Exploring Historic Buenos Aires Metro Line A

 

For the past 99 years, Buenos Aires Metro Linea A with its unforgettable wooden carriage cars has been transporting its passengers beneath the equally renowned Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was the first subway to open in South America in December 1913. Running from Plaza de Mayo to Carabobo, its total track length is 6.5 miles (10.7 km).

What makes Linea A memorable, is that it is the only line on the Buenos Aires Metro that uses the original wooden carriage cars (built between 1911 and 1919) complete with wooden floors, windowpanes, doors and slatted seats.

The mystique of these time machine cars is added to by the soft white lights in their luminous globes, bringing the gentle feeling of romance and charm to the setting. Dangling white rings hanging from ceiling straps and long, white poles contrast against the dark and aged wood of the coach.

Scheduled Temporary Closure January 12 to March 8, 2013

At the opening of 2013, Linea A is scheduled to be closed for two months from January 12 to March 8, 2013 to upgrade the subway line. The old wooden carriages will be removed from service and replaced with new, modern cars. Buenos Aires City Deputy María José Lubertino as of January 7 submitted an appeal to this measure sighting the closure would be “grave harm” to passengers for lack of service and does not provide an alternative for transportation.

Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, hopefully all is not lost for Linea A. Beginning in March 2013 when it reopens with new cars during the week; it sounds like the historic old cars will be put into service on the weekends for locals and tourists to enjoy – based on the quote below. This will be updated as information is available.

“…at least fifteen will be preserved according to international standards so that tourists and citizens will be able to enjoy them as a touristic ride during weekends. The remaining carriages will be given to civil organizations and NGOs.”

Unfortunately, the old wooden carriages have not returned into use on Linea A.

Controversial Closure of Metro Line A

Control of the subway line was transferred from the national government to the city government in December 2012. Many in the government are unhappy about the decision to close the line for 2 months saying “Shutting down Subte A Line ‘stupid’, says Pianelli“.

 

Subte Linea A Saenz Pena Sign

Subte Linea A Saenz Pena Sign


Sounds of the Metro

The rickety sounds of the cars resonate through the tunnels as they whisk into the station and vanish just as quickly. With the sound of rushing wind through the windows, the cars hurdle you through the subway tunnels, shaking and noisy, catapult you through the narrow passage underground.

Breaks come grinding to a halt in the station, making you think that perhaps it is a good idea that they are upgrading the cars on the line in favor of newer, air-conditioned cars. (Yet Linea A has the “least registered faults and incidents in its 99 years of service”.)

The outside skin of the coaches do not do them justice. Repeatedly painted over through the years, it gives no indication of the beauty that is held inside with 99 years of Buenos Aires history.

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About the Carriage Cars

Built by Belgian manufacturer La Brugeoise, et Nicaise, et Delcuve, the cars have for years been a daily reminder to tourists and commuters alike of the stories of Buenos Aires and times gone by.

The first set of cars, numbered 5 to 50, arrived in Buenos Aires in mid-1913 ready for the initial tests of the system.

The second series of cars arrived in two batches – cars 51 to 84 arrived in December 1913. The remaining cars (numbered 85 to 120) arrived in 1919 – after the end of World War I in Europe.

Not to be Missed

If you want to experience the past life of Buenos Aires, taking a ride on Linea A is a true delight. Conveniently hop on at either end of the tourist route of Plaza de Mayo or Congresso and step into a part of Buenos Aires history.

Tickets may be purchased at the underground booths near the station platform.

Have you ridden Linea A in Buenos Aires?
Share your story below!

More information on the historic Buenos Aires Linea A Subway:

From BuenosAiresHerald.com

 

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Lisa Kuhn

Writer
Lisa has traveled through South America for three months exploring Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. She also traveled extensively in the Western United States including Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and South Dakota. Lisa has traveled to Europe three times including her first trip in Europe backpacking for three months of solo-travel.

6 responses to “Exploring Historic Buenos Aires Metro Line A”

  1. Flavia says:

    thank you for this wonderfull post!!!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much Flavia! I’m so glad you liked it. You wrote beautiful words with your post as well. 🙂 ciao!

      • Flavia says:

        I love A line. In my blog I wrote a lot of posts about “HER”. I am so sad. i can’t understand how the governement of Buenos Aires could do this. On the 1 st of December 2013 She would have benn one hundred years old! What a pity!!!!
        Thank you very much for the great interest you show in Buenos Aires.
        Flavia

        • Lisa says:

          Hi Flavia – I feel so lucky that I was able to hop on Linea A in my last days in BsAs last February. I was just amazed when I walked down the steps and found HER one night after being in the city more than a week. I knew she was something special!

          I have been following the issue of removing the trains on BuenosAiresHerald.com I did finally find a mention of hope in one of the articles. I hope it is true!!

          At the end of the article on http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/120904/subway-a-line-to-close-from-jan-12-to-march-8 it mentions “at least fifteen will be preserved according to international standards so that tourists and citizens will be able to enjoy them as a touristic ride during weekends.” I took that to mean the old carriages will be running on the weekend. I hope I’m not wrong!! La esperanza de la línea A!!

          Buenos Aires is amazing city! I will come back one day!!

          Lisa

  2. Hi! Nice blog!
    Just wanted to told you that you were so lucky getting to know Buenos Aires Metro Line A and its old wagons. In July 2013 new modern trains were placed in the Line A replacing the old ones!
    Hope you’ve loved my city, Buenos Aires!

    • Lisa Kuhn says:

      Hola Gonzalo!
      Muchas gracias! I know, I was SO lucky to experience Metro Linea A and I only found it on my last days in BsAs (after 2 weeks there). They were so incredible… I wish they would bring them back!

      I LOVED Buenos Aires… it was my favorite city in my 3 months of traveling in South America. I will look at your blog too.

      Thanks for visiting my site!! – Lisa 🙂

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