the old patagonian express - the final chapter

all prices & options are per person

Year - 2023

Departure Date - nov 3

Return Date - nov 17

This Tour Is Open - sure go

Tour Type - railfan / tourist

$7,595 - full tour

$1,195 - Single Room Supplement

$5,995 - short option

$989 - Single Room Supplement

$2,000 - deposit to hold space
both options

Final Payment Due By - july 3 2023

Tour Includes:

* 32 meals
* cab rides
* 6 workshops
* fully escorted
* 11 charter trains
* plenty of photo run-bys
* photograpgh the PE motors
* 2 ferroclub railroad museums
* 1 argentine domestic flight
* overnight onboard the el bahiense
* overnight onboard the tren patagonico
* 13 nights lodging in good tourist class hotels

about this tour

The Old Patagonian Express has gone down in folklore history made popular by the author Paul Theroux and others over the years. But this train does exist in a remote region of the Argentine Patagonia, some 1000 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. Most railfans know this as the Esquel narrow gauge line. Locals call It “La Trochita” and railroad management calls it “El Viejo Expreso Patagonico” 2022 marked the 100th year anniversary of this historic rail line. We will have all of the locomotives that pull our trains re lettered into the original Ferrocarriles Argentinos in honor of 100 years of operation. We want our train consist and motive power to look just like it was many years ago.

Over the past 100 years this 251 mile (402 km) 2’ 5 1/2” (75cm) gauge line has seen good and bad times from seen several trains per day to just one train per week and during the Covid Pandemic no trains at all. One very important fact now stands out about this rail line… IT IS THE LAST AND LONGEST 100% STEAM OPERATED RAILROAD IN ALL OF SOUTH AMERICA! The Baldwin and Henschel 2-8-2’s are still being repaired in the workshops to keep the tourist trains operating. For several days in November 2023 we will turn back the clock and operate several charter trains over the entire system. Since 1987 we have now chartered 44 trains on this line and our guides and staff know it well.

When this line fell onto hard times several years ago railroad management decided to cut way back on track repair work on the Northern section between Cerro Mesa and Norquinco, a distance of 74 miles. Our agreement with the railroad is to have all track repairs completed so that our charters will be able to operate Ing. Jacobacci to Esquel and return. These track repairs are taking place right now. During the course of seven days on this line our charters will cover a total of 588 miles all pulled by steam!

Railroad management has made it very clear to us that once our charter trains operate over the 74 miles between Cerro Mesa and Norquinco they will yet again stop all track work and repairs. Because of this we are announcing that this will be our last planned set of charters over this famous line. So if you want to experience The Old Patagonian Express the way it was some 50 years we suggest you consider coming with us to Argentina in November.


During the full 15 day tour additional time will be spent enjoying other steam locomotive operations in the Buenos Aires and Jacobacci plus a planned charter pulled by Baldwin/ Westinghouse electric No. 952 which is being restored by the Ferroclub Argentino near Buenos Aires. This classic electric was built in 1927 for the Red River Lumber Company out of Westwood, California and later operated on the Central California Traction Railroad and then the Pacific Electric in Los Angeles before being sold to Argentina in the mid 1950's. We have requested that this classic electric motor be on the point of our charter train out of Buenos Aires to the  Ferroclub Argentino museum at Lynch on the standard gauge Urquiza Railroad. One or two of the club's standard gauge steam locomotives will be in operation at the museum in Lynch for our visit. As an added plus the Ferroclub has agreed to paint her back up in Pacific Electric colors and reletter her to Pacific Electric 1592 for our visit. Additionally the last operating Baldwin Shark Nose diesel in the world will pull our train out of Buenos Aires. We will then visit the clubs other museum which houses the broad gauge equipment at Escalada. Finally on our last day we plan to visit the stored passenger cars that were built by Budd for the C&O's Chessie passenger train which never went into service and ended up being sold to a number of railroads in the US including the FC Roca in Argentina.

day by day - Itinerary

Day 1 - fri nov 3

Independent arrivals in Buenos Aires and independent check-in at the four star NH Tango Hotel. Afternoon tour of the major passenger train stations in Buenos Aires. We will begin this tour at our hotel lobby at 2:00pm and walk to the near-by subway station. This afternoon excursion will be fully escorted by not only our American guide but our local railfan guides that live in Buenos Aires. We will introduce you to how most of the local folks get around the city. You will be amazed how all of the major train stations can be accessed by subway. In fact a person can visit just about all areas of the city by rail. We plan to visit these train stations: Plaza Constitucion (largest station in BA) has 16 platforms and hundreds of trains a day. Retiro Mitre, Retiro San Martin and Retiro Belgrano. These three stations are next to each other with easy access. Back to our downtown hotel to relax for the evening.

