Roca Line

The Roca line is a 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) gauge commuter rail service in the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, part of General Roca Railway network. The service is currently operated by State-owned company Trenes Argentinos, from the city-centre terminus of Constitución south to Ezeiza, Alejandro Korn, La Plata, Cañuelas, Chascomús, Gutiérrez and Lobos, and west to Sarmiento Line's station Haedo. The transfer stations between the branch lines are Avellaneda, Temperley, Bosques and Berazategui.

Roca Line
Service typeCommuter rail
LocaleBuenos Aires Province
PredecessorBA Great Southern Railway
First service1948 (1948)
Current operator(s)Trenes Argentinos
Former operator(s)Argentren
Ridership115,033,000 (2014)[1]
WebsiteRoca Line
Distance travelled198 km [2]
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines[3]
Track owner(s)Government of Argentina

The line consists of 198 kilometres of track (55 of which are electrified), 70 stations, 146 grade crossings, 907 daily services through its different branches, and carries half a million passengers daily, making it the longest and most used line of the Buenos Aires commuter rail network. Currently there are large electrification and infrastructure improvement works being undertaken on the line, with brand new electric multiple units entering service on 8 June 2015.[4]


This line had previously been run by the state-owned company Ferrocarriles Argentinos since nationalisation of the Argentine railways in 1948. Branches from Constitución to Ezeiza and Glew were electrified and the entire fleet of trains renewed, acquiring multiple units by Japanese companies Nippon Sharyo, Kinki Sharyo, Tokyu Car, Kawasaki and Hitachi. The electrified rail system was opened to public in November, 1985.[5] The design of these Japanese-built cars was based upon the Odakyu 9000 series, built for the first time between 1972 and 1977.

Ferrocarriles Argentinos operated the trains until 1991 when residual company FEMESA temporarily took over all the urban services prior to the privatisation of the network. After the Government of Carlos Menem privatised the urban railways services, the private company Metropolitano (TMR) took over Roca Line through concession.

Nevertheless, non-compliance with the terms and conditions (such as lack of investment and poor maintenance of the line, in spite of the large government subsidies received by Metropolitano) led the Government of Argentina to revoke the contract of concession in 2007.[6] The UGOFE consortium took over the service until 12 February 2014, when it was announced that the line would be granted to the local Emepa Group.[7][8][9]

After the concession was revoked, a temporary consortium named "UGOFE", took over the Roca line.[10]

Several projects were announced to modernize the line and improve its service, setting as a priority the electrification of the whole system. Other projects included a new maintenance yard in the town of Tolosa in La Plata Partido, several new bridges and tunnels at road crossings and improved grade crossings, all new concrete sleepers and welded rail joints for the entire line, the remodeling of 50 stations and the purchase of 200 electric coaches of the latest technology.[11] Presently electrification of Avellaneda-Quilmes and Temperley-Bosques sections are under way.

Recent developments

In April 2013 the University train of La Plata service was opened, using railbuses built by the Argentine company TecnoTren.[12][13] In that same year, Argentine state-owned company SOFSE announced that brand new electric multiple unit trains had been acquired for the line's metropolitan services. The contract included 300 coaches for the Roca Line, among the new rolling stock purchased for other lines.[14][15][16]

The State-owned company Operadora Ferroviaria took over Roca Line (operated by Argentren) after the Government of Argentina rescinded the contracts signed with the company on 2 March 2015. The contract terms specified that the concession could be cancelled with no right to claim compensation.[17] The agreements had been signed in February 2014, committing Argentren and Corredores Ferroviarios to operate the lines.[18][19][20]

In March 2015, a total of 300 brand-new electric multiple units acquired to Chinese company CSR arrived in Argentina. The National Government announced that the new CSR EMUs would be put into service in June 2015,[21] what finally happened on 8th of that month.[22]

The line also reestablished services to Claypole (Constitución–Bosques–Gutiérrez branch) serving with the brand-new EMUs bought from China.[23][24] The service had previously been suspended in February 2014.[25]

There are currently ongoing electrification works on the line, most notably on the Buenos Aires - La Plata service which has received a US$500 million investment from the state,[26] 300 of which come from an Inter-American Development Bank loan.[27][28] Other works on the line include the refurbishment of stations and the raising of platforms to match the height of the new CSR rolling stock, while the construction of new underpasses and other infrastructure improvements is due to reduce travel times by around 50%.[29][30]

On December 5, 2015, the electrified service between Constitución and Quilmes was presented, although the service was only opened next year, after the presidential elections, on 13 February.[31] On 13 June 2016, the Quilmes-Berazategui section began service.[32]

In March 2017, the first section of the electrified service was opened, joining Constitución with City Bell, covering almost 45 km-length. The entire project includes to extend the electrified service to La Plata downtown.[33] The extension to La Plata was opened on 18 October 2017, about two years late due to numerous delays in construction.[34]

In January 2018, Argentinian Minister of Transport Guillermo Dietrich approved an order of 200 EMU cars from CRRC Qingdao Sifang for service on the Roca Line, where they were to replace Toshiba EMUs that were built in the 1980s.[35]

Services operated

Start End Type Dist/Km.
Alejandro KornElectric45
La PlataElectric60
Bosques (via Quilmes)Electric19
Bosques (via Temperley)Electric19
Alejandro KornChascomúsDiesel93
La PlataPoliclínico [note 1]Diesel4

