New Chinese-made train from Buenos Aires to Cordoba.
Train travel in Argentina has come under fire in recent years as a result of accidents and unsafe practices. These accidents mainly affected commuter trains in the greater Buenos Aires region and not long distance trains. However, many long distance trains were outdated and were begging to be renovated. A new 0 km train from China was recently acquired and replaced the old train travelling between Buenos Aires and Cordoba city. I have previously written about train travel in Argentina and what a fantastic experience it is to travel by train. Not only is train travel 80% cheaper than long distance bus transport but it is also a great way to explore the countryside and to meet new people.
A ride on the new train from Buenos Aires to Cordoba and services.
To be honest, I forgot all about the new train until it was time for me to board. Standing in front of me was a beautiful new train in the colors of the Argentine flag. Much longer and shinier than the previous one. I was fortunate to get hold of a ticket on short notice (I purchased the ticket on the same day than my departure). More than 100 people were queuing since early morning to purchase tickets for May. Yes, book in advance because the trains are really popular.
Once inside the wagon I managed to take it all in. The navy seats, golden curtains and seat trays were lovely to see. What an upgrade over the previous one! I had a seat in the Pullman class. The wagon was equipped with toilets on both sides as well as a small basin and overhead racks for luggage. Although it states that the seats are reclining they are not reclining in full. A seat tray in front of the seat comes in handy during the journey.
We were served with a snack box that contained an Alfajor, Salty cracks and a bottle of colddrink. This service was not included in the price on the old train. Personally I thought this was a nice upgrade.
The train is fitted with air-conditioner but make sure to bring something warm as it can get cold during the evening. There is a dining lounge that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Schedule and Prices train from Buenos Aires to Cordoba.
The train schedule and prices have not changed. This will be changing in the future as they are busy upgrading the tracks. Changes have been made to the classes and the tourist class is not available anymore.
Rates have increased substantially this year but it is still cheaper than travelling by bus.
Travel time and track renovations.
Travel time did not decrease as a result of the new train. This is mainly due to tracks that needs to be renovated and upgraded. The upgrade stretches over a distance of 700 km. Renovation work to the tracks have commenced and travel time will decrease once the work has been completed. My train left an hour late at 21h30 and arrived at 14h30 the next day – a travel time of 17 hours.
The Cordobes newspaper La Voz published interesting information about the historical travel times.
- 1870 – The train took 2 days and passengers had to change trains.
- 1890 – The train took 19 hours. More or less the same time than what the train is taking right now – in 2015!
- 1914 – The train took 13 hours.
- 1935 – The train took 11 hours.
- 1938 – The train took 9 hours with 2 stops.
This new Chinese train is capable of reaching a speed of 120 km/hour but is working at an average of 36 km/hour. There is room for improvement but it is important to note that the state of the tracks are the determining factor. Once the planned renovations are done, the train could be faster than the long distance bus that clocks in at 8 hours and 45 minutes between Buenos Aires and Cordoba city.
For many, price is a determining factor and fact is the prices are good. Personally I am very impressed with the new train. I sincerely hope that the train will stay new for a long time and that the people will appreciate the service that is offered at this great price.
Where to purchase train tickets in Argentina?
Telephone Number: 0800-222-TREN (8736) – Monday to Friday from 6:00 to 22:00. Saturday from 6:00 to 20:00 and Sunday from 8:00 to 20:00.
Telephone Number Cordoba Train Station: (0351) 4263565
Telephone Number Buenos Aires: 4108-8810 – 4108-8800