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CLOUDS TRAIN

SALTA

ARGENTINA

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SALTA

THE TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS

Waiting for the Train Salta Argentina TravelIn northeast of the Republic of Argentina, the tourist will have the chance of experiencing one of the highest railway services of the world, and, consequently, one of the most amazing, one capable of transporting you directly to the clouds at altitudes that reach 4200 m.a.s.l. during its 217 kilometre itinerary.

The journey on the Tren a las Nubes - Train To the Clouds starts at Salta. It runs through 19 tunnels, over 29 bridges, 13 viaducts, 9 sheds, two loops formed by the railway and several big sewer systems, among them, true and colossal works of art delivered by its creator's imagination, Engineer Richard Fontaine Maury, whose great exploit was to cross the Andes Mountainrange using the potentials of engineering.

Train of Clouds Salta Argentina TravelThe Train To The Clouds began its travels on June 16, 1,972. It uses no racks, so the single power of the diesel engine locomotive pulls the ten wagons that make it up. Comprising a Diesel locomotive, a wagon equipped with a medical post and informative central booth, a restaurant wagon, a bar wagon, and seven other wagons with first class seats, making up a total capacity of 520 passengers.

It is the only railway tour that starts from the city of Salta, at 1187 m.a.s.l. It goes through the Estación Alvarado, on Ruta Nacional No 51, Rosario de Lerma, , Campo Quijano, Quebrada del Toro, Alisal, Puerta de Tastil, Meseta, Diego de Almagro, Cachinal and San Antonio de los Cobres stations, to finally reach 4230 m.a.s.l. on the La Polvorilla viaduct.

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* Northeast Circuit
* West Andean
Circuit

- Campo Quijano
- Bishop's Slope
- Tastil Ruins
- San Antonio de
los Cobres

- Train to the Clouds
* Southeast Circuit
* Valleys Circuit
Passage of the Train Salta Argentina TravelThis service invites the traveller to a 15-hour ride among the Salta pre-ridge. During the journey, and on the railway train, travellers will roll right over and by the geographical accidents of the area, zigzagging up to pass the narrow Quebrada del Toro. On his (or her) left at El Condado, the traveller will be able to see the cemetery were the remains of many construction workers who died on a tragic day are buried, and will be able to admire the exuberant vegetation, and the mountaintops will literally grow before your eyes, slowly but with breathtaking majesty.

Afterwards, the traveller will stare at the Piedra Azul viaduct, 82.60 metres long and 14 metres high; and The El Candado viaduct, 110 metres long and 24 metres high. The two of them are built upon steel structures, with no upper railings, and are supported by metal columns.

Then the train arrives to Chorrillos Station, were a new zigzag will take the railway up to 52 metres. This clever system, along with the mentioned above, allows the train to make up for the ground's unevenness.

On the Ingeniero Maury station, and at 2358 m.a.s.l., the scenery will commence to prove more impressive by the minute.

Design de Ricardo Montaine Salta Argentina TravelThe itinerary aboard this wonderful train will take you to the Gobernador Solá station, where an outstanding mineral wealth shows up on the mountainsides from a region full of with manganese, iron, lead and silver mines.

Later on, on the legendary Puerta Tastil or the Door of Tastil the train will start to slowly penetrate into a little known world. As the legend states, the "Diaguita" Indians used to knock on the hillcrests before going into the valley. Hence the locality's name.

The extraordinary journey then takes you to Meseta, a place were solitude embraces the whole horizon. The altimeter now reads 2844 m.a.s.l.

Little by little the sense of location gets lost as the train goes into a labyrinth that permits to exit the valley and the deserted plateau across the most indicated terrain. The trip gets then to the first loop, where the railway overpasses itself, on a 582.25 square metre area at a minimum radius of 131 metres, an ingenious loop that allows the convoy to abandon the deep hollow.

From the highest point of this spiral, you can gaze as if from a marvellous natural balcony, an overwhelmingly beautiful panorama.

The second loop presents identical features on kilometre 1,262, and, along with the former, allows the train to achieve heights over of 525 metres. A 181-metre long tunnel traversed.

The journey then takes us by the Incahuasi, Cachinal y Muñano stations, to finally arrive at San Antonio de los Cobres, so called due to its proximity to the famous Sierra del Cobre or Copper Sierra, abundant in ores of that element. This locality, crossed through by National Routes 40 and 51, rests 3774 metres above sea level and is the Capital City of the Los Andes Department.

The Trip of the Train Salta Argentina TravelJust before reaching Mina Concordia, over on your left, you will behold the snow-capped mountain Nevado de Acay, reaching 5950 m.a.s.l. And after leaving the station you will see a curious black mountain wearing what looks like a fanciful red bonnet.

The final stage of the trip is around kilometre 1,350, where the La Polvorilla Viaduct is found, with its length of 224 metres and height of 63 metres, is the highest point of all the route with its 4200 m.a.s.l., and stands out as one of the world's most important in its kind.

It is at this spot where the Train To the Clouds really becomes true to its name. No one can but be impressed by the cliffhanging traverse of the viaduct, constructed without railings and resting on huge pillars.

Dawn will meet you on the way back to the Salta Capital, as in all this time aboard the train, to complete a 15-hour journey.
  • Capacity: 640 passengers.
  • Distance: 219 kilometres from the city of Salta to La Polvorilla.
  • Stations: A total of 2l: Salta, Alvarado, Cerrillos, Rosario de Lerma, Campo Quijano, Viaducto Toledo, El Alisal, Chorrillos, Ingeniero Maury, Gobernador Solá, Puerta de Tastil, Tacuara, Meseta, Diego de Almagro, Incahuasi, Cachinal, Muñano, Los Patos, San Antonio de los Cobres, Mina Concordia and La Polvorilla.
  • Departures: Every Saturday from April to November. In summer the service remains suspended due to the rainy season. (Although it is possible to make eventual trips in summer under favourable climate conditions). Contact the station's office for information.
  • Principal Office: Caseros 431 (4400) Ciudad de Salta. Provincia de Salta.
  • Information: Telephone: (54-387) 4314984. Fax: (54-11) 4311-2019/4282.
  • Services: Dining room aboard, interpreters and medical care for passengers eventually suffering the usual problems derived from the lack of oxygen that often occurs a the so called soroche or altitude sickness.
ALTERNATIVES
The Train to the clouds presents two other alternatives:
  • Doing the same route by road on a four-wheel drive truck. There are several agencies offering this service. (A lot cheaper cost will result from negotiating prices with the driver of shared tours, departing from the central part of the city, on the corner of Florida and Mendoza).
  • The other alternative for adventurers will be taking the trip on a cargo train, which goes through the same places but obviously without the commodities found on the Train To the Clouds.
THE CARGO TRAIN
Routhe of the Train Salta Argentina TravelThe Cargo Train is a cheaper alternative to the Train To the Clouds, especially for adventure lovers. The traveller can follow the tracks of the Train To the Clouds and add on two more days, which is the time that it takes this train to go to Socompa, on the Chilean border, and back to Salta.

This makes it a much larger tour, a cheaper ticket, but lacking the Train To the Clouds commodities. Departs every Wednesday from the Salta station, except when climate conditions are prohibitive.

You don't need to buy tickets with anticipation, but getting early to the station is recommended.

 


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