Railways, Atacama: English


History of the railroad in Atacama Region, Chile

Introduction (3) - Map and lines

Museo Virtual, Chile

W. Griem, 2006 - 2021

Comericial FFCC del estado de Chile, 1943
From: Guía Veraneante 1943 (FFCC del Estado Chile)

Railway routes in Atacama
line description
www.geovirtual2.cl /W.Griem

List of the historical and active railway lines in Atacama
See also: Journeys:
All the lines (Introduction)
List of all the lines
List of the stations

History of railways,  Atacama:  p.1 І p.2 І p.3 І p.4

  español / deutsch / english

Historic Railroad Network in the Atacama Region, Chile

Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Inca de Oro Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Altamira Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Inca de Oro Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Argentina Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Las Bombas Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Catalina Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Punta Colorada Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Caldera Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Yerbas Buenas Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Carrera Pinto Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Incahuasi Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Cachiyuyo Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Domeyko Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Vallenar Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Carrizal Alto Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Astillas Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Chañaral Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Diego de Almagro Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Las Animas Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Montandon Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Algarrobo Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Copiapo Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Linea a Puquios Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Puquios Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Los Loros Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Chañarcillo Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Carrizal Bajo Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Punta de Diaz Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Refresco Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Santa Luisa Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Taltal Ferrocarriles de Atacama - Pedro Leon Gallo Ferrocarriles del desierto de Atacama - Chile

Active Map

The distribution of the railway lines in the Atacama Region clearly indicates a decentralized regional planning of different companies and different purposes. Finally 1914/1916 all the insulated lines were connected to the longitudinal line (red line in the map).
The initial routes were extended in accordance with the axes of mining industrialization and technical feasibility. In Atacama, the following main axes can be defined:
1) Huasco Valley: Huasco - Vallenar - Pedro León Gallo
2) Carrizal Ravine: Carrizal Bajo - Merceditas / Yerbas Buenas
3) Copiapó river valley: Caldera - San Antonio, Puquios, Chañarcillo
4) Valle Chañaral: Barquito - Potrerillos - Las Animas

The often highly ramified railway systems were connected by the Longitudinal Railway until 1916.
Unfortunately, the desired economic activation of this billion-dollar infrastructure project could not be observed. The route was intended as a major activation project, but also to provide the country of Chile with a modern transport system that could act as the backbone for future economic activities.
For various reasons, the development did not proceed as desired:
The economic decline of the mining industry continued into the 40's, the competence of trucks and cars in the 60's, but also a shift of the industrial centres caused that the longitudinal track could never fulfil its real role. The planning wasn't optimal either. Cost-effective routing was often preferred, which did not permit high travel speeds.

1) It must be taken into account that infrastructural works do not necessarily have to generate profits. As a government (in this case Chile) there are several objectives that are more important than a monetary advance (social gain): social role, connectivity, competitiveness, future projection, preventing situations of dependency, showing presence, levelling out cyclical economic variations or simply subsidizing a sector or an activity indirectl.

Lineas ferreas en el desierto de Atacama

Literature and Links (more literature)

Any new publication not authorized by the authors is expressly prohibited. This applies in particular to electronic publications:  Usage guidelines.
If you have old photos or other (historical) material of the Atacama region, we would be very pleased to implement this in our pages: Contact

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Geology (Spanish)
Apuntes Geología General
Apuntes Geología Estructural
Apuntes Depósitos Minerales
Apuntes Exploraciones Mineras
Geological periods
Literature and Citation
Geological index (spanish)
Virtual museum
Virtual Museum: First page
Geological excursion
Some Minerals
History of Geosciences
Mining in historical literature
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Historical authors mining and geology
Geological index (spanish)
Images of Chile and Atacama
The Coquimbo Region, Chile
The Coquimbo Region
History of the Coquimbo Region
Railroad history of Coquimbo
Names and places
Images from Chile
Atacama Region, Chile
Journey to Atacama
Atacama sightseeing places
History of Atacama
Mining history of Atacama
Geology of Atacama, Chile
The railroad history of Atacama
Flora Atacama
Animals of the Atacama Desert
Virtual viewpoint Atacama
Atacama en b/n
Road - maps /
Morphologic 3-dimensions
Climate history of Atacama
Books & Collection of Books
List of names and places of Atacama
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www.geovirtual2.cl / Virtual Museum / Atacama Region / Railroads of Atacama
Railroad history of the Atacama desert - Chile
© Dr. Wolfgang Griem, Chile - all rights reserved  (Mail a Wolfgang Griem Uso de las páginas de geovirtual.cl y geovirtual2.cl)
Published: 11.2.2009, updated: 1.10.2017, 4.8.2018, 2.12.2018, 30.01.2021
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Any new publication not authorized by the authors is expressly prohibited. This applies in particular to electronic publications: Usage guidelines
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