January 4, 1884
The national railway of Chile was established. Domingo Santa María, who served as president of Chile from 1881 to 1886, signed the decree authorizing this new means of transportation. The railway, which is officially called Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), was created in large part to maintain a key transportation link between Santiago and Valparaíso in the country’s central region. (The distance between those major cities is approximately 75 miles [120 kilometers]).
Within a few years after the inception of EFE, the company’s reach and reputation went well beyond just the Santiago-Valparaíso route. This was confirmed in a report on the railway that Belgium’s chargé d’affaires in Santiago prepared for his government in 1889. This report stated, “Daily, from 80 to 85 trains traverse the line. The extent of the State railway is about 1,000 kilomètres [621 miles]; the line goes from Valparaiso to Traiguen, and runs through the provinces of Aconcagua, Valparaiso, Santiago, Colchagua, Curicó, Talca, Linares, Nuble, Concepcio, Lio-Bio, and Mallaco.”
EFE’s network of passenger and freight services has continued to grow in the decades since, and today – with the exception of a few industrial lines – the company owns and operates all of the trains and tracks within Chile.
For more information on Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), please check out https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empresa_de_los_Ferrocarriles_del_Estado