See also



  1. Estadísticas del transporte ferroviario - Total 2014 Archived 12 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine, CNRT website - Ministry of Transport Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  2. "Se llamó a licitación para electrificar 100 kilómetros de vías; los coches tendrán aire acondicionado" [Tenders were called to electrify 100 kilometers of roads; cars will have air conditioning]. La Nacion (in Spanish). 12 March 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  3. "Cristina llama a licitación para obras en el Ferrocarril Roca". Página/12 (in Spanish). 11 March 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. "Los nuevos trenes del Roca operarán desde el 8 de junio" (in Spanish). Télam. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. Bilstein, Andrés J. (20 October 2014). "Los eléctricos japoneses del Roca" (in Spanish). Portal de Trenes. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  6. "Kirchner le quitó la concesión de trenes a Metropolitano" [Kirchner revoked the Metropolitan train concession]. La Nación (in Spanish). 22 May 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  7. "Trenes: le dan a Roggio el Mitre y el San Martín y a Emepa, el Roca y el Belgrano Sur" [Trains: They go to Roggio, the Miter and the San Martin and to Emepa, the Rock and the South Belgrano]. La Nación (in Spanish). 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  8. "Las privadas volverán a operar la mayoría de las líneas ferroviarias" [Private companies will re-operate most of the railway lines]. Clarín (in Spanish). 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. "El Gobierno estableció un nuevo régimen de operaciones de las líneas ferroviarias" [The Government established a new operating regime for the railway lines] (in Spanish). Télam. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  10. Sanchéz, Nora (20 March 2007). "En abril arrancaría la etapa final de la electrificación del Roca" [In April the final stage of the electrification of the Rock would start]. La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  11. DyN (11 March 2008). "Electrificarán todos los ramales del Ferrocarril Roca". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  12. "TecnoTren: La verdad es que nos cuesta muy poca plata fabricarlo" - interview to Jorge Beritich, president of TecnoTren,
  13. "Ya rueda el tren universitario" [The university train is already rolling]. El Día (in Spanish). 26 April 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  14. Obarrio, Mariano (24 May 2013). "Prometen nuevos vagones para el Roca". La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  15. Franco, Liliana (23 May 2013). "Gobierno anunció la compra de 300 vagones para el Roca" by Liliana Franco" [Government announced the purchase of 300 wagons for Roca]. Ambito Financiero (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  16. "Preparan otra megacompra directa de trenes a China". Clarín (in Spanish). 5 May 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  17. Alfie, Alejandro (5 March 2015). "Ya está lista la ley que prevé más control estatal sobre los trenes" [The law that provides for more state control over trains is now passed]. Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  18. "Estado rescindió contrato de trenes a privados y avisó que no pagará indemnizaciones". Ambito Financiero (in Spanish). 2 March 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  19. "Buenos Aires commuter routes renationalized". Railway Gazette (in Spanish). 3 March 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  20. "Resolution N° 171/2015". Official Bulletin of Argentina (in Spanish).
  21. "Trenes: CFK recibió 300 coches nuevos para renovar la línea Roca" [Trains: CFK received 300 new cars to renew the Roca line] (in Spanish). BAE Negocios. 5 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  22. "Ya corren los nuevos trenes 0 Km en el Roca" [The new 0Km trains are already running on the Rock]. Crónica (in Spanish). 8 June 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  23. "Sorpresa y satisfacción por reanudación de trenes eléctricos a Claypole" [Surprise and satisfaction for the resumption of electric trains to Claypole]. Diario Popular (in Spanish). 7 July 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  24. Horarios Constitución-Claypole on SOSFE website Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  25. "Hasta marzo, problemas en el tren de Claypole a Constitución". Clarín (in Spanish). 23 September 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  26. "Avanza la obra de electrificación del Roca". EnElSubte. 18 June 2015.
  27. "Mejora Integral Ferrocarril Roca" (in Spanish). Unidad Ejecutora Central, Ministry of the Interior and Transport. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  28. "AR-L1158: Proyecto de Mejora Integral del Ferrocarril Gral Roca: Ramal Colnstitución - La Plata" (in Spanish). Inter-American Development Bank. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  29. "Adjudicaron construcción de andenes provisorios en el ramal a La Plata" (in Spanish). EnElSubte. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  30. "Randazzo, junto a los intendentes Ferraresi y Gutiérrez, recorrieron obras de electrificación y de Pasos Bajo Nivel de la Línea Roca" (in Spanish). Ministerio del Interior y Transporte. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  31. Macri inauguró el tramo eléctrico del Roca en Quilmes y dijo que “el Estado tiene que ser inteligente” - Agencia Télam, 13 February 2016.
  32. "Mauricio Macri inauguró la extensión del tren eléctrico de la línea Roca a Berazategui" [Mauricio Macri inaugurates the extension of the electric train of the Roca line to Berazategui]. La Nación (in Spanish). 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  33. Debesa, Fabián (11 March 2017). "Desde hoy, el servicio eléctrico del tren Roca llegará hasta City Bell" [From today, the electric service of the Roca train will reach City Bell]. Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  34. Barrow, Keith (20 October 2017). "Roca Line electric services reach La Plata". International Railway Journal.
  35. "CRRC to supply 200 Roca EMU cars". Railway Gazette. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.

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