A trip to the past in a unique train in the world, from Esquel and El Maitén
The locomotive’s whistle blows and the journey begins: a journey back in time on a single train that has stayed exactly the same since it started rolling almost 100 years ago, in 1922. From Esquel and from El Maiten, different routes cross wonderful landscapes in the original wooden wagons, with their stories, noises, views and aromas that take you to another era, when the Old Patagonian Express “La Trochita” was used for transport grain, animals or wool
The name “La Trochita” comes from the distance between the rails on which the Old Patagonian Express runs. At the beginning of the 20th century, narrow gauge trains like this ran on rails separated by 60 centimeters, saving engineering and maintenance costs for the railways.
But of all the narrow gauge trains that existed, the only one that continues to run, and in its original state, is “La Trochita”. In the tours it offers you can witness the stories of an epic and sacrificed Patagonia. And if it is cold, all the wagons have an original wood-burning salamander stove, essential to warm the spirits of the passengers in the harsh Patagonian winters.
Today, “La Trochita” makes two round trips: one of 18 kilometers that departs from Esquel to Nahuelpan (two hours long), and a similar one between El Maitén and Desvío Thomae (two and a half hours). In both, the horizons, mountains and landscapes that frame the wooden windows of the wagons are an extraordinary experience.
In El Maitén you can also visit the Railway Museum and visit the workshops of the Old Patagonian Express, where maintenance is carried out and parts are made to measure. There you can witness the past and present of this unique train, which will soon be a century old.
Recommendations for having a good experience:
Service from Esquel to Nahuel Pan
204/5000 The train departs from Esquel Station and runs 18 kilometers to the Nahuel Pan area, where an arrest of approximately 45 minutes is made, in which the train makes the maneuvers for the return.
At that time, passengers can visit the Museum of Original Cultures, the Artisan Fairs and the Tokom topayiñ Fair, which open with the arrival of the train.
In Esquel the frequencies vary according to the time of year. It is advisable to buy tickets in advance, at the Esquel station itself or at the travel and tourism agencies of that city.
El Maitén bypass Service Engineer Bruno Thomae
This excursion lasts 2.30 hours, departs from El Maitén Station to the Ingeniero Bruno Thomae Station and returns to El Maitén. The service includes guides on board and a dining car where you can enjoy the cafeteria and homemade pastry.
Frequencies vary throughout the year, so it is advisable to check in advance at the station.
You can get to:
Esquel you arrive by plane at Brigadier General Antonio Parodi airport; by bus or car, from Bariloche on Route 40, from Comodoro Rivadavia on Route 26 and 40; and from Trelew on Route 25.
To El Maitén accessed by:
• Provincial routes No. 70: it follows the national route No. 40 (ex route 258) at the height of Epuyén.
• National Route S1 40: 20 km. From gravel road from Leleque to the junction with route 70, traveling 15 km more (paved) to reach the town.
• Provincial Route No. 243 connects El Bolsón and Bariloche with our town, they are 46 km of gravel.