Monday, March 25, 2019

Tren Patagonico from Viedma to Bariloche

For me, the Tren Patagonica was one of the aspects of Argentina that persuaded me to go there. If a country has no trains, there is not much point going there as far as I am concerned. Yes, I am biased.

It leaves from the Viedma Station on the outskirts of town.

Ticket office. It's possible to buy sit up tickets on the day it leaves, but since it only leaves on Fridays, a ticket for one of the sleeping compartments sell out weeks in advance. I managed to get the last one. For solo travellers like myself, if you buy a ticket you get the whole compartment to yourself.

The carriages were lined up but with no engine attached.

The end of the line. There was a group of carriages on another line.

The restaurant car. Apparently, there used to be a disco car.

Entrance to the sleeping car which is positioned towards the front of the train.

An engine turned up and pushed the other group of carriages away.

This poor bloke came out to hang up the bell. One of the several dogs running around watched patiently.

The poor bloke was not tall enough to position the bell to slip over the hook. He tried valiantly for five or more minutes until one of his taller coworkers came along and did the job for him. The bell must have been quite heavy.

About 30 minutes before departure we were allowed on board. This was my compartment at the end of the carriage.

The top bunk.


The window shades are a metal grate. 

Females at one end and males at the other. Your backside gets drafty.

The train set off on-time and it was immediately obvious that it was going to be a rough ride. My compartment was right above a set of bogies and I felt every jolt.

My phone app said we were doing about 30 mph.

This whole part of Argentina is really flat. I suppose it is the Pampas.

Just before dusk, I think they were swans but they are probably just geese..

Fortunately, my compartment was only a few feet away from the dining car and at 8 pm, I got a seat.

One of the kitchen staff had come around shortly after the train left with this little leaflet. It asked passengers to attend the ding car at 8 pm for a sample of seafood dishes as part of a promotion to get Argentinians to eat more seafood.

The restaurant car filled and this little lady was anxious to show me her stuffed animal. I duly played with her and her mother approved.

I had met the bloke on the right on the station platform. He was from Wales. On his left was an Argentinian who spoke English.

Sitting mext to me was his close friend from University days. Both of the Argentinians spoke English and were very friendly. We all sampled the seafood paella which was good and washed it down with free white wine which a waiter was slopping into glasses. Well, my glass was glass since I was a sleeper passenger, the others had plastic. 

Then followed one of those evenings that you read about on trains where the locals talk to the foreigners about their country and ask questions about everything. These two were much more interested about my Australian background than my US background. The Welsh bloke also had a very interesting history and reckoned that he was at one time, the British surfing champion. That must have been a lot of weight ago.

Most of the passengers left when the free seafood ran out. Since we had not eaten much, we all ordered steaks. The other option was chicken. Our Argentinian friends ordered a bottle of Malbec that was excellent and refused to let us pay. Then a bottle of Jack Daniels made an appearance. It was a fun and informative evening and was just what I needed. It gets a bit old travelling by yourself.

The steak was overcooked but still quite edible and flavourful.

The train stopped in San Antonio (West) and all four of us got off for some fresh air. The Welsh guy and one of the Argentinians had a smoke.

It was time to go to bed and so after expressing thanks for such a great evening, I headed off to my compartment. I could not work out how to get the bunk down and there was no one around to help so I just lay down on the seat and used my jacket as a pillow. The ride was perhaps even more rough but eventually I fell asleep.

Next morning I returned to the dining car for breakfast.

The basic coffee, watered down juice, toasted stale bread and butter and jam. It's better than nothing. 

A station in the middle of nowhere. The train had reversed direction in the middle of the night so my window now faced south and I could take photos without glare.

Note the bell on the far left. Every station has one and just before the train leaves, somebody rings the bell.

These remote towns reminded me of similar small towns in Montana.


A line of broken down wagons.

More cattle.

We had left the flat plain and were now in hilly country.

There is not a lot out here.

3000 feet altitude.

The train line is the lifeblood of some of these small towns.

I liked the building.

And the mural.

Much more hilly country.

There are not many rivers or streams out in this area.  


I discovered there was a sink in the compartment. I had been resting my duffel bag on it.

A couple of pine trees.

Then a lot more pine trees.

Now we were seeing mountains.

And then some snow on an Andes peak. 

Lots of pines trees as we came into Bariloche.

We arrived in Bariloche about 90 minutes late. I'm glad that I did the trip but I wouldn't want to do the return trip. It's much too bumpy and the scenery in the east is pretty boring.

But I will always remember the meal in the dining car. That was great.

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