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Buenos aires great southern railway

The meaning of «buenos aires great southern railway»

The Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway (BAGS) (Spanish: Ferrocarril del Sud) was one of the Big Four broad gauge, 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm), British-owned companies that built and operated railway networks in Argentina. The company was founded by Edward Lumb in 1862 and the first general manager was Edward Banfield after whom the Buenos Aires suburban station of Banfield was named, when it opened in 1873. After president Juan Perón nationalised the Argentine railway network in 1948 it became part of the state-owned company Ferrocarril General Roca.

The market of Plaza Constitución in Buenos Aires was served by carts coming from the South of the province that crossed the Riachuelo through the "Puente de Gálvez". As this transport was too costly, the products could not be carried on very long distances. In 1860, 7,416 carts with wool and leather had arrived to Constitución (each vehicle had a capacity of 25 100 kg packages).

The state of passenger transport was similar. The carriages made three trips per month to Lobos, Cañuelas, 25 de Mayo, Saladillo and Dolores, two trips per month to Tandil and Lobería and just one to Bahía Blanca. The carriages were accompanied by "cuarteadores" that helped them to cross rivers and streams. There also were intermediate stops such as "La Botica", a pulpería in Lomas de Zamora of Greater Buenos Aires.

This form of transport had several disadvantages. The roads were not in good condition and the rivers obligated to passengers to stray dozens of kilometers from the path. The carriages covered an average of 80 km per day.

Because of this, Plaza Constitución was the first option to build a terminus station of a great railway that connected the city of Buenos Aires with the south of the province.

In August 1861, Edward Lumb, a British entrepreneur, requested the concession of a railway line that would run from Constitución to the city of Chascomús, 120 km from Buenos Aires. Lumb offered $ 1,000,000 as guarantee to the Government of Buenos Aires. Lumb's initiative was debated in the Chamber of Deputies, where it was concluded that the railroad was necessary for the development of the Argentinian nation. Juan B. Alberdi stated "The railroad will join the Argentine Republic better than all the congresses... without the 'iron road' that connects their extremes, the country will be always divisible and divided against all the Legislative decrees".

Finally, on May 27, 1862, the Buenos Aires Legislature promulgated the Law that authorized President of Argentina, Bartolomé Mitre, to enter into a contract with Edward Lumb. The Government demanded an interest rate of 7% on the costs of construction over 40 years. On the other hand, the company was exempt from paying contributions, taxes and custom fees. The railway company had also to carry the post for free. The Government could expropriate the railway and its assets if the company did not offer an additional 20% of the construction costs as compensation. The rail gauge should be the same as that of the Buenos Aires Western Railway and the company was able to build a tram line to Monserrat and other strategic points in the city of Buenos Aires. The contract was officialized by the Government of Argentina on June 12, 1862.

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