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Argentine lake district: Ride the Old Patagonian Express

Ride the Old Patagonian Express

A voyage aboard the Old Patagonian Express from Esquel to El Maitén recaptures the bygone romance of rail travel. Riding the tracks of a historic narrow-gauge railway, this steam locomotive slices through typically desolate and treeless stretches of the Patagonian steppe.

Known locally as La Trochita, which translates literally as 'the Little Narrow Gauge', the train was immortalised by Paul Theroux in his book, The Old Patagonian Express.

The railway opened in 1945 to link this distant part of the country to the coast and the capital, and although there have been road improvements since, nostalgia on the part of both tourists and locals have kept the old steam trains chugging along the remote stretch of rail.

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