Tales of rails gone by (Drive Day 205: Jan 20, 2004)

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Who are we to mourn the demise of Argentina’s famed railroads, privileged as we are with the mighty Ford F350 and decent roads crisscrossing the country.

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But there is something wistful and wasteful about the abandoned stations we keep driving past. Ferrocarriles Argentina was once one of the most extensive and prosperous networks in the world, boasting almost 30,000 miles of track.

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Then came highways, a few economic collapses, theories and assurances that privatization is the solution and this is what’s left in remote parts of the country. The Germans have a great word for it: Geisterbahnhöfe – which roughly translates into ghost stations and there are no shortage of filmmaking fans hopeful one day Argentina’s rail system will come back to life. But for now they just mark spots no longer deemed important enough to connect or serve.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

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