🍽 dinner

Day 2 - sat nov 4

Today we have a morning flight at 11:25AM Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche arriving at 1:35pm. (Air Tickets Included) We will first have lunch then go on a tour of the Lake District region and a city tour of Bariloche which was settled by Swiss and Germans and so this delightful town gives you the feel of being in the Swiss Alps. After our town tour we will go out to the train station and small shops which is on the Ferroviarios Patagonico (Railroad) . Then hotel check in at the four star Hotel Edelweiss and the evening we will have our “Welcome to Argentina Dinner”.

short option tour members

Arrive in buenos aires and transfer to the domestic airport and fly to bariloche and meet up with the group at the hotel. this flight is not included in the short option and if ticketed as part of the international flights this ticket fare is greatly discounted and in some cases depending upon the international airline used into buenos aires your flight to bariloche is free.

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 - sun nov 5

Today we have a charter two unit Spanish built railcar from San Carlos de Bariloche to Jacobacci a distance of 121 miles on broad gauge. Several photo run-bys will be made on our way to Jacobacci. We will first pay a visit to the narrow gauge steam workshops in Jacobacci before hotel check-in and dinner.

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 - mon nov 6

We plan to depart Jacobacci very early with our charter pulled by one of the narrow gauge 2-8-2’s Jacobacci to Norquinco , a distance of 126 miles. The first 10 miles out of Jacobacci is a very unique dual gauge three rail line where the narrow gauge shares the rails with the broad gauge. We will stage as many photo run-bys today as possible but this is going to be a very long day so the photo stops will be somewhat limited. Back some 50 years ago “The Old Patagonian Express” could make it between Jacobacci and El Maiten in just 8 hours but not anymore. Today it will take our train a good 13 hours just to make it to Norquinco. We plan to arrive at Norquinco at around sunset. Here we transfer to our charter motorcoach for the ride to the small town of El Bolson and hotel check-in at the Cordillera Hotel. You will keep your same room for the next five nights.

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 - tue nov 7

Return Norquinco via motorcoach to reboard our waiting charter train for the rail trip south to El Maiten, a distance of 23 miles. Visit what is left of the steam workshops and running shed at El Maiten and a small railroad museum. Many of the original buildings have now been torn down. There is plenty of narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock stored here. The original roster was made up of 11 Baldwin and 11 Henschel steam locomotives of the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement plus one Henschel 0-6-0 that was used at the workshop and yard as a switcher. We then reboard our charter train and continue our journey southbound to a the station of Thomae where the Mapuche Indian Blockaide is located. Our charter bus will be waiting and we will ride back to El Bolson for the 2nd night. Same hotel and rooms.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 6 - wed nov 8

We return to Thomae where our train had tied up for the night. This morning we will be able to follow our train by highway through the 13 mile blockaide taking pictues at a couple locations. At the station of Leleque we will reboard our train and continue south to the end of the line at Esquel. Transfer back to our hotel in El Bolson.  For those tour members that are interested instead of riding our train we will take you on a full day sightseeing tour of the spectacular scenery in the Andies in the El Bolson region.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 7 - thur nov 9

In the morning we will visit the running shed and stage the steam locomotives on the turntable at Esquel before boarding our charter train. Today we will have a doubleheader with one Baldwin and a Henschel and a mixed consist of freight and passenger cars for the steep climb out of the Esquel Valley and up to the Patagonian Plateau at Nahuel Pan, a distance of 12 very scenic and steep miles. Here one steam locomotive will return to Esquel as we depart northbound with our mixed consist and one locomotive. We will make a stop at the Lepa station for lunch. Arrangements have been made for a authentic “Argentine Barbecue” to be served on an open fire BBQ pit built next to the station by authentic Argentine Gauchos (Cowboys). The Gauchos will start our barbecue in plenty of time before we arrive so it will be ready for us. Included in this barbecue is Beef, Pork, Lamb and fresh home made sausages, plus salad and french bread. This is a “All you can Eat” barbecue. After lunch we reboard our train and continue north to Leleque where we will transfer to our waiting bus for the short ride to El Bolson.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 8 - fri nov 10

We return by bus to Thomae and reboard our waiting train for the journey north to El Maiten. Here our engine will be replaced with different one. We depart northbound for the 23 miles to Norquinco. Plenty of photo run-bys today. Again we transfer to our waiting bus for the trip back to El Bolson.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 9 - sat nov 11

Return to Norquinco to board our waiting train and head northbound to Jacobacci, a distance of 125 miles. This will be a very long day so we will only run a few photo run-bys today. We estimate between departure from the hotel in El Bolson until you check in at the hotel in Jocobacci will be at least 17 hours. This is why we are giving you dinner on the train today. Upon arrival in Jacobacci hotel check-in.

