11
Oct
2011

repost: talleres de remedios de escalada

[Originally written as a series of three posts in Jan 2008. I should return to take more photos!]

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Remedios de Escalada in the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires may be off most people’s radar, but it contains a testament to Argentina’s industrial past that’s very interesting: the largest, privately-owned railroad workshop that the British built outside of the UK.

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

The workshop & train museum occupy a massive site… over 1,250,000 square meters which housed all kinds of workshops, repair & production facilities. A ton of info can be found here (in Spanish), but to sum it up the need for more space drove the workshops away from Barracas out to the suburbs in 1900. As time went by, more facilities were added to handle new developments in technology. It survived both world wars by fabricating its own parts instead of importing from England & became an important training center after nationalization under Perón. But the decline of Argentina’s rail network also meant the decline of this facility. Only partially used today, most of the area currently houses the museum & a campus for the Universidad Nacional de Lanús.

On the map above, the train station is the small, red rectangle… that’s how big the complex is. Ignore the arrow & the green box for now. Just behind the station is the oldest of the workshop buildings, constructed in brick with a funky roof:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Normally, you’d have to walk around the entire complex to get to the entrance, but local residents demanded that a passageway be opened through the facility. An old service entrance was opened to the public recently & part of the main wall demolished… it’s a scenic shortcut (red arrow on above map):

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Lots of restored equipment to see, from steam engines to sleeper cars:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

The one-of-a-kind 1941 armored train used to transport all the cash earned in stations along the Ferrocarril del Sud line:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Most of the area is covered in grass these days & looks great in the late afternoon:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

The Dutch equipment was pretty classy with obvious Rationalist elements… made from Argentine designs & waiting for restoration. I’d hoped to see a diesel engine that Luis recommended, a restored 1953 Baldwin Lima Hamilton, because evidently there are none left in the US. Maybe it was in storage in one of the warehouses the day we visited.

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Fabio & I took a quick break in a restored 1928 dining car that’s now used as a cafe:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

A mini-train nicknamed La Trochita (after the narrow-gauge engine in Esquel) makes the occasional back & forth trip along a straight track & covers most of the complex, including the section used for the Universidad Nacional de Lanús:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

The most interesting part was checking out the workers’ housing, built for employees of the workshops. High-ranking bosses received free housing as well, but of course it was built on the opposite side of the facility along the main avenue. A total of 72 units were constructed with rents ranging from 16 to 30 pesos per month. That’s very little housing considering there were over 2,500 employees in the 1920’s. A row house was also built for bachelors. The workers colony (green block on the map above) is located a 10-minute walk from the museum entrance:

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Lanús, Remedios de Escalada, Talleres

Very few of the semi-detached/duplex units have their original diamond-pattern roof sheeting, & most of the open patios have now been fenced in. Still, the houses aren’t in bad shape considering they’ve been around for over a century. They all have large yards in the back… a luxury these days. Sorry about the bad light, but it was after 20:00. Lots to see in one afternoon!

Comments ( 9 )
  • ries says:

    If you want to wait til December, I will go with you.
    I will be in BsAs in early December, would love to go.
    It would be my third railroad museum in or near CF- which would leave two more to go-
    Haedo Y Lynch.

    • Robert says:

      That would be great because I really need to get better photos. But I’ll be in Esquel from 21 Nov until 21 Dec. Will you still be around at the end of the month?? A trip out to Haedo or Lynch would be great too. Saludos!

  • ries says:

    Unfortunately we will miss each other again.
    I still have my youngest in his final year of high school this year, makes travel difficult, as trips must be infrequent and short. Looking forward to more time in Argentina starting next year.
    Esquel sounds quite interesting- looks very cool from satellite pics.

    I am slowly logging all the transport museums- I think I have at least 3 more good auto museums to hit, along with several trains.

    Did you go to Tafi Viejo when you were in Tucuman?
    It has huge railroad shops, which once employed over 5000, small museum, and remaining large machines as well- as a blacksmith, I want to go there to see the big Martillo Pilons…

    • Robert says:

      Oh no… that’s too bad. School definitely comes first. I’m spending a lot of time away from Buenos Aires since my partner lives in Esquel. It’s a nice place to visit once or twice, beautiful location too. But in the end it’s a small town with all that it implies :)

      I’ve yet to go to the auto museum in Villa Pueyrredón… or is it Villa Real? One of those smaller western barrios. And I intended to go to Tafí Viejo, especially because I wanted to compare it to Remedios de Escalada. But we were out late the night before, it wasn’t clear which bus to take to get there & tourist information didn’t know what to tell me. I guess I’ll have to go back to Tucuman!

      Let me know what you think of Remedios de Escalada if you go. Saludos!

  • ries says:

    the museo de automovil is on Irigoyen in Villa Real.
    Havent been there yet, although I have been to the one at the ACA, on Libertador, and while there got to help push a classic 1930’s argentine sports car into its parking slot.
    there is also a nice little auto museum in La Plata I have been to- near the bus station.
    its called the collecion rau.
    http://www.coleccionrau.com.ar/museo.htm

    Like you, though, I am quite interested in the architectura as well, and that would be a big draw for me to go to Remedios de Escalada.

    And, of course, one of these days, I need to rent a car and go on the Francisco Salamone tour of the provincia…

    • Robert says:

      To be honest, Remedios de Escalada is a bit of a black hole (hopefully my ex won’t read this… he’s from there), but what is really fascinating are the houses built for the railroad bosses on the main avenue. Didn’t get any photos because it was too dark when we made it there, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

      I keep saying that I’m going to do the Ruta Salamone & never do. Going in a car would be fantastic… best way to go. Maybe we could do that next year? :-)

  • MONICA AIRANDO says:

    HE VISITADO EL MUSEO CON MIS HIJOS EN VARIAS OPORTUNIDADES Y QUIERO FELICITARLOS POR EL TRABAJO QUE HACEN. ES UN LUGAR DONDE DISFRUTAR Y ENSEÑAR A NUESTROS HIJOS. DE VEZ EN CUANDO ES LINDO SACARLOS DE LA COMPU, Y MOSTRARLES QUE HAY PASEOS EN LOS QUE PUEDEN APRENDER Y DIVERTIRSE A LA VEZ.GRACIAS POR CUIDAR DE ELLOS

  • G.J.Mackern says:

    If you care to visit another time you visit Argentina . There is a Miniature Train Museum in La Falda, provincia de Córdoba. My father worked at Talleres de Remedios de Escalada and left in the 1970’s.

    • Robert says:

      Thank you for the recommendation, Jane. I’ve lived in Buenos Aires for over 10 years, but unfortunately I rarely make it to Córdoba. I will definitely keep it in mind if I return. There is another train workshop in Tafí Viejo near San Miguel de Tucumán that I should have visited as well. However, we were only there for a long weekend & ran out of time. If your family has any old photographs of Remedios de Escalada, I would be happy to post them here. Saludos!

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