Sandstone Heritage Trust - Rail News

RN 186 - Rio Turbio Line - Clear Argentina & Chile, May 2006

17th June 2006

A momentous, symbolic and historic event took place on the foothills of the southern Andes on 20th May 2006 when for the first time the border post at marker 18 (this used to be marker post number 80 under the old northern hemisphere regulations but changed to 18 as they are nowadays marked from south to north and not vice versa) was officially opened up for the free, legal and official passage of the bi - national rail commission (Arg+Chile) to drive the whole distance from Rio Turbio to Puerto Natales thus marking out the route for the new extension of the Rio Turbio Railway to the Pacific coast in the neighbouring Chilean province of la "Ultima Esperanza" ("The Last Hope" province of Chile, region No. 12).

Stamping of cross border papers was carried out by Argentine Gendarmerìa and Chilean International Police at marker post 18, both of whom escorted the official international commission convoy of vehicles from Rio Turbio to Puerto Natales. This is the first time that the authorities from both countries have worked together in this way and is a sign of things to come as southern Patagonia unites in order to provide mutual benefits for the regional, national and international comunities.

Apart from a simplistic border post station on the new rail link, the road border crossing point, some km's to the south, is to be simplified and united so as to avoid frustrating hold ups to motorists, it is proposed that all will be carried out using a credit card type system instead of time consuming and frustrating paperwork at the existing seperated boder posts of the 2 neighbouring countries which in itself is a hangover from the old military rule days of both countries ............. gladly a thing of the past and never to return!

Best regards and clear road ahead!