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10 - sun nov 12

Today we have a charter train with a different consist from Jacobacci south to Ojo de Agua and return a distance of 54 miles. We will stage photos run-bys both directions. Ten miles west of Jacobacci is the junction of the narrow gauge and broad gauge. Waiting for us will be a broad gauge passenger train pulled by locomotive 121 a 2-8-0 North British built in 1913. After staging the board and narrow gauge locomotives side by side for photos we stage some photo run-bys with the North British 2-8-0 before headed east towards Jacabacci. You are welcome to ride either trains. The next couple of unique photo run-bys will feature both trains, broad gauge and narrow gauge.

Back in Jacobacci we will board the once a week Tren Patagonico departing at 9:24 pm and headed eastbound. Everyone will be in Sleeper Class. Once onboard and you get all settled into your private bedroom you will want to go to the dinning car and enjoy dinner. Then after dinner this train has a theather car so you might want to go watch a movie.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 11 - mon nov 13

Tren Patagonico arrives in Viedma at 11:34 am but is most often late. We will either have lunch in the dining car or at a restaurant in Viedma depending upon the arrival of the train. After lunch we visit the railroad workshops for Tren Patagonico. After our visit hotel check-in.

🍽 lunch

Day 12 - tue nov 14

Leisure morning and hotel check-out. Late morning we board our charter motorcoach for our three hour trip Viedma to Bahia Blanca which is a distance of 155 miles. We will break this trip by stopping for lunch early afternoon. Upon arrival we go to visit the workshops of Ferro Sur which is the freight train operator for this area of Argentina. We then take you on a general sightseeing tour of Bahia Blanca and the area. Back at the train station we prepare to board the "El Bahiense" overnight passenger train to Buenos Aires which departs at 9:15pm and is operated by Trenes Argentinos. You will have plenty of time to settle into your private bedroom for this 13 hour journey. After getting settled into your bedroom you might want to go to the dinning car for dinner. Remember, the Argentine people like to have late dinners.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 13 - wed nov 15

The overnight passenger train from Bahia Blanca is scheduled to arrive at the Plaza Constitucion Station at 4:35 pm. Upon arrival we will transfer directly to our waiting charter train pulled by the last operating Baldwin Shark Nose diesel in the world. Our charter will take us to the FerroClub's broad gauge museum at Escalada. After our museum visit we make a stop at La Boca which is part of Buenos Aires and explore colorful Caminito Street. Then we return to our hotel our check-in.


Upon arrival at the Plaza Constitucion station at 4:35 pm a charter motorcoach will take you directly to the international airport for your flights home. If the El Bahiense is on-time then we will have you at the airport around 6:00 pm.

🍽 breakfast, lunch

Day 14 - thur nov 16

In the morning we visit the Ferroclub Argentino’s railroad museum at Lynch which is on standard gauge. We will first go to the Federico Lacroze Station on the Urquiza Railroad which is located within the city limits of Buenos Aires. Here we will board our private charter train for the run to Lynch. Former Pacific Electric motor 952 built by Baldwin/Westinghouse will be on the point of our train. This classic electric motor was built for the Red River Lumber Company in 1927 as No. 204. In 1944 it was sold to the Central California traction and renumbered to 24. Then in 1947 it went to the Pacific Electric as No. 1592. Finally in 1952 this motor was sold to Argentina. At the Lynch museum one or two of the club's steam locomotives will be in operation. The Ferroclub has agreed to repaint her in the original Pacific Electric scheme and renumber her to 1592 just for our visit. You will have plenty of time to explore the Ferroclub's museum at Lynch including the deadline of former Pacific Electric motors just outside of the museum including a classic Hollywood car. All of this former PE equipment was sold to Argentina in 1952. We then return to downtown Buenos Aires on our bus. In the evening we will host our “Farewell to Argentina Dinner”

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15 - fri nov 17

In the morning we will visit the Budd built passenger cars then the National Railway Museum which is located at the Retiro Station. The Chessie was a proposed streamlined passenger train developed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in the late 1940's. This new train would have operated on a daylight schedule between Washington DC and Cincinnati, Ohio. The train's luxury lightweight equipment was built new by the Budd Company but never put intro service. Out of 48 cars built for this train 12 were sold to the FC Roca Railway and shipped to Argentina. They were eight 36 seat coaches, two 28 seat baggage-coach, and 2 lunch counter/tavern/lounge cars. Once fitted to broad gauge and link & pin couplings this train went into service between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata, a distance of 250 miles, as an extra fare luxury vacation train and was called “El Marplatense”. This train was finally retired a few years ago and four cars were not scrapped and are stored in Buenos Aires. We will be back at the hotel in enough time before check-out and end of our tour.

🍽 breakfast


Tour Pricing:

All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.