A bit of the Trains of Chile

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CL_TrainDriver

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12 Feb 2021
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Chile
Hi all!

I am Train Driver from Chile, a country in South America. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this forum, the truth is that the "English Railways" have always been an inspiration for me, their systems, the incredible variety of types of trains, and their beautiful landscapes. I hope to be able to travel soon, when the pandemic ends.

And it is also because Chile, when the construction of its railroad began, had engineers of English nationality in charge, therefore we have a lot in common. Our first "traindrivers" were English, who over time were nationalizing Chileans. Our first electrical mobilization systems were of English origin, where we used "bastones" or as they are known in the UK "tokens", wich were taken from the "staff". Historically we have never had trains of English origin. But we do have trains with English components, like GEC Traction (and its beautiful engine sounds).

Unfortunately little, and honestly nothing, remains of those systems in operation. Only ruins and memories of what was the "time of glory" of the railroad in my country, which occurred between the years 1920 and 1979 approximately. After that, until 15 years ago, the train only remained and worked with what was available, until the reform began.

Today the railroad is growing again in my country, retaking its ground and gaining strength. And this is what I want to share with you, a bit of the present and over time, I will upload small pieces of the past.

First, some videos that i upload:

  • These are the "Automotores AES" or AES EMU for you. These trains (my lifelong favorites, I grew up on them) have GEC Traction engines, and they sound like gods. They sound similar to your Class 315, 319, 321, etc. These trains arrived in Chile in 1976 and were built by Fiat Concord, in Argentina. They are very faithful trains and they are the oldest EMUs in operation. Of the 20, only 2 are left working, and they are currently under restoration for tourist trips. The video is recorded in the south of Chile, in the city of Concepción, where until last year the electric mobilization system still worked and you can see some of that in the video.
  • These are the "Automotores Xtrapolis", or Xtrapolis EMU and they are the trains that I drive in my city. We have 35 Xtrapolis, built by Alstom, 27 of them are Xtrapolis 100 (La Rochelle, 2005) and 8 are Xtrapolis Modular (Barcelona 2015) which in Spain are known as "Civia". In Australia, they also have Xtrapolis 100, but in compositions of 3 cars and other details. The Xtrapolis 100, in 2005, came to replace the AES EMU, which worked in my city for 29 years, it was a farewell and welcome to the new system, very emotional and iconic. The system where I work is called "Metro Valparaiso" and it connects the cities of Valparaiso and Limache, in a distance of 43 kilometers (26 miles) in a time of approximately 1 hour. Here we use a CTC + ATP electrical signaling system similar to yours, with 100% manual driving.

  • And finally (but just to get started), a bit of the steam trains that we have. In Chile we only have two tourist trains that run on steam locomotives. "El Valdiviano" in the city of Valdivia, and "El Tren de la Araucania" in the city of Temuco. The latter travels a distance of 65 kilometers between the cities of Temuco and Victoria in a time of approximately 3 hours, crossing very beautiful fields, with an intermediate stop at "Estacion Lautaro", to make the crossing with the regular passenger service that does the same route, but with DMU trains. The locomotive is "Type 80" and was built by Baldwin in 1940, while the cars are German Linke Hoffmann from the 50's and only one is Fiat Concord from 1974. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, the train has not made any trips lately, but the time has been used and the entire composition is being maintained.
I hope you like it, and with time I will go looking through my files, to upload videos and photographs of the old electrical signaling system, which are identical.

Thank you very much!.
 
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class26

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Hello and welcome to the forum. I really look forward to watching all your videos and would love to visit Chile one day to experience these trains myself !
 

KeithMcC

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Would love to visit CHile again once the current panics are over. Went a few years ago but didn't manage to travel on any trains, seemed difficult to find information. We did manage a trip on La Trochita though when we crossed in to Argentina.
The railway museum in Santiago was worth a visit although everything seemed a bit neglected.
 

rf_ioliver

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THanks. The videos are very much appreciated - I particularlly liked the Tuneles Paso Hondo video.

 

Shinkansenfan

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CL_TrainDriver, welcome aboard and thanks for the updates and videos!

