The Argentine railway statistics offer a wealth of information useful for a variety of studies: of the railway industry, its technology, its revenues and expenses, its use of resources, and its role in the development of the Argentine economy as a carrier of persons and goods. Data on goods carried help in the study of agricultural and industrial development. Data on passenger and goods traffic at every station can be essential in a study of regional development. The data about goods flowing through junctions in joint traffic are indicative of the development of inter-regional trade. Data on passengers boarding and alighting at every station indicate internal migration and (with reservations) supplement the all too infrequent population censuses.

The data filed here are a unique collection because of the number of enterprises and the number of years covered, and because of the multiplicity of details offered on each firm in each year. The data may therefore be of interest outside the Argentine on the part of any one wishing to study the development of a country of recent settlement and to researchers interested in business history.

The statistics collected here are notable also because they are administrative data derived from company accounts audited by the company auditors and the central government's regulatory office. Such data are in many ways superior to other economic data derived from censuses and surveys that inevitably suffer from sampling errors, under-coverage, low response rates and incorrect replies.

The source of data is the Estadística de los Ferrocarriles en Explotación published by the Ministry of Public Works, National Railways Board (the author's title varies) for the years 1893 to 1943/44. The Estadística is also the source for the principal data from 1857 to 1891 and from 1944/45 to 1946/47. Data in the first, experimental volume published by the Board in 1894 with data for the year 1892 are also included. Other sources are indicated in the files as the case may be.

The presentation of the Estadística de los Ferrocarriles en Explotación in spreadsheet files will allow the user to get maximum benefit from this treasure. On our part, it made it possible to recalculate totals and sub-totals, compare the calculated sums with published control sums, and use the comparison to purge a large number of printing errors.

The original volumes of the Estadística presented data for a single year with a few, main time series. Their numerous tables have railway firms in the rows and variables in the columns. For the present digitization, the data were collected in time series, one for nearly every variable. There is one file for every table, and a sheet with years in the columns for every variable. Click on a file name for a complete description of the contents. The files are:

File name Brief description of the data on file
1. ACCIDENT Accidents
2. ANTIGUO Main results for 1857 to 1891
3. CAPITAL Capital invested in the transport enterprise and its distribution over types of assets (land, track, buildings, rolling stock, workshops)
4. CARGA44 Goods and livestock carried in 1944/45 and 1945/46: tons, ton-kms. and revenues by commodity and by railway company.
5. COCHES Stock, description and inventory of passenger cars.
6. EMPLEO Mileage run by and capacity utilisation of locomotives and vehicles.
7. FURGONES Stock, description and inventory of baggage and parcels vans.
8. GASTOS Operating expenses and expenses on ancillary services.
9. INGRESOS Operating revenues and revenues from ancillary services.
10. LEY_MITRE Revenues, expenses, surplus and capital recognised by the National Government according to the Mitre Law.
11. LOCS Stock, description and inventory of locomotives.
12. MATERIAL Fuels and lubricants consumed and their value.
13. NOMINA List of enterprises, their lines and branches, their length, dates of the concession, construction contracts, and opening to service.
14. PERSONAL Employment and earnings of railway staff and workers.
15. Personal fijo Chemin de fer de Rosario à Puerto-Belgrano: Name, nationality, age, profession and wages of permanent staff, 1914 and 1940.
16. TARIFAS Tariff classification and rates by tariff class.
17. TRAFICO Passenger, baggage, parcels, goods, livestock and telegraph traffic.
18. TRENES Locomotive and vehicle mileage in various services.
19. VAGONES Stock, description and inventory of goods wagons.
20. VyO Length of lines, number of various buildings, and materials used in track maintenance and renewal.
21 to 46. FCnnn Passenger and goods traffic at stations and junctions.

More statistical data are available from reports of directors and statements of accounts.

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