9th Region

590 km south of Santiago
pop. 1900, 3,182; 1982, 11,324
el ry 1903-1985; 1676 mm; 1 km; 1 loco, fts

Like Lebu, Collipulli is listed in the "Tranvías" section of every edition of the Anuario, but did not have a genuine tramway. The short electric freight railway that paralleled EFE's main line for several blocks was operated by the Compañía Molinera El Globo - which operated a genuine street railway in Traiguén [see below]. The Collipulli line used a single AEG locomotive and several freight vehicles, but no passenger cars. The mill, situated on a hill at the edge of town, overlooks the famous Malleco Viaduct, Chile's highest and most photographed railroad bridge (101 meters, built by Schneider & Creusot in 1890). Both the mill and the Collipulli electric railway ceased operation shortly before the author's visit in January 1985.

650 km south of Santiago
pop. 1900, 6,175; 1930, 7,902; 1982, 12,882
quasi-el tw 1903-1929; 600 mm; 1.7 km; 1 loco, 1 pt

Along with Collipulli, Traiguén is another town where the Compañía Molinera El Globo built grain mills in the late 19th century. CMEG's founder, José Bunster, a Chilean of Welsh origin, was one of Chile's hydroelectric pioneers.

The Sociedad Industrial de Angol, in the city of that name 70 kilometers north of Traiguén, planned an electric railway in 1900 - which would have been one of Chile's first - and ordered an AEG locomotive, flat cars, rails and other equipment from Germany. The materials arrived in 1901, but the line was not built, and SIA sold the equipment to Bunster.

CMEG installed a narrow-gauge electric railway in the streets of Traiguén, between the railroad station and its mill on the Traiguén River. Operation began in 1903 and Arturo Bunster, José's grandson whom the author interviewed in 1985, says that, in addition to grain and mill supplies, the locomotive regularly pulled a double-deck passenger trailer. A double-deck tram of 600 mm gauge would have been something to see.

CMEG still supplies electric power and lighting to Traiguén today, but the railway was lifted during the Depression. The locomotive has been preserved by the local Lion's Club and is displayed today in front of the Traiguén railroad station. The inscription on the plaque translates: "First electric locomotive in Chile, installed in 1901 . . ."

660 km south of Santiago
pop. ?
an tw [1920s]

This city is on EFE's broad-gauge Lonquimay branch, which is often, still today, cited as the most practical railroad route over the Andes to Argentina. The line includes Las Raíces tunnel, 4,563 m, Chile's longest, but has not yet been extended beyond Lonquimay.

An historian at the Museo Regional de la Araucanía in Temuco recalls an animal tramway in Curacautín. But no confirmation or other information about it could be found, either in Curacautín, in Temuco, or in any publication. "Curacautín" is an Indian word meaning duck festival.

690 km south of Santiago; capital of 9th Region
pop. 1885, 3,445; 1920, 28,546; 1985, 168,120
an tw 1881-1920; 1435 mm; 4.2 km; 11 pt
el tw 1919-1936; 1435 mm; 5 km; 13 pm

Temuco is the fifth most populous city in Chile - after Santiago, Valparaíso, Concepción and Antofagasta. It is an agriculture and livestock center and also headquarters for the Araucanian Indians, the American Baptists and the South American Missionary Society. Like Cartagena, Temuco seems to have had a horse tramway before it had a steam railroad. It had the southernmost electric tramway on the continent. [The tram line on Calle Arturo Prat reached a latitude of approximately 38°44.3' S. The electric tramway in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, extended to only about 38°43'.]

The city's first street railway was installed by the Elvira Lowey family in 1881. Between 1916 and 1918 the Anuario states that the tramway company was owned by an Englishman named Edwards Hyde. Electric street lights arrived in Temuco in 1890 and the first steam train from Santiago appeared in 1893.

By 1918, electric trams were running in six Chilean cities and plans for electrification were underway in two more, Rancagua and Rengo. Instead of acquiring electric trams second-hand from Santiago, Temuco joined forces with Rengo and the two companies imported ten cars second-hand from the Anglo-Argentine Tramway in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These had been built in the first decade of the century by St. Louis Car Company, U.S.A. With six of the cars the new Tranvías Eléctricos de Temuco inaugurated its new electric tramway in March 1919.

Like the electric tramways of Rancagua, Rengo and Talca, the Temuco line was acquired by Compañía General de Electricidad Industrial in 1920. A postcard shows a double-decker, which was probably added by CGEI at that time. The Temuco tramway carried 653,439 passengers in 1921, 1,300,000 in 1926, and 1,742,658 in 1930. The line closed in 1936.