Ferrobaires is the commercial name of a public railway company which operates extensive long-distance passenger trains throughout Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. Its official corporate name is "Unidad Ejecutora del Plan Ferroviario Provincial" (UEPFP) (in English: "Executive Unit of the Provincial Railway Plan". The company is primarily owned and funded by the Buenos Aires provincial government. The name "Ferrobaires" is a combination of the Spanish words for "Rail Buenos Aires."
From its base in the city of Buenos Aires, Ferrobaires rail lines fan out south and west across the surrounding province. The company transports approximately 1.5 million passengers annually and operates from all three major rail termini in the city of Buenos Aires: Retiro, Constitución, and Once, running trains on its 5,500-km rail tracks.
All of the routes currently managed by Ferrobaires were previously run by Ferrocarriles Argentinos, the country's now-defunct national passenger railway corporation. After the privatisation of Ferrocarriles Argentinos starting in 1992, many train services across Argentina were indefinitely discontinued. In 1992, Gobernor of Buenos Aires Province, Eduardo Duhalde, signed Decree 560/91 by which Buenos Aires requested National Government to transfer the operation of the lines deactivated between 1961 and 1992, that totalized more than 5,500 km of rails. Buenos Aires would work with each Municipal Government with the purpose of creating a company that operated the railway services.
On April 28, 1992, Buenos Aires officially requested the transfer of the 52 lineas and branches in disuse. In 1993 "Unidad Ejecutora del Programa Ferroviario Provincial" (UEPFP) was created. However, several lines were cancelled or definitely closed by the UEPFP, specially during the 2001 financial crisis.
By National decrees 1168/1992 y 770/1993, the Government of Argentina transferred to the Government of Buenos Aires Province the operation of several lines in Buenos Aires, La Pampa and Río Negro Provinces.
Lines to operate included Constitución to Mar del Plata, Bahía Blanca, Bariloche, Quequén and Bolívar; Olavarría to Bahía Blanca; Once to General Villegas, Toay, General Pico, and Darragueira; Retiro (Ferrocarril San Martín) to Alberdi and Junín; and Federico Lacroze to Rojas.
Ferrobaires reactivated some lines that had been abandoned during many years (such as the Mar del Plata–Miramar or Gral. Guido–Gral. Madariaga, closed in 1978) and even built and opened a new station ("Divisadero de Pinamar", replacing the original station) on the Gral. Guido–Vivoratá branch, in 1996. Trains ran again to Pinamar after 29 years of being inactive.
Nevertheless, those lines would be closed again due to lack of maintenance and rolling stock to supply deteriorated material. The branch to Pinamar was closed in April 2011, remaining inactive up to present days.
In early 2006, the national Ministry of Planning considered taking control of the company to arrange its reprivatization, but the provincial government of Felipe Solá refused to allow this to happen, arguing that under provincial state control the company was working very efficiently and with low fares.
On February 8, 2007, the Provincial Government agreed to transfer all the services to the National Government to keep the lines active so much of them were frequently interrupted due to technical problems. Nevertheless, this never happened and Ferrobaires continued being managed by Buenos Aires.
By 2011 Ferrobaires was widely criticized by users and journalists because of its severe operational problems to run the services.
In July 2015, Ferrobaires announced the reestablishment of services from Plaza Constitución to Pinamar that had been suspended in 2010. with one service per week, and intermediate stops on Santo Domingo, Segurola, Monsalvo and Invernadas and Gral. Madariaga. Finally on July 17, the service was put into operation again.
In June 2016, after a train collided with a freight formation by Belgrano Cargas y Logística in Rawson, a city in Chacabuco Partido, the Government of Buenos Aires Province led by María Eugenia Vidal suspended all the services (eight in total) operated by Ferrobaires. That decision was taken alleging "the need of preserving security of passengers and operators of the services".
Nevertheless, the service from Constitución to Mar del Plata would remain active as it will be operated by the National Government. Likewise, a report by "Auditoría General de la Nación" (General Auditing Office of Argentina) revealed that rolling stock, rail tracks and signal systems were severely deteriorated due to the lack of maintenance. As of June 2016, the operation of services by Ferrobaires cost $ 1,200 million per year, with incomes for only 60 million.
Services operated until June 2016: