazonian highway becomes a boggy mess even before reaching the mountains.

"There is a gigantic network of infrastructure on both sides of the mountain range with a bottleneck we must free up," said engineer Nicolas Posse, who is directing the project for Corporacion America.

The Argentine company leads a consortium that proposed the project, and both governments have committed to it as a matter of "national interest," creating a binational commission that is inviting bids. Initial feasibility studies have already been submitted.

Currently, much of the processed soy oils, wine and meat Argentina sends to China, as well as Asian electronics destined for Brazil, must first sail around the tip of South America, adding nearly 3,000 nautical miles and another week to the trip. Shipping by rail between Atlantic and Pacific ports would unite the most productive regions of Chile and its South American neighbors, making trade more competitive for all involved.

The shipping cost would drop from $210 to $177 a ton for cargo that now moves between Cordoba, Argentina, and Manzanillo, Mexico, the closest major port with direct rail links to the eastern United States.

"This project is just what's needed," said Mauricio Claveri, an economist with the Abeceb.com consulting firm in Buenos Aires. He called it a strategic necessity for the Mercosur nations of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela to develop more efficient trade links with China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Trucking company owner Ivan Caccia's eyes light up when he calculates his potential savings from the tunnel, which promises to reduce the Andean passage from 12 hours to just 2 1/2 hours.

Each trip Caccia & Sons trucks make carrying wine and fruit between Argentina's Mendoza province and Chile's capital of Santiago costs $1,400 and takes two days. With the tunnel, it would cost just $840 and his trucks could make it there and back in the same day.

"The economic part of this project is important, but also the human aspect, because having a truck driver stuck in the snow for three or four days isn't very pleasant," he said.

The world's longest tunnel now in operation links Japan's two largest islands, Honshu and Hokkaido. That will be surpassed in 2017 by the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will run for 35 miles (57 kilometers) under the Swiss Alps.

The Andean consortium also includes Japan's Mitsubishi Corp., Chile's Empresas Navieras SA, Contreras Hermanos SA of Argentina and Italy's Geodata SpA, which helped design other proposed tunnels linking Turin, Italy, and Lyon, France, as well as Europe and Africa through the Straits of Gibraltar.

All those efforts had government funding. What makes the Andean project unique is that it will be paid for privately by the consortium and through usage fees. The binational commission will provide loan guarantees, but put up no taxpayer money.

Chile's mining wealth and Argentina's agricultural bounty have sustained their economies, delivering positive trade balances year after year, but both countries need to produce and move those exports more efficiently to maintain growth. Chile imported $75 billion worth of goods and exported $81 billion last year, while Argentine imported $74 billion and exported $84 billion, the U.N.'s regional economics commission reported Tuesday.

The project takes its name from nearby Aconcagua mountain, which dominates the border and is the highest peak in the Americas at 22,822 feet (6,981 meters) above sea level.

The train engines, which would be powered by electricity rather than coal or diesel to reduce the environmental impact, are to link a transportation hub in Lujan de Cuyo on the Argentine side with Los Andes, Chile. The tunnels will descend from Punta de Vacas, Argentina, at 7,851 feet (2,393 meters) above sea level, to Saladillo, Chile, at 5,039 feet (1,536 meters), both below the steeper slopes and higher altitudes that get paralyzing snow each winter.

The initial phase would open a single tunnel and cost $3.5 billion with a capacity of 24 million tons of cargo a year. Depending on demand, the capacity could grow to 77 million tons and the total price tag to $5.9 billion by adding a second tunnel and additional rail lines on either side. As many as four mechanical excavators will be used to carve through the mountains.

"It's a multimodal system: It works like a ferry. Each train, about 750 meters long, can transport containers of merchandise and trucks with their drivers as well as other train formations, which would switch locomotives to make the crossing," Posse said. The idea is to enable cargo to make the entire journey between Atlantic and Pacific ports without having to be transferred along the way.

Any megaproject faces difficulties in a region as politically and economically unstable as Latin America. To start with, there's no guarantee that the consortium will win the bid, although Corporation America and Empresas Navieras are corporate leaders in Argentina and Chile, and Mitsubishi is one of the world's largest trading companies.

Posse said there's nothing particularly challenging about the Andes that engineers aren't already resolving in the Alps.

"An enormous amount of understanding has developed in the last 20 years and this is a huge advantage," he said. "What has been learned digging long tunnels is that the most important thing is to be obsessively prepared for what might happen in the field."