I'm interested to learn if there are any plans to restore the long distance trains, such as to Puerto Montt.
I'm glad to see new trains in Valparaiso--an interesting city with many funiculars.
 

upnorth71

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Hokkaido JAPAN
Thank you for the informative post. Yes, those AES units would have sounded pleasant (for the railfan at least) with their axle hung motors. Is it true they were nicknamed "cachos" when they were in regular service?
 

CL_TrainDriver

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Joined
12 Feb 2021
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2
Location
Chile
Hello and welcome to the forum. I really look forward to watching all your videos and would love to visit Chile one day to experience these trains myself !
Thank you very much. When the time comes, contact me!.
Would love to visit CHile again once the current panics are over. Went a few years ago but didn't manage to travel on any trains, seemed difficult to find information. We did manage a trip on La Trochita though when we crossed in to Argentina.
The railway museum in Santiago was worth a visit although everything seemed a bit neglected.
Yes, the truth is that there is very little information, since we honestly have few trains. But as I mentioned before, that is changing and we are growing. In fact, two days ago, new DMU and EMU trains (built by CRCC, China) arrived to reinforce passenger services in Concepción and Temuco, in southern Chile. I have some mixed feelings with that museum, I think that focusing only on steam locomotives is wrong, as well as condemning the locomotives to stay there forever since there is no connection with the main track. But also as the "culture of preserving" in this country is so basic, it was the "best option".
THanks. The videos are very much appreciated - I particularlly liked the Tuneles Paso Hondo video.

Thank you very much. I am going to upload a video in a few days from the other side of the tunnels, where there is an incredible geography. But as a first data, they are tunnels that are already more than 100 years old.
CL_TrainDriver, welcome aboard and thanks for the updates and videos!

I'm interested to learn if there are any plans to restore the long distance trains, such as to Puerto Montt.
I'm glad to see new trains in Valparaiso--an interesting city with many funiculars.
Thanks you vey much!.
For now there are no plans for long-distance trains, as "Santiago - Puerto Montt" was until 20 years ago.

Ferrocarriles (GrupoEFE) is focusing on meeting the local needs of large cities, such as Santiago (capital), Valparaiso and Concepción, implementing integrated services between trains, subways and buses. This with the idea of reaching the borders of each of these cities, because in recent years the population density has grown a lot. So once these projects are consolidated, GrupoEFE has long-distance projects in mind to link these main cities.

The closest "long distance" project that is actually "medium distance" is to enhance the service that currently exists between the cities of Santiago and Chillan, which are 500 kilometers (310 miles) - which is the longest regular service we have. - and what will be done with new trains, from China too, which will arrive in approximately 2023. These trains will be "bi-mode" EMU and DMU, which is quite a first for us.
Thank you for the informative post. Yes, those AES units would have sounded pleasant (for the railfan at least) with their axle hung motors. Is it true they were nicknamed "cachos" when they were in regular service?
Thank to you!. At first yes, and it was due to two main factors:

1.- For the year 1976 they were very technologically advanced.
Before AES, here were the:
  • "AM Alemanes" (AM from AutoMotor means Multiple Unit) or "German EMU", built by Linke Hoffmann during the Second World War, between 1937 and 1942 and with another delivery arrived in 1956. There were 12 units.
  • "AM Italians" or "Italian EMU", built by an Italian consortium between Breda-Marelli and AERFER in 1962. There were 5 units.
Both had a very "analogous" technology, without electric brake and easy to maintain and understand for the personnel of the time (understanding that with the Linke Hoffmann it was the transition from steam to electricity from one moment to another), but these two types of "AM" were 4 cars, very spacious in every way, with a bathroom in each car.

On the other hand, when the AES arrived, they had an electric brake integrated into the tire by means of electronic cards, that is, the train braked purely with an electric brake up to 15 km / h and then automatically applied a pneumatic brake, to avoid the wear of the shoes or calipers (technology today usual and normal on trains). Passenger doors, air pressure, etc. were also integrated into the traction. therefore it was a bit difficult for the traction personnel of the time to understand them.

