The Argentine railway system began in the 1850s, with major improvements financed by the British until about 1914. In the 1940s, the formerly privatized railway was nationalized by the Argentine government, but over time the extensive vein of railways proved too costly and cumbersome to maintain. In the 1990s, the railway was slowly privatized again, in segments, and today much of the railway network throughout the country is no longer used. Nevertheless, the commuter lines centered around Buenos Aires are still in operation and are used frequently for commuters coming into the city from the Province.
The five main commuter line stations are Retiro, Constitucion, Once de Septiembre, Federico Lacroze, and Buenos Aires Station. Retiro (the largest) and Constitucion lie at opposite ends of the C Subte line. Once de Septiembre is located off of Rivadavia and is serviced by the A line at the Plaza Miserere station. Federico Lacroze is located off of Corrientes and is serviced by the B line. Lastly, and least used, is the Buenos Aires Station in the Barracas barrio. This station can be accessed directly via the 59 bus, or via the 37, 46, and 188 bus lines which run close by.
Most trains run in 7-20 minute intervals, and each ride costs between $0.75 and $1.85 depending on how far you’re traveling. Be sure to purchase your ticket at the ticket counters in the stations. You can be fined a paltry $10 for boarding without a ticket, and in general ticket inspections are rare, but it’s always best to abide by the honor system.
The largest and most frequented rail lines are those coming in and out of Retiro. They run along the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires — the Tigre line being the best known to tourists — as well as barrios including Belgrano, Nuñez, Colegiales and Villa Urquiza in Capital Federal. These lines are generally safe as the areas they travel through are some of the nicer and wealthier neighborhoods and suburbs, but as always stay on guard and keep close watch over your belongings. The other stations are in sketchier areas of the city, and the trains are not safe after dark. The Roca line, which runs out of Constitucion, is especially notorious for shutdowns and strikes. Exercise caution on these lines, especially if you are traveling alone.
Because the train lines are run by separate companies, it’s difficult getting comparable schedules online. However, some of the companies do have websites that you can access for schedules and fees. Don’t expect the sites to be in English, but they are fairly intuitive to use.
- Ferrovias (Belgrano line) 0800-777-3377; http://www.ferrovias.com.ar
- Trenes de Buenos Aires (Mitre line, including Tigre) 0800-333-3822; http://www.tbanet.com.ar
- Transportes Metropolitano (San Martín line) 4011-5826; http://www.metropolitano.com.ar
- Metropolitano (Roca line) 0800-1-2235-8736; http://www.metropolitano.com.ar
- Trenes de Buenos Aires (Sarmiento line) 0800-333-3822; http://www.tbanet.com.ar