And promoters say it will pay for itself and more through cargo fees that companies the world over will gladly pay to speed their products to market.

"We're betting on reducing the travel time to a third of what it is now, and this bringing more profits all around. We're talking about cargo fees that will make the shipments cheaper and Argentine and Chilean exports more competitive," Posse said.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A BILATERAL agreement was signed in Buenos Aires on October 15 that will pave the way for the restoration of freight services across the border between Chile and Argentina.

The line from Salta, Argentina, to Palestina in Chile via the de Socompa pass has never lived up to expectations and has seen virtually no international movement for five years. However under the new agreement, Ferronor will be permitted to once more collect freight on the Argentinian side for conveyance west, principally to the Pacific port of Mejillones.

The route within Chile amounts to some 350 km, almost half of which, from Augusta Victoria to the Pacific coast, is owned by the Antofagasta Railway (FCAB).

Although much of the route on either side of the border has remained in use for domestic traffic, international trains will not start to roll immediately because disused sections of track need to be rehabilitated.

The impetus behind the reactivation comes from mining companies in Argentina, which are interested in exporting products such as borax, lithium and copper to Asia.

Of the four railways linking northern Chile with neighboring countries, only one is currently operational – FCAB's line which runs down from the border with Bolivia near Ollagüe, to the ports of Antofagasta and Mejillones. However, the remaining three are all in differing stages of reactivation.

The reopening of the Arica to La Paz Railway is on track although somewhat behind schedule. Less advanced is the 61km Tacna – Arica Railway (FCTA), which links Peru with Chile. This line has seen very little freight traffic in recent years, and passenger operations ceased in March, due to the poor state of the track. The FCTA is under the administration of Peru's Tacna regional government, which lacks the funds needed to carry out the neccessary repair work. A plan to tender operation of the line is mooted, with help from Proinversión, a central government agency.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Salta - Antofagasta freight agreement

18 October 2012



 

 

SOUTH AMERICA: Plans to resume regular freight services over the 700 km between Salta in Argentina and the Chilean port of Antofagasta took a major step forward on October 15 when an agreement was signed by Argentina's Minister of the Interior & Transport Florencio Randazzo, Governor of Salta province Juan Manuel Urtubey and the Chilean Ambassador to Argentina Adolfo Zaldívar Larraín.

Also signing the agreement were Juan Carlos García Huidobro and Francisco Martínez of Chilean railway Ferronor, which will now be able to operate over the Belgrano network between the border at Socompa and Salta. A weekly trial service was expected to begin shortly.

Infrastructure upgrades would be required on both networks to support regular freight operations, which would enable produce from Salta including soya to be moved for export via the deepwater ports of Antofagasta, Mejillones and Angamo on the Pacific. In Argentina 12 km of track is to be renewed immediately, according to the ministry, with a further 50 km to follow in the short term.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Southern Argentina's Chubut province is looking at building a new cargo railway to connect its ports with southern Chile, with financing from Chinese state construction conglomerate CSCEC.


Chubut governor Martín Buzzi met the head of Chile's state development agency Corfo, Claudio Mosqueira, and CSCEC Latin American representatives to discuss the plan.



"During the conversations we presented an idea to strengthen logistics in our province and we mentioned the possibility of building a cargo railway service to link Puerto Madryn and Comodoro Rivadavia to Chile and create a competitive bioceanic corridor," Chubut production minister Gabriela Dufour said in a statement.


Dufour added the project aims to "improve trade options" not only for Chubut but for other Argentine provinces as well.


Chubut did not disclose further details or the investment needed for the project.


Argentina and Chile are also considering other projects to connect their ports. Argentine holding Corporación América​has proposed a US$3.5bn rail tunnel through the Andes that would link both countries' central regions.


As trade with Asia grows, the Pacific Basin has gained interest in South America, with several projects being discussed to connect the western areas of the region, which are rich in metals and grains, with the eastern ports.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Argentina and Chile have agreed to progress long-delayed US$4.5bn trans-national road and rail projects.


In her first official overseas trip, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visited Buenos Aires and signed an agreement with President Cristina Fernández to move the Aconcagua corridor (road) and Agua Negra (rail) projects forward.



Bachelet and Fernández had first agreed to develop both projects in 2009, but little progress was made.


