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Buenos aires western railway

The meaning of «buenos aires western railway»

The Buenos Aires Western Railway (in Spanish: Ferrocarril Oeste de Buenos Aires), inaugurated in the city of Buenos Aires on 29 August 1857, was the first railway built in Argentina and the start of the extensive rail network which was developed over the following years. The locomotive La Porteña, built by the British firm EB Wilson & Company in Leeds,[1] was the first train to travel on this line.

The route initially measured 10 km (6.2 mi), stretching from Del Parque station (now the site of the Teatro Colón) to Floresta station, which at that time was located in San José de Flores village, but is now within Buenos Aires city limits. The rails were laid along what are now Lavalle, Enrique S. Discépolo, Avenida Corrientes and Avenida Pueyrredón, and then followed the route of the current Domingo Sarmiento Railway line towards Floresta.

Although the construction of this line was proposed by a group of private individuals known as the "Sociedad del Camino-Ferrocarril al Oeste" (in English: "Western Railway Society"), it was financed by the province of Buenos Aires, which was at that time an independent state of the Argentine Confederation. In 1863 the province became sole owner of the railway line.

The Western Railway was one of the greatest triumphs of Buenos Aires state, which justified its 27 years of ownership of the railway based on the wealth it brought to the city, its efficiency and its lower fares than those of the British-owned railway companies operating in the country. Pressure from British capital and the debts owed by the state of Argentina led to its sale in 1890 to the British company "Buenos Aires Western Railway".

The BAWR network is currently part of Domingo Sarmiento Railway network.

In 1854, while Buenos Aires was an independent state of the Argentine Confederation, governor Pastor Obligado awarded the Buenos Aires Western Railroad Society a grant for constructing a railway, from the city of Buenos Aires towards the west. This grant was fulfilled by a bill presented on 9 January by a financing committee consisting of Dalmacio Vélez Sársfield, Bartolomé Mitre and Mariano Billinghurst.

The railway's importance had already been pointed out by Juan Bautista Alberdi, who wrote in his work Basis and starting point for the Political Organization of the Argentina Republic that "the railway is the means of turning around what the colonizing Spaniards did on this continent".[2] Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Justo José de Urquiza had also defended the idea. On 17 September 1853 the above-mentioned Railway Society, formed by a group of traders, conscious of the progress in communications which its construction would lead to and the demonstration of power it would represent, requested the grant for constructing a railway which would serve both passengers and cargo and whose cars would be pulled by a steam engine. However, in 1854, when work was about to begin, the Society asked to be exempted from using steam engines arguing that it would be more convenient "to use horses, so cheap in this country, instead of coal, which is so expensive" (this method of powering trains had already been used in Europe). The motive behind this request is not clear, but it may have been because most of the population had never seen a locomotive and believed that this would be dangerous for the surrounding buildings because of the resulting vibration, or perhaps the company considered locomotives to be too costly and the expected number of passengers were low. It must be taken into account that the western railway had no financial guarantee of minimum earnings, as the soon-established British railways would have (among other benefits). They would only earn what they obtained from their own activities. In any case, steam engines were finally purchased.

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