Railway Day: how was the first train trip in Argentina?

Each August 30th is celebrated on Railway Day in Argentinain honor of the inauguration of the first railway line of the nation and its maiden voyage. This new line meant the starting point for the development of this means of transportation, which over the years managed to connect different points in the country. The choice of the date of this event refers to the act carried out, the day following the first railway crossing in Argentina. On August 29, 1857, the locomotive “The Porteña” carried out the first journey in the country. the tour lasted about 35 minutes, with a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour. The railway started from park stationwhich is currently considered Plaza Lavalle in the vicinity of the Teatro Colón, to the San José de Flores station in Floresta. The machinery belonged to the Western Railway Iron Road Society and it was manufactured in Great Britain, from where it arrived in the country in 1856. The drivers were the brothers Juan and Thomas Allen. The engineer William Brogge, was in charge of installing the rails for the stations. The mission included the participation of several foremen and 160 English workers, professionals in the railway installations.The locomotive La Porteña carried out the first railway trip in the countryArchiveFigures such as the then governor of the State of Buenos Aires, Valentín Alsina, Bartolomé Mitre, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield, chief José María Yanquetruz and Pastor Obligado, were some of the guests. on this first train trip in the country. this locomotive had four luxurious cars, built with wood. Its design was illuminated with oil lamps, with a capacity of 30 people in each wagon. The railway also had twelve freight wagons, which could carry up to five tons of weight each. The next day, the inaugural act of this first railway line was held, which continued in operation for years. Its operation caught the attention of many people, who went to Buenos Aires to live this experience. When the machinery arrived in Argentina, a year before its first trip, a parade was held through the city. The locomotive, which weighed more than 15 thousand kilograms, was hauled by thirty oxenfrom the port to the Parque station. Prior to the events of August 29, a a test ride in June of the same year. It featured the participation of Valentin Alsina Y Bartholomew Miterwho witnessed the derailment of this trainfrom which, fortunately, no one was injured. During its first year of operation, “The Porteña” managed to transport more than 56,000 passengers and more than 2000 tons of cargo. After 30 years in activity, his service came to an end. You can see this railway in the Transport Museumwhich is part of the Enrique Udaondo Provincial Museum Complex, located in Luján.

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