The Aconcagua corridor is a proposed US$3.5bn underground railway project to connect western Argentine's Mendoza province with Chile's central region V.


The corridor, promoted by Argentine group Corporación América, is one of the projects in discussion to promote cargo transport between South America's Atlantic and Pacific coasts.


The 52km tunnel and railway system, initially expected to be tendered in 2012, would enable 13Mt a year of merchandise to be transported following a 10-year construction period. That's almost three times as much cargo as the nearby Cristo Redentor pass currently handles.


Agua Negra is a proposed US$1bn trans-Andean road tunnel between Argentina's San Juan province and Chile's region IV, and has already received 23 expressions of interest. A tender process is expected to be launched this year.


Bachelet and Fernández have also agreed to double the current 28 customs checkpoints along the 5,150km border.


"It will create great revenue and jobs in Chile, and better competitiveness for us," Fernández said during a press conference.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
UENOS AIRES, May 14 (BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) -- President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet discussed the re-launching of the Maipu Agreement -signed in 2009- to increase the links between the two countries and boost regional commerce with Asia.

Cristina said both governments plan to "double border crossings" and referred to two projects, the Agua Negra crossing and Aconcagua transoceanic railway.

It is necessary to double the number of entry points between the two nations "during the entire year," Bachelet added, alluding to the traffic problems that arise in winter at the existing passes due to heavy snowfall.

The Maipu accord also included strengthening coordination between the two countries' local authorities to improve infrastructure not only in terms of transportation but also in the areas of energy and communications.

"Connectivity is crucial to our economies' competitiveness, in order to take our goods towards the most dynamic region of the world in terms of commerce, which is Asia" underlined Cristina.

Bachelet in turn said "Chile sees itself as a port and bridge for the rest of the region to reach the Pacific" and made a call to "complete tasks left unfinished" by the two countries.

The Chilean president arrived in Buenos Aires on Sunday night for the meeting held in Government House, in her first official engagement abroad since being elected for a second term in La Moneda Presidential Palace.

The visit aims to strengthen ties with Argentina, and to negotiate a commercial agreement between the Mercosur bloc and the Pacific Alliance.

Meanwhile, Argentina's president of the Lower House, Julian Dominguez underlined the "renewed Chilean support for the Malvinas Islands cause" during an event at the Legislative Assembly which received Bachelet in Congress.

"Two hundred years ago San Martin crossed the Andes to join O'Higgins in embracing the independence of the region" said Dominguez, and today with the "Maipu Treaty; Cristina Fernandez and Michelle Bachelet are setting the foundations for the economic sovereignty of our peoples".

The lawmaker said that the "agreement will help advance towards the Pacific ocean outlet which Argentina needs to strengthen its trade relation with Asia", adding that "Argentina, Brazil and Chile are the locomotives of South American development, and given their production potential and strategic geographic location will conduct the advance of all the other brotherly countries".

"The Maipu treaty is a great opportunity for the great north of Argentina, an area far from the traditional Atlantic trade relations, thanks to the economic, land and ports complementation between our north and Chile".

Dominguez added that "the improvement and modernization of these regions could at the same time represent the confluence with the south of Brazil which is an area of great industrial development".

"Our links also extend to the south with its Antarctica projection. We have the challenge to link our social and productive interests in such a manner that they boost growth in the region with the mounting of a greater number of single customs units to overcome the natural obstacle of the Andes cordillera".

In this "Chile's support for Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Malvinas plays a leading role, and as such we will see it develop in the UN and other international organizations".

Finally we need to mount a joint strategy to strengthen supra-national institutions in which both countries participate such as Unasur and Celac, the creation of ad hoc groups to consolidate coincidences in international policy, UN voting, Security Council, international credit organizations and the risk agencies.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
THE Chilean embassy in Argentina and the government of the Argentinean province of Salta hosted a symposium for senior diplomats, politicians, and industrialists in Salta on May 29 with the aim of kickstarting the revival of the Northern Transandine railway.

