May 28, 2012

Uruguayan passenger services almost extinct

Written by  Keith Fender
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URUGUAYAN State Railways (AFE) has announced that it will withdraw all passenger services this week, with the exception of two trains per day on the line from Montevideo 25 de Agosto (one of which runs only as far as Progreso).

All trains north and west of 25 de Agosto to San Jose and Florida plus all services between Montevideo and Sudriers will cease on June 1.

The lines used by passenger services were rehabilitated as recently as 2007 with automatic level crossings, and passenger services beyond 25 de Agosto only resumed in 2007/08. However the rolling stock is much older, with the Brill railbuses used on the Sudriers service dating back to the 1930s.

The decision is another blow to passenger operations in Uruguay, following the recent curtailment of cross-border services from Argentina. Buenos Aires Trains (TBA) operated one train per week between Pilar near Buenos Aires and Paso de los Toros in central Uruguay using a former Netherlands Railways (NS) Wadloper dmu. The poor state of the track on the Uruguayan section, low ridership, and the cost of subsidising operations prompted the Uruguayan government to withdraw funding for the service between Paysandu and Paso de los Toros last December. The service was further cut back to Salto, the first station in Uruguayan territory, in February.

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