"The level of satisfaction of the Train to the Clouds is very high"

"The level of satisfaction of the Train to the Clouds is very high"

Photo: Javier Corbalan

The Minister of Tourism and Sports of Salta, Mario Peña, assured that the level of satisfaction of the Train to the Clouds, which turns 50 as a tourist product“is very high”, and highlighted that in June of this year the number of passengers transported doubled in relation to the same month of 2019, considered the best record.

“Today, the level of satisfaction with the tourist product Tren a las Nubes is very high”The minister told Télam, who explained that “in June of this year, compared to the last best June, which was in 2019, we doubled the number of people transported.”

Peña thus referred to the importance of this tourist service, which was born on July 16, 1972, making it 50 years old today.

“The Train to the Clouds has many implications for Salta. It has a history, a very particular roots for us,” said the provincial official, after which he stressed that “it is the third highest in the world.”

This iconic attraction, which is experiencing an excellent winter season, leaves from the city of Salta on buses that take National Route 51 and pass through the towns of Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá, until reaching El Alfarcito.

The journey continues through the Quebrada de las Cuevas and the Muñano plain, until reaching the town of San Antonio de los Cobres, which is the head of the Los Andes department, in the Puna de Salta.

There, some 185 kilometers west of the capital of Salta, the contingent embarks on the Train to the Clouds, with which it travels some 20 more kilometers, until it reaches the La Polvorilla viaduct, at 4,220 meters above sea level, to then return to Salta by bus, from San Antonio de los Cobres, passing through Santa Rosa de Tastil, area of ​​influence of the Inca Trail in the province of Salta and administrative center of the Quebrada del Toro, where passengers can visit the museum.

Peña expressed that there are “four or five iconic photos of Argentina that go around the world, and one of them is the Train to the Clouds,” along with those of “the Iguazú Falls; the glacier in Patagonia; and the Obelisk, in the City of Buenos Aires”.

During his talk with Télam, Peña recalled the magnitude of “the engineering work of the C14 branch, which has a lot to do with the engineer Richard Maury”, and considered it “a railway work recognized in the world, for what it meant in The time”.

“The high-rise trains that carry out this type of route need the famous racks at certain times, to pull. At that time, the revolutionary thing for engineer Maury was to carry out this work without racks. That is why the famous zigzags, the crossings,” he explained.

Likewise, he pointed out that “this branch allowed us, through the railway, to communicate with Chile for a long time”, after which this “tourist product mounted, on that very particular work, with that photo that traveled the world, which we have to care and preserve.

“Although it is a tourism product with a limited capacity due to the number of wagons, it has a very strong communicational impact,” he explained, and remarked that “it was recognized as a Country Brand.”

On the other hand, he said that “at a certain moment, given the impossibility of circulating with passengers on the C14 tracks, 7 or 8 years ago, in Salta it was decided to modify the tourist excursion”.

“Before, I used to leave from Salta Capital, very early in the morning, and return between 10 and 12 at night”, with which “it was a very long excursion”, revealed Peña, while highlighting: “When it happened that, the route was changed and extremely positive things were generated”.

The most important thing was “the development of countless people who today can live and support their families, for the sole fact that the people who go to the Train to the Clouds pass through those places,” he said.

“Previously, the train passed, but it did not stop, it did not spill, people saw that tourist who could not buy their crafts or eat on the route, in San Antonio de los Cobres itself,” he acknowledged.

That impossibility that occurred “from one day to the next, and having left San Antonio de los Cobres with the train for a technical issue, also made development in the ravine very possible, opened the game to the people of the area “, he stated.

In this sense, he pointed out: “Today it is a day trip, the train ride is three or four hours, and it is extremely pleasant, enjoyable and it grows more and more”.

The minister considered that “the big challenge is to continue offering quality in the service, to continue improving, to be very competitive with rates.”

“The only way we have to grow is to go out every day, and we are going that way,” he said, and advanced that “we are trying to close with the Nation the possibility of financing the purchase of a new group,” in order to comply with that goal.

On the other hand, he affirmed that “when it comes to trains there are three areas that are integrated: those that manage the stations, those that manage the tracks and those that manage the training. They are very large areas of Argentina and in each of them They have given us enormous support for what the Train to the Clouds means”.

Photo Javier Corbaln
Photo: Javier Corbalan

In his turn, the president of the Train to the Clouds State Society, Sebastían Vidal, told Télam that “Salta is already a beacon, historically, as a tourist destination, and the train, as its icon, its pearl, its most important, is the differential, what differentiates us from other provinces and countries”.

“We have been breaking records in passenger transport throughout the first semester. We reached July, with 20 scheduled departures on the grid, and today we have 36, due to the great demand,” Vidal said.

On this, he added: “We have 98% average occupancy this year”, after which he pointed out that “these are unforeseen, extraordinary numbers, the product of many years of effort”, and revealed that in the first semester “we have transported 37 thousand passengers “, which is almost the same amount as all of 2021.

“All this fills us with joy. We are proud and excited for these 50 years and for this present from the Train to the Clouds,” said Vidal, who added that “we are hopeful going forward.”

In the second half of this year, tools such as Pre-Trip “are going to sustain this demand that we are having. We believe that the historical low season, from August to November, is not going to be so low, and that we are going to have to increase exits to be able to comply,” he estimated.

The celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Train to the Clouds, which has seven cars and a capacity of 420 passengers, included last night a free show by the well-known Salta folklore group Ahyre, in front of the Salta train station, after which held a gala dinner at the Convention Center of the capital, which was attended by Governor Gustavo Sáenz, representatives of the tourism sector and special guests.

The festivities closed this Saturday, with a special departure from Salta, also with special guests, and a reception in the city of San Antonio de los Cobres.

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