2.- They were small (two cars) and not very comfortable for the passenger.
Compared to the AM EMUs, they were very small. Furthermore, 3 years earlier in 1973, 8 4-car EMUs for local service and 6 4-car EMUs for long-distance service arrived from Japan, which were a true luxury train, extremely spacious and comfortable.
Then, next to the AES, a two-car train with a single bathroom, narrow seats, small windows, etc. That is why they were looked down upon at first.

Over the years, both the traction personnel and the passengers, created a very strong bond with the AES, since they were very, very faithful and as they say here they were "dog meat" which means that they resisted everything, they failed little and they endured the hustle and bustle of doing more than 1000 kilometers a day without problem for decades. And that, I ended up making one of the most beloved trains in the country, people remember them with great emotion, therefore they went from being "cachos" to being one of the best.

I'll upload another video also from the AES, where you can see the interior and a little more history. They were involved in the worst rail accident in the history of my country.

Again I thank you all for your comments and interest in the trains of my country, I hope to continue being a contribution!

---‐-------------------------------

(My post merged)


Hello!

Today, February 17, it is 35 years since the worst railway accident in Chile occurred. That summer afternoon, two trains (AES EMU) collided head-on with catastrophic consequences, where more than 150 people died (only 50 were said at the time).

At that time the trains circulated between Valparaiso and Santiago (the capital of Chile), in a route of approximately 148 kilometers (91 miles) in a time between 2 and 3 hours, in conditions far from being optimal and safe, with systems of degraded mobilization (electrical signaling) and sections of rail out of service). Between Valparaiso and Limache the rail is double (26 miles), the rest between Limache and Santiago is single rail, with small double sections.

The problem is that between "Peña Blanca" (the station before Limache) and Limache, only one rail had been enabled for works on a bridge that exists, therefore they were mobilized under emergency conditions in that section, the "express trains" having priority . Therefore they mobilized the express, it arrived at the other station and the other train began the journey and thus, day by day for months, with a stable communication between the mobilizers ("cab signallers", i think) of both stations.

Then, the express that was in Peñablaca Station, was authorized to start a trip to Limache. The composition was a double train (AES-16 + AES-4), full of families and passengers who came from the beach back to their homes. January and February are the summer vacation period here in Chile.

In Limache, at the same time, there was a local service train coming from "Los Andes" Station (a city at the foot of the mountain range of the same name). This was the AES-9, also full of passengers.

Due to a mistake, a confusion, the local train was also dispatched to Peñablanca, by the same rail. This is because unfortunately the communication services between both stations were interrupted by the theft of cables. The railway personnel in Limache realized almost immediately the mistake they had made, but the train had already left. Approximately 7 kilometers from Limache is the "Queronque" sector, in the middle of the countryside, at that time practically without inhabitants, only a couple of peasants. Regarding the train track, it is a complex sector as it has curves and counter-curves in the form of "S", therefore it is a sector where speed is decreased.

The trains came at an approximate speed of 120 kilometers, but to enter Queronque they lowered it to 70 - 80 kilometers (45 mph). Everything happened very fast, due to the visual effect of the contra curves, they were not seen until almost being on top. Accounts say that both trains honked their horns and then collided.

They crashed around 7:45 pm, and the rescue work lasted about 36 hours. Only until the next day, they were able to separate the trains to continue with the rescue. At that time there were no roads to access Queronque, therefore firefighters and ambulances had to "make their way while walking" to reach the place, completely dark and without even 10% of supplies to help in the tragedy.

And so it was the worst accident, today in the place there is a "cave or monolith" and some, every time we pass by there, we sound the horns of our trains in a way of showing respect.

This is how the trains collided
unnamed.jpg

The next day, apart, this was the visual
foto.JPG

On the internet, of course, there are more pictures of the accident, but they are more raw and strong. For a matter of respect, I will not put them. For the same reason I will not delve into the crudest details about the rescue of people.

But here, I will leave a couple of videos:

This is from a news channel, it was made when the accident was 30 years old. It is in Spanish, but the images speak for themselves. It also has a "recreation" of the time in model trains.


I uploaded this video a moment ago, and as I promised someone above that I would upload a video of the interior of the AES EMU, here it is. You can see the inside, which helps to understand a little more about the accident and everything that was destroyed when the two collided. Then there is a scene of the departure of the train, where its beautiful engines are heard.

 
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