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The Roots of Ferronor
By Ian Thomson


Chile´s longest railway history. The historical background of Ferronor dates back nearly 160 years. The first company to establish a railway service in Chile was a company called “Compañía del Camino Ferro-Carril de Copiapó”, legally and duly registered on October 3, 1849. In 1911, the company was acquired by the State, and incorporated into Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE). Afterwards, EFE administered Ferro-Carril de Copiapó as part of its Northern Network. It also included lines of other contemporary railway companies, such as those from Carrizal and Coquimbo. After several changes of establishment, the Northern Network name was modified in 1982 adopting the name of Ferrocarril Regional del Norte de Chile.

At a later date EFE reconstituted and sold the company to a publicly held company owned almost entirely by the Production Development Corporation (CORFO). At this date, it officially took the name “Empresa de Transporte Ferroviário S.A.”. The new owners took control on January 1, 1990, adopting Ferronor S.A. as its trade name. Six years later they decided to place the company out for auction. Andrés Pirazzoli and Compañía Ltda. (APCO), submitted the winning bid and partnered with Rail America Inc., an American railway operator. In February 2004, Rail America sold partnership, leaving APCO with full ownership of Ferronor, hence receiving Chile´s first operating railway company in heritage.






These two wagons were owned by F.C. de Chañarcillo, and might still exist at Universidad de Atacama. However, the locomotive of F.C. de Copiapó, is long gone. (Photo: Ian Thomson’s collection. Unknown Photographer)