2nd Region

1,580 km north of Santiago
pop. 1907, 5,366; 1982, 21,883
an tw 1904-1909?; 1380 mm; 12 km; 7 pt

Tocopilla is the northernmost port in the 2nd Region. It was connected to the inland mining area and the Longitudinal Railroad by the Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco in 1890 [see MARÍA ELENA chapter below].

The city also had a local horsecar line, operated by the Ferrocarril Urbano de Tocopilla, reported in the Sinopsis between 1906 and 1909. The tramway began operation in 1904 and carried 25,000 passengers in 1906, 60,000 passengers in 1907.

It apparently did not have a long life. No illustrations, maps or other information about it could be found.

1,510 km north of Santiago
pop. 1982, 15,955
quasi-el tw 1928-1975?; 1067 mm; 115 km; 22 pm

The principal nitrate fields of the 2nd Region are centered around the towns of El Toco, María Elena and Pedro de Valdivia, about 80 km inland from the port of Tocopilla and a few kilometers west of the Longitudinal Railroad. To serve the mines and transport their produce to the sea for export, the Anglo-Chilean Nitrate Company constructed a 1067 mm gauge railway in 1890, which was later known as the Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco. The line has numerous branches in the mining area and is one of the few railways still operating in the region today. Records of the English Electric Co. show order C1541 dated 12 March 1915 for two electric locomotives for the Anglo Chilean Nitrate Company. But electric operation on the line did not begin, with International General Electric locomotives, until 1927. The entire 115 km route, from Tocopilla through María Elena to Pedro de Valdivia, is electrified today. The original route to El Toco, which was never electrified, closed in 1957.

In 1964, the FCTT, then controlled by the Compañía Salitrera Anglo-Lautaro, imported 22 PCC-type trams second-hand from the abandoned Los Angeles Railway in the United States, which used the same 3 ft 6 in = 1067 mm gauge. Fitted with pantographs the cars carried workers between the various mines and residence camps in the María Elena-Pedro de Valdivia area, on top of the mountain, until about 1975. [See note about the only known photographs of this operation under 'Allen, Gary G.' in the BIBLIOGRAPHY.] In the late 1970s the cars were used as offices and storage shacks; no trace of them remains today.

The railway is presently owned by the Sociedad Químicas y Minera de Chile, a.k.a. Soquimich.

1,520 km north of Santiago
pop. 1879, 1,000; 1930, 5,407; 1986, 90,056
sail tw 762 and 1000 mm

Calama is a town on the Ferrocarril Antofagasta a Bolivia/Antofagasta & Bolivia Railway [see ANTOFAGASTA chapter below], 238 kilometers northeast of Antofagasta and the present starting point of that line's passenger service to La Paz. San Salvador, a few kilometers north of Calama, is the starting point of the Chile Exploration Co. Railway which leads to the world's largest copper mine at Chuquicamata. CECR electrified its route in 1925.

In 1928 FAB altered its track gauge from 762 to 1000 mm, the standard in northern Chile. During the 1920s and 30s it ran small sail-powered cars for employees and visitors.

1,370 km north of Santiago; capital of 2nd Region
pop. 1885, 7,588; 1917, 48,550; 1986, 203,067
an tw 1893-1914; 914, 1070 &/or 1150 mm; 9 km; 10 pt

Antofagasta is the fourth-largest city in Chile today, the largest in northern Chile, and is its principal center for the export of silver, copper and nitrate. In the Quechua language the city's name means "hiding place for copper." Antofagasta was founded in 1867 as a fishing village in Bolivia, and became an important commercial port in the 1870s with development of the mineral industry and construction of a railroad to the interior by the Compañía de Salitres de Antofagasta. When Antofagasta became a Chilean city in 1884 the railroad was reformed in England as the Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway, which ever since has been Chile's largest and most profitable independent line. Its Collahausi branch near the Bolivian border reached an altitude of 4827 m, the highest of any railroad in the world. (This branch has since closed.) In 1948 Antofagasta became the terminus of the Northern Transandean railroad, which runs southeast to Salta, Argentina.

The Ferrocarril Urbano de Antofagasta was allegedly constructed from remnants of the Ferrocarril de Mejillones a Caracoles, a steam railroad 60 km north of Antofagasta that had been damaged by an earthquake in 1877. A local entrepreneur, Eleazar Miranda, purchased its rails and ties and built the Antofagasta tramway in 1893. The cars were home-made. Miranda sold the line in 1906 to Guillermo Julio and Abdón Barraza, who ended operation when their franchise expired in 1914.

The Sinopsis states that the FUA carried a half million passengers in 1901, a million in 1906 and 1,346,704 in 1907. It lists the line's gauge as 914 mm from 1898 until 1900, as 1150 mm from 1901 until 1904, and as 1070 mm from 1905 on . . .

The FUA was one of the few horse tramways in Chile known to have used only single-deck cars. It was one of the first tramways in Chile to disappear, and after the First War Antofagasta was the largest Chilean city without a street railway. It is easily its largest city that never had an electric tramway. On the other hand, Antofagasta is the only Chilean city that has consciously preserved a tram [see PABELLÓN-CHAÑARCILLO chapter below]. One of its cross-bench cars is displayed today at the Universidad Católica del Norte on Av. Angamos on the south side of town - not far from the Hipódromo terminus of the tram line on which it once ran.

There were electrified mining railways at Taltal and Aguas Blancas in the southern part of the 2nd Region.