The rail system in Paraguay consisted primarily of a 376 km main line of standard gauge between Asunción and Encarnación (with a connection to Posadas, Argentina). The infrastructure was administered by Ferrocarriles del Paraguay S.A. (FEPASA), corporation established in 2002. Early in the 21st century, rail transport mostly ceased. Seen from the air, the line Asuncion-Encarnacion will be broken up before 2020, and the long sections "trough" or over the water will have disappeared completely.
Railroads in Paraguay used steam locomotives until the end of railroad service in 1999.In 1988, The New York Times published an article describing the journey from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Asunción, Paraguay.
As of 2006, all traffic has been suspended except weekly tourist steam trains between Jardín Botánico de Asunción (Asunción Botanical Gardens) and the city of Areguá (23 km) plus an additional 15 km section to the village of Ypacaraí under renovation and cross-border freight trains between Posadas in Argentina and Encarnación. As of 2007 steam 2-6-0s built between 1910 and 1914 still perform shunting duties. The former main station in Asunción has been converted into a railway museum.
As of 2010, following the collapse of an abutment of a bridge on the Rio Ytay, the tourist steam train traffic has been suspended until repairs can be effected.
In early 2013, freight traffic was down to one train across the border every few weeks, with shunting mainly handled by Argentine diesels.
In 2018, the Ferrocarriles del Paraguay S.A. stated on their website that a reopening of a passenger service between Asunción and Yparacaí is in the planning phase.
In 2010, the rising level of the Yacyretá Dam flooded the tracks on the Argentinian side, which halted grain exports by rail from the Encarnacion goods terminal until a new track was completed, at a higher level, in June 2012.
Railways in Paraguay were inaugurated in 1861, during the era of Carlos Antonio López. Privatized and renationalized several times, the railroad was finally nationalized in 1961. As of 1988, the 367 km rail system was outdated, wood-powered, slow and costly even with government subsidies. The volume of cargo carried on the railroad declined in the 1970s and 1980s as alternative roads and waterways became more efficient, though some agricultural goods did move by train. In Encarnación, the Paraguayan railroad system connected via train ferry, then since 1990 via the San Roque González de Santa Cruz bimodal road-rail bridge, with the Argentine city of Posadas, which is connected by Ferrocarril General Urquiza to Buenos Aires and the Uruguayan and Brazilian railroad systems. There also was a small "soybean railroad" near the Brazilian border.
Paraguay's transportation system ranges from adequate to poor, largely depending on the region of the country. The country has a network of roads, railroads, rivers, and airports, but significant infrastructure and regulation improvements are needed.
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The General Bartolomé Mitre Railway (FCGBM), named after the former Argentine president Bartolomé Mitre, is one of the six state-owned Argentine railway lines formed after President Juan Perón's nationalisation of the railway network in 1948 and one of the largest of Argentina. The six divisions, managed by Ferrocarriles Argentinos were later broken up during the process of railway privatisation beginning in 1991 during Carlos Menem's presidency.
The General Urquiza Railway (FCGU), named after the Argentine general and politician Justo José de Urquiza, is a standard gauge railway of Argentina which runs approximately northwards from Buenos Aires to Posadas, with several branches in between. It was also one of the six state-owned Argentine railway companies formed after President Juan Perón's nationalisation of the railway network in 1948. The six companies were managed by Ferrocarriles Argentinos which was later broken up during the process of railway privatisation beginning in 1991 during Carlos Menem's presidency.
The General Manuel Belgrano Railway (FCGMB), named after the Argentine politician and military leader Manuel Belgrano, is a 1,000 mmmetre gauge railway and the longest of the Argentine system. It was one of the six State-owned Argentine railway companies formed after President Juan Perón's nationalisation of the railway network in 1948.
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The Buenos Aires Northern Railway (BANR) was a British-owned company that operated a broad gauge 5 ft 6 in railway line in Argentina, in the second half of the 19th century. The BANR was also the first railway company from the British islands to operate in Argentina.
The Province of Buenos Aires Railway was a state-owned company that operated a 902 km 1,000 mmmetre gauge railway network in the Province of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Founded in 1907 as the "Ferrocarril Provincial del Puerto de La Plata al Meridiano V", the company changed its name to FCPBA in 1924, in 1951 it was taken into state ownership and in 1953 it was absorbed by the state-owned Belgrano Railway. The FCPBA should not confused with the similarly named French–owned Compañía General (CGBA) which also operated in the Province.
The San Martín line is a 70-kilometre (43 mi), 22-station commuter rail service in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The San Martín line operates from the city-centre terminus of Retiro north-west to Doctor Cabred in Luján Partido along a broad gauge line built by the British-owned Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway.
Railway privatisation in Argentina was a process which began in 1993 under the presidency of Carlos Menem, following a series of neoliberal economic reforms. This primarily consisted of breaking-up the state-owned railway company Ferrocarriles Argentinos (FA) and allowing the former lines to be operated by private companies instead of the state. This policy was met with widespread criticism and proved catastrophic for the Argentine railways whose service worsened significantly in the years that followed, with entire lines closing and infrastructure deteriorating beyond repair. Privatisation was ultimately reversed in 2015 with the creation of Nuevos Ferrocarriles Argentinos.
The Argentine railway network consisted of a 47,000 km (29,204 mi) network at the end of the Second World War and was, in its time, one of the most extensive and prosperous in the world. However, with the increase in highway construction, there followed a sharp decline in railway profitability, leading to the break-up in 1993 of Ferrocarriles Argentinos (FA), the state railroad corporation. During the period following privatisation, private and provincial railway companies were created and resurrected some of the major passenger routes that FA once operated.
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The Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway (BAGS) was one of the Big Four broad gauge, 5 ft 6 in, British-owned companies that built and operated railway networks in Argentina. The company was founded by Edward Lumb in 1862 and the first general manager was Edward Banfield after whom the Buenos Aires suburban station of Banfield was named, when it opened in 1873. After president Juan Perón nationalised the Argentine railway network in 1948 it became part of the state-owned company Ferrocarril General Roca.
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The Capilla del Señor Historic Train was a heritage railway of Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. The service ran trains pulled by steam locomotives between the cities of Buenos Aires and Capilla del Señor, covering a distance of 86 km (53 mi). Trains ran on 1,435 mm tracks originally built by the Buenos Aires Central Railway and currently part of General Urquiza Railway since the railway nationalisation of 1948.
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