Once upon a time, train trips were a normal part of life in Chile. However, times (and budgets) have changed and these days Chile’s rail network is not large, but it does have a small collection of scenic rail journeys with some unforgettable views. Chile's railways (except for a few industrial lines) are operated by the state owned company Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE).
While many passenger lines are in disuse (there are no services north of Santiago), there are frequent services from Santiago south to Chillan. Seven 'Terrasur' trains run on weekdays, and four on weekends, stopping on the way at Curico, Talca, and Linares. The trains are air-conditioned, with one class, and a refreshment car. Some of these trains have a bus connection from Chillan to Concepcion. The rest of Chile's main line south from Chillan towards Temuco and Puerto Montt is currently not working, though there are plans to restore services in the future.
Smaller interurban lines with tousitic value include:
- Concepción-Laja (Corto laja): Train with 22 stops between Talcahuano and Laja, which diverse scenery including the cities of Talcahuano and Concepción and magnificant views of the Bio Bio River. CLP$1,650.
- Talca-Constitución (Ferrobus): A 3-hour journey bordering the beautiful Maule River to the coast with 11 stops. There are two daily services - Talca to Constiución at 7:15am and 4:30pm and Constitución-Talca at 7:00am and 4:15pm. CLP$1,400 (no telephone reservations)
As things can change due to government decisions or other events, please check the following pages before travelling:
Trains in general: www.efe.cl
Santiago-Chillan & Talca-Constitución: www.terrasur.cl