The line between Salta and Antofagasta in Chile was completed in 1948 and with a summit at 4474m above sea level it was the highest international railway in the world. However traffic never reached expectations and since 2006 the only regular services have been domestic freight traffic on the Chilean section and the weekly Tren a las Nubes tourist train on the Argentinean side.
The line passes through terrain rich in mineral resources, such as lead, copper and lithium, which remain largely untapped, in part due to a lack of adequate transport links. A restored Northern Transandine would do much to fill this void, by carrying the products of existing and potential mines down to the Pacific coast ports of Antofagasta and Mejillones, for export to Asia.
The Chilean section of the line is privately owned by Antofagasta Railway (FCAB) and Ferronor, while the Argentine stretch is in the hands of state-owned Belgrano Cargas.
A bilateral agreement was signed on the reactivation of the route in October 2012, but the project has made little further progress.
 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
If the Chile and Argentine Broad Gauge systems are linked, are they compatible regarding:
* couplers
* brakes
* loading gauge
** double stacking
** piggybacking
* electrification system
* signalling
* rules and regulations
* language (both speak Spanish) ?
 
jmt Assistant Commissioner

If the Chile and Argentine Broad Gauge systems are linked, are they compatible regarding:
* couplers
* brakes
* loading gauge
** double stacking
** piggybacking
* electrification system
* signalling
* rules and regulations
* language (both speak Spanish) ?
- awsgc24

Apart from language and gauge, in a word, no

Gauge is the same, however Argentina uses European type screw couplers, and Chile AAR

There are Argentine elections due at the end of the year so Michelle will offer soothing platitudes to support the Argentine left

The Argentine broad gauge system is a mixture of re-nationalised lines, and some still under private management, all are decrepit and run down. Having a left-wing populist government, Argentina is in favor of passenger rail, and in the last couple of years have spent a squillian dollars on 42 Chinese locos, around 600 EMU/DMU, and around 300 long distance carriages, which should appease their voter base. The US$600k or so kickback per loco, and US$300k per EMU/DMU/Coach from the Chinamen will have also helped recharge the election kitty, as well as the Peronist apparatchik's piggy banks

What is left of the Argentinean middle class are still infuriated that their savings have been wiped out, and that their superannuation accounts have been seized (they say stolen) by their Government. The next 45 days are critical to Argentina, if they cannot come to an agreement with US hedge funds holding a portion of their external debt, they will be forced to default (for the second time since 2002)

http://www.livemint.com/Home-Page/dJEj9KtO9eQNgIM23r2f7H/Argentina-says-next-bond-payment-impossible-threatens-defau.html

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/612381/argentina-plans-debt-swap-but-analysts-say-its-doomed

The meter gauge link from Antofagasta on the Pacific coast has the most potential. It has the ability (with the refurbishment of around 100km of track in northern Argentina) to link to the mainly meter gauge lines in southern Brazil via the existing Ferroviaria Oriental in Bolivia. Plus there is the proposed 200 km or so Korean financed south east Paraguay link which cuts the corner in that country, and links the Argentinian and the Brazilean MG networks (they have never connected), this link will feed Paraguayan grain exports to north Chile ports. Over the last few years the union (now state) owned own Belgrano Cargas, through sheer bloody ineptitude, allowed the track on The Argy side of Socompa Pass to deteriorate to the stage where it is now unusable, with 300 odd km requiring re-sleepering. The outgoing right wing Chilean government in 2012/13 renegotiated running rights over this line as far as Salta/Guemes in northern Argentina, for Chilean private operators. Track on the Chilean side of the border is private, owned by FCAB and Ferronor. For 15 years prior to 2009 this line carried the bulk of northern Chiles CNG/LPG requirements in massive privately owned Chilean tank-cars. This line has the clearances to carry 2 x TEU equivalent on splines, of which Belgrano Cargas has around 200 never used examples stored at Alto Cordoba since 1998

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=114277
http://revistatodotrenes.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/esperando-la-vuelta-del-tren-del-gas.html
For stored splines


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keG9MdvuXcw

FCAB hauls well over 2.6 million tonnes of concentrated sulphuric acid per annum to the Barrick and BHP Escondina Mines over the Chilean section of this line, the 90 or so kilometers of line from the mines to the border post at Socompa are under a care and maintenance program

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salta%E2%80%93Antofagasta_railway

There are some errors in the Wikipedia reference. The eastern sector of the Chilean line from Augusta Victoria to Socompa (around 140km) is owned by Ferronor (FCAB lease the western sector to access mining customers). The reference in the strip map to a Copiapo and Santiago connection west of O'Higgins is fantasy. When the Red Norte still existed prior to the late '80's the connection south to Santiago was at Palastina
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Well if the person who asked the question is not going to thank you for the detailed reply to his questions I will, It is always nice to get a bit more information than what is contained in the media reports that I post here.

Ross
 

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