The Southern Fuegian Railway, better known as the End of the World Train, is a steam railway located in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province.
“Why would you need a train at the end of the world?” you ask. Well, Ushuaia was initially developed as a penal colony for repeat offenders with the first prisoners arriving in 1884.
After being sent to the very bottom of Patagonia at the end of the South American continent, the prisoners were put to work building their own prison, which meant transporting rock and timber from the nearby forests to the town, first using oxen-pulled wagons, and eventually this narrow gauge railway.
Back then, this was known as the Train of Prisoners, and the prisoners had to complete the journey twice a day to and from the logging camps.
Today, the Train at the End of the World has been developed into a heritage train and it’s considered the southernmost functioning railway in the world. It’s a must-do excursion in Ushuaia – even more so if you’re a train enthusiast!
End of the World Train FAQs
How long is the End of the World Train ride?
The End of the World Train is a 50-minute journey and it travels the last 7 kilometres of the original prisoner’s train route.
Where does the End of the World Train go?
The train runs from the End of the World train station to the Tierra del Fuego National Park train station.
The departure point is located 8 kilometres west of Ushuaia, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be departing from the city.
You need to make your way to the train station by shuttle bus or taxi, though if you’ve booked via a tour operator transportation is generally provided.
How soon should you book tickets for the End of the World Train?
Tickets aboard the train at the end of the world can get booked up several weeks in advance, especially if you’re travelling during high season.
Don’t wait to buy your tickets until the day before or the day of!
It is best to secure these tickets well in advance, as soon as you have confirmed your travel dates for Ushuaia.
Is admission to Tierra del Fuego National Park included on the End of the World Train?
The entrance to the national park is not included in the train ticket price and must be paid in cash on the day of the ride.
If you booked this through a tour operator, you’ll want to check with them directly as to whether they’ve included the park fee.
What language is the End of the World Train audio guide in?
During your journey you’ll be given headphones so you can learn about the history of Ushuaia, the train, and the role the prisoners played.
This audio guide is available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Chinese.
Booking End of the World Train Tickets
You can book the End of the World train tickets on the official website: Tren del Fin del Mundo.
There are 3 train classes available: Tourist Class, Premium Class and VIP Class.
Keep in mind that with this option, you’ll have to make your own way to and from the train station.
Booking a guided tour
Another option is to book a guided tour that includes the End of the World Train and Tierra del Fuego National Park. This particular tour includes transportation from select pick-up points (you’ll need to check if your hotel in Ushuaia is one on the list or alternatively choose the pick-up point closest to you).
As part of this tour, you ride the train, visit the national park, stop at Bahia Ensenada Zaratiegui where you can send mail from the Post Office at the End of the World, you reach Bahia Lapataia which marks the end of the Panamerican Highway, and you also visit the Green Lagoon Viewpoint and Lago Roca.
If you don’t feel too confident in your Spanish language skills or you just want an easy day, this is a good option.
Train Ride to the End of the World
So what exactly do you get to see when you’re riding the train at the end of the world?
Well, here is a list of the attractions covered during the journey.
The End of the World Train Station
The train journey begins at the End of the World train station, which is located 8 kilometres west of the city of Ushuaia. The railway then travels along the Pico Valley in the Toro Gorge.
Next, the train crosses Puente Quemado, which translates to ‘Burnt Bridge’. It is named so because of the burnt remains of the old bridge which lie underneath the new tracks.
This part of the journey takes you across Cañadón del Toro or the ‘Bull’s Canyon’ and over the Pipo River, which is formed by meltwater descending from the mountains and flowing to the Beagle Channel.
This is a very scenic part of the journey and we were even lucky enough to see horses grazing next to this pristine river.
La Macarena Waterfall Station
La Macarena Station is the only stop on this train journey. This is a historical point as it’s where the prisoners used to stop to refill the water tanks for the steam locomotive La Coqueta.
Here passengers have the chance to disembark and hike up to a waterfall formed by meltwater, and there’s also a viewpoint offering views of the Pipo River and some of the surrounding peaks.
This station is also where you can view the photos you took with the ‘prisoners’ before boarding the train, and if you’d like one as a souvenir, they’ll print it for you.
Once it’s time to board the train again, you hear a whistle calling passengers back to the train.
National Park Boundary
As you continue the train journey, you eventually come across a sign that announces the boundary of Tierra del Fuego National Park.
This is the only national park in Argentina that has maritime coasts, forests and mountains.
Then, you reach the tree cemetery – a graveyard of trees that were cut by the prisoners who quite literally built their own prison and also supplied Ushuaia with firewood in the early days.
You’ll notice that the tree stumps stand about half a meter from the ground – a sign that some of the logging was done in winter when the snow would have been packed pretty deep.
Of course, all this logging was done before the area was designated a national park, but it’s part of the history of the place.
National Park Station
The final stop aboard the train at the end of the world is the National Park Station. This is where the train repositions to begin the journey back.
Travellers have the option of disembarking here – maybe you booked an excursion that includes a guided tour through Tierra del Fuego National Park, or maybe you want to spend the day hiking independently.
As mentioned earlier, do keep in mind that if you are travelling independently, you’ll need to find your own way back into town – either by pre-arranging a shuttle, calling a taxi or hitchhiking.
Is the train journey worth it?
If you enjoy quirky train rides, then yes!
There are so many epic train journeys in Argentina – the Old Patagonian Express, the Train to the Clouds, the Tren Patagónico – and the Train at the End of the World is another one to add to the list.
Yes, this is a very short journey that only travels a total of 7 kilometres, but it has a very interesting history and it brings you to a beautiful place at the end of the South American continent.
That makes it worth it in our books.