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South America

La Trochita Train Patagonia – Old Patagonian Express

La Trochita Train, Patagonia

Known in English as the Old Patagonian Express, the La Trochita is a steam train ploughing a narrow-gauge railway in Patagonia, Argentina. It’s an incredibly stunning journey, sandwiches between the plains of Patagonia and the peaks of the Andes, with the train pulled by steam locomotives and offering photo opportunities at every moment.

Now a heritage railway route, the nostalgic train was made famous in the 1978 Paul Theroux book The Old Patagonian Express, running between Esquel and the settlement of Nahuel Pan and between El Maitén and Desvío Thomae. With vistas stretching across endless plains, wide valleys and mountains as far as the eye can see, you’ll see why Theroux called it ‘almost the end of the world’.

Prices from: US $33
Departing from: Esquel, El Maiten
Journey length: 3 hours, 30 minutes

La Trochita Train steam

La Trochita train route

The journey itself is unlike no other journey by steam train, covering 402 kilometres on a narrow gauge of just 750 mm. With a journey time of three and a half hours in total, the train runs two special tourist services between either Esquel and Nahuel Pan or between El Maitén and Desvío Thomae. Journeys usually have a stop in the middle of the route for lunch and it’s recommended you purchase tickets in advance from one of the agencies in Esquel – as the trains fill up fast.

Patagonia, argentina

La Trochita train

Adding to the feeling of nostalgia, the train uses old-school wooden coaches which are heated by wood burning stoves. The engines are vintage and there is also a buffet car, serving light meals like toasted sandwiches and snacks like lemon pie. 

What we love

Riding the La Trochita is like stepping into an old western movie – from the rugged landscapes of Patagonia to the wooden carriages heated by burning stoves. It’s an amazing experience and there’s plenty of food and drink available